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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Pray for the Dead and Work for the Living--A Memorial Day Thought


On this Memorial Day observance, we Democrats do well to remember that for soldiers, a war is never over simply because the last gun has been silenced. Soldiers truly never leave their battlefields. We should this day pray for the dead and work for the living and for their families.

A country has a spotty history at best when it comes to caring for those who have borne the battle. However, as Democrats, we have reason to be proud of some landmark achievements to aid our men and women in uniform. On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the "Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944," better known as the "GI Bill of Rights." The famed legislation for World War II veterans has since been recognized as one of the most important acts of Congress. This act made it possible for the United States to escape some of the problems veterans had faced after World War I when they returned to civilian life. Later, U.S. Rep. Gillespie V. Montgomery, a Democrat from Mississippi, was responsible for an active duty GI Bill which bears his name.

I want to share with you a poem written by good central Oklahoma Democrat, Bob Bearden

Our Honored Dead

Family and friends go off to war,
Some never come home again,
Each of us have lost loved ones,
From our family and our friends.

War is not what they wanted,
But, they were proud to serve,
Many have sacrificed their lives,
And not once lost their nerve.

No matter how we may perceive,
Nor abhor the horrible act of war,
We cannot ever forget their sacrifice,
Nor how they stood straight and sure.

If wars were fought by our leaders,
Then all wars would be ended today,
Sadly they yet still send our children,
To go and fight and die in harm's way.

So let us each honor those who died,
Fighting for what they believed was right,
With the last full measure of their devotion,
They kept to their honor and freedom's light.

Amen, Bob, may we continue to be a party that honors its soldier in its deeds rather than in its words alone.

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