Category: Ross News (personal)

Memorial Day reading: Five stories of American military heroes

Memorial Day reading: Five stories of American military heroes

As a journalist, I’ve reported — often through tears — on too many soldiers who died fighting for their country.

On this Memorial Day, here are five stories (out of many) of American military heroes.


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2004 Patriotism, sense of duty bind WWII veteran, Army son killed in Iraq

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Associated Press

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Esequiel Perez never bragged about his service in World War II. If anything, the soft-spoken veteran downplayed his role.

“I didn’t go into too much combat or anything,” the 77-year-old says.

Yet his children – Yolanda, Rosa Anna, Sandra, Joel, Debra, Hector and Zeke – grew up knowing that their father had done his part to defend the world, and why.

In the Perez family, soldiers’ sacrifice was honored and the nation’s freedom celebrated. Memorial Day and the Fourth of July were times for reverence. When the children erected a flag pole in the front yard, Esequiel welcomed it – but warned that the stars and stripes must not ever touch the ground and should be lighted if flown at night.

“That’s how proud my dad is of this country,” said Rosa Anna Garza, 48.

He also wanted an easier life for his children than he had – he still has nightmares involving foxholes, and blames grenades for his hearing problems – so he never pushed them to join the military.

For No. 6 child Hector, though, the Army beckoned.

Read the full story.

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Continue reading “Memorial Day reading: Five stories of American military heroes”

April 28, 2017: a day to remember for the Ross family #blessed

April 28, 2017: a day to remember for the Ross family #blessed

Happy 27th anniversary, my love! #ocishome

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I'm not sure what took longer: the senior awards ceremony or my entire high school career

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It's time. The Graduate. #ocishome

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Congrats to my son Brady on earning his master's in Christian ministry. #family #ocishome #Rosses

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More #family. #Simpsons #ocishome

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From my Facebook page:

April 28th (that’s today) is shaping up to be a nice day for the Ross family. Maybe this could count as our Christmas letter — only four months late since we usually don’t do a Christmas letter.

— Twenty-seven years ago, on the day after my graduation (mostly) from Oklahoma Christian University, I married my college sweetheart, Tamie Dillard Ross. I could play her a country song to celebrate, but instead, I’ll go with what she likes (just today) and avoid playing her a country song. The last several years as she’s battled all her autoimmune diseases have been tough on her (and to a much lesser extent, on me). Just yesterday, she had her latest infusion treatment. But she also got her hair done in anticipation of today’s festivities, and it looks wonderful (no surprise there). I don’t always do the best job of showing it, but I love her. She is my world. Happy anniversary, babe!

Brady Ross, our oldest son, will graduate from Oklahoma Christian today (for the second time in a year and a half), this time with his master’s degree in ministry. Our daughter-in-law, Mary Ross, also is an Oklahoma Christian grad, circa 2016. They live and work in Waco, Texas, where Brady is the youth minister for the Crestview Church of Christ. We are so proud of both of them!

Keaton Ross, our middle son, finished his freshman year at Oklahoma Christian this week. He’s anticipating a 3.9 grade-point average for his first year of college. For those doing the math, that’s all A’s and one B. He’s majoring in journalism and contemplating being the one kid to follow in his parents’ writing footsteps. He’s still looking for work this summer, so if you have any leads for an intelligent, dependable young man who sometimes wakes up before 10 a.m., please let us know. We are so proud of him!

— Kendall Ross, our daughter and youngest child, likes to forge her own path, such as being too cool for Facebook. She’ll be irritated (if she finds out about this note) that I mentioned her last just because she’s the youngest. She is a senior at Deer Creek High School and being honored at an awards assembly this morning as one of her school’s valedictorians. She excelled in drama and debate at DCHS, starring in several shows and placing at the state level in speech and debate. She is headed to Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., this fall and tentatively plans to major in political science and history before becoming president of the United States. And yes, we are so proud of her!

We are thankful for all our blessings and praise God for all that he has given us! Thank you for being a friend!


25 years ago, a young reporter (me) got a scoop on the president of the United States

25 years ago, a young reporter (me) got a scoop on the president of the United States

Above: At a 1992 campaign rally, John Fletcher directs the Oklahoma Christian University band as the crowd welcomes President George H.W. Bush. (Photo provided by John Fletcher)

By Bobby Ross Jr. |

During the 1992 race for the White House, I was a young reporter — all of 24 years old — for the Edmond Evening Sun.

