Righteous Gentile was Roddie Edmunds

It’s time for me to eat crow. I quote here a popular definition: “…a colloquial idiom that means humiliation by admitting having been proven wrong after taking a strong position. ‘Crow’ is probably foul-tasting in the same way that being proven wrong might be emotionally hard to swallow.” Having egg on my face may be more palatable, but no matter which cliché I accept — or both — I deserve the treatment.
In last Thursday’s column, I tried to sing the praises of a true, upstanding, Righteous Gentile in the American Army during World War II. This man — a mere sergeant in charge of 1,200 others because his superiors were lost forever to the enemy — became a hero as, standing before them in a Nazi prisoner of war camp, he stood up to its commandant, who was holding a pistol to his head. Instead of flinching when asked to identify “his” Jews — about 200 in the group at attention behind him — he said, in a brave face-down that ultimately saved everyone: “We are all Jews.”
You can reread my column of last week for basic information. But if you want to learn more about this Yad Vashem Righteous of the Nations, as at least one astute reader did, the first thing you’ll find when looking him up online is that I gave him a wrong name. This hero was Staff Sergeant Roddie Edmunds. I managed to misidentify him as Robbie Edwards.
In case you’re wondering — yes, indeed, there is a Robbie Edwards. He happens to be a minor league baseball player. I do like baseball, but I knew nothing about him — not consciously, at least — until after my grievous error was pointed out to me, and I went looking to find out what I had done. And why. Because I had never even heard of this person before I learned that I had usurped his name — and in so doing, dishonored a true hero. There is little I can say except how sorry I am, which is certainly not enough.
I’ve been in this business for a long, long time, and it has certainly not been a time without errors. I’m lucky that I can count the major ones on the fingers of one hand and still have a finger or two left over. Still, nothing has been as serious as this. And I’ve always been ready to eat crow when I have egg on my face. The one “excuse” I’ve never used — and I certainly won’t use it now — is that “these things happen.” Of course they do. But they shouldn’t. Any writer worth his or her salt has a responsibility to check and re-check facts before committing anything to print. I can promise all readers, and pledge to the memory of the great Roddie Edmunds, that I will never let such an error get past me again.
Only one of you has reported this mistake. But I’ll bet there are others who haven’t taken the time to do the same. In the future, if you question anything I write…if you are sure — or even just suspect — that I have it wrong, whatever it may be…please, don’t hesitate to let me know. I will be glad to make any and all necessary corrections. We may argue some “facts” that are in doubt or dispute; disagreements are always agreeable when handled civilly, so that both parties can learn something in the exchange. But an error is an error, and I will not deny any that I make. Most certainly, not this one.
Staff Sgt. Roddie Edmunds, I salute you for your heroism. And for Robbie Edwards, I wish a successful season this year. And maybe if you make it to the majors, and get to play with or against our Rangers, I’ll manage to meet you in person, shake your hand and tell you how I wrongly credited you with something worthy of history’s Hall of Fame.

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