In the caveman era before email, the Internet and social media, the Sun was a five-day-a-week newspaper that served the growing suburb of Edmond, Okla., north of Oklahoma City.

That paper started as a tiny weekly in Oklahoma Territory in 1889. By the time I worked there more than a century later, daily circulation topped 10,000.

I covered two main beats for the Sun: public safety and higher education. My daily routine consisted of thumbing through the last 24 hours of reports at the police and fire stations and checking in with officials at the University of Central Oklahoma. UCO is a regional commuter university that — during my year and a half with the Sun — hired popular former two-term Oklahoma Gov. George Nigh as its president.

The headlines in the Sun — robberies, house fires, regents meetings — were “hyperlocal” long before I ever heard anyone use that term.

But a few months into my tenure with the Edmond paper, I got a tip with national significance: The president of the United States was planning a campaign stop in our coverage area — at my alma mater, Oklahoma Christian University.

At that youthful stage of my career, such news represented a major scoop — a chance to beat our main competition, The Oklahoman, then a statewide newspaper with a special, zoned section focused on Edmond and north Oklahoma City.

I rushed to confirm the tip, and when I did, the Sun splashed it across the top of the front page.


That next week, I produced in-depth coverage of Oklahoma Christian preparing to welcome President George H.W. Bush (there was no need for the “H.W.” at that point).


Four years earlier, when President Ronald Reagan still occupied the Oval Office, I had written about the then-vice president’s son, George W. Bush, for the campus newspaper The Talon.

The younger Bush had made a 1988 campaign stop at Oklahoma Christian’s Enterprise Square USA. Unfortunately, I wrongly referred to him in print as “George Bush, Jr.” Later in my career, I covered several Bush events for The Associated Press, but I did not repeat the mistake of calling him “Junior.”


The older President Bush’s rally at Oklahoma Christian — 25 years ago on March 6, 1992 — occurred on a Friday morning.

That was perfect timing for the Sun.

I cranked out my story in time to meet our noonish deadline, and the news landed on thousands of driveways that afternoon. The miracle of the printing press …


In case you can’t read the text in the yellowed clipping I saved, this was the opening of my story:

By Bobby Ross Jr., SUN Staff Writer

Campaign ’92 came to Edmond in style today as a flag-waving crowd of about 5,000 welcomed President Bush to Oklahoma Christian University of Science and Arts.

A packed Thelma Gaylord Forum exploded with cheers and chants of “Four More Years!” shortly after 9 a.m. today as the president emerged from a second-floor chapel.

“Thanks to all of you who got up at all hours this morning to come to Edmond from Elk City to Enid and towns all over Oklahoma, and a special welcome to all the students here from Oklahoma Christian,” Bush said.

The president shook hands with Edmond Mayor Randel Shadid and other special guests assembled on stage before stepping to the podium at 9:20 a.m. Twenty-one minutes later, he was off the stage and on his way to Louisiana for another campaign stop.

Smiling, the president told Oklahoma Christian students he had only one question:

“Is it too late to audition for ‘Spring Sing?’ ” he asked, referring to the 500-student musical variety show that kicked off a three-night run Thursday night on campus.

Against a backdrop of 53 U.S. flags and a giant blue banner declaring “Oklahoma Christian Welcomes President Bush,” the president was the height of a patriotic atmosphere of the campaign rally.

Read the full story.

As you may have heard, Bush failed to win re-election that November. While he carried Edmond handily, he lost nationally to Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, an old friend of Nigh.

‘Blue’ and gold: My Top 10 favorite new country songs of 2016

‘Blue’ and gold: My Top 10 favorite new country songs of 2016

By Bobby Ross Jr. 

Just for fun, here are my Top 10 favorite new country songs of 2016.

A word of warning: My iMusic playlist includes much more classic country than new country. In recent years, I find I don’t recognize half the singers on the CMA and ACM awards — and I don’t understand the appeal of some of the ones I do.

Still, there’s a 99.5 percent chance I’m missing awesome songs that belong on this list. Fellow country fans, please feel free to tell me what those songs are.

As for non-fans of God’s favorite genre of music, you have my sympathy.

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10. “From the Ground Up,” Dan + Shay.

Continue reading “‘Blue’ and gold: My Top 10 favorite new country songs of 2016”