Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Place At The Table

In America everyone has a place at the table. That also means everyone has a say, but some of those voices are being stilled by time. That includes our WWII veterans. I got a chance over the last couple of weeks to be around one, James “Maggie” Megellas. He’s a genuine WWII hero, native of Fond du Lac, first City Council President and much more.

He was back in Fond du Lac, he lives in Texas now, for the dedication of the Veterans Memorial Building in his name. We had him in our studios for an interview, covered the dedication and his speech before the City Council during their meeting.

For those who’d listen he told wonderful tales of people like you and me who lived and died during life in wartime. Not many veterans want to talk about that these days. However when you get to be 91-years-old and still visit our fighting troops in Afghanistan you’re more than entitled to tell your story.

The dedication ceremony took a little time on a humid day. I did a little people watching. There was a decent crowd, but mostly older veterans. That’s the sad thing about our veteran’s organizations these days. They are literally a dying breed. You just don’t see the number of younger veterans joining the ranks of the VFW, American Legion, etc. They still do wonderful things for our nation’s youth, but can’t continue to do so if they don’t have the members to do it.

One of the most inspired moments of the dedication was when fellow 82nd Airborne veterans joined Megellas at the podium They were members past and present. I spoke with one of them and he said it was truly an honor.

There was also a nice moment at the City Council meeting when Megellas addressed the gathering and said that the City Council was a great form of democracy in action. It’s too bad there weren’t that many in the Council chambers or watching on television at home to hear about it. However that’s the thing about democracy. It’s about having the right to make your choices freely. Just remember that if it weren’t for people like Megellas that freedom might not be readily available.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Traditional Family Values

A few different episodes over the past week have me wondering if the term “Traditional Family Values” is applicable any more. You hear it batted about during political campaigns and whenever someone is making a decision that might portray them in a less than favorable light.

The Fond du Lac County Board this week tabled a decision on whether or not to support a diversity initiative’s statement of principles. It was done for a couple of reasons, one of which had to do with objections to the term “sexual orientation” in the statement. It was implied that there might be a hidden agenda and some supervisors said outright that they wouldn’t condone gay, lesbian, and bisexual and transgender lifestyles.

Actually the initiative was started as a way of attracting more talent as the County faces an aging workforce. It was felt if the community were more welcoming it would attract a diversity of talent. County Executive Al Buechel says the statement was also designed to be an umbrella that would cover everyone.

Supervisor Jim Kiser objected to the statement saying he’d run for office on a platform that supports “Traditional Family Values.” I have no problem with that. What I do question is just what is considered a “traditional family” these days. With more than half of marriages ending in divorce and a growing number of single-parent households the “traditional family” is in danger of being redefined. Not to mention how are “values” seem to be evolving as well.

I attended the Democratic Party’s campaign headquarters kickoff in Fond du Lac last Sunday and heard a lot about families. Not surprisingly the typical family is struggling to handle rising expenses for gasoline, education, health care, etc. Plus or minus campaign rhetoric there are some truths in what is being said. Though I was there to cover it as a news event, I have to admit it also provoked some thinking.

Lastly one of my favorite non-traditional family’s is making too much news these days. Can’t the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre get along? Yeah I know professional football is a business, but nobody is coming away a winner in this struggle. I’ve always considered the Packers more than just a football team, maybe part of the family. It’s the worst case of public sibling-like rivalry I’ve ever seen. Please make it go away!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cane You Help Me?

Okay so the title of this blog is a play on words. It’s actually an update on the progress I’ve made since hip surgery and the complications that arose. I now have a new fashion accessory, a cane. To be honest most of the time around the house and the radio station I don’t use it and have been walking around in public without it most of the time.

The cane has become my security blanket. My balance and stride are much better, but at times when I really push myself during a long day I get tired. About a month ago I fell in my home and landed knee first on the leg I had the surgery on. No apparent injuries until the next day after work when I tried to pull my shoe off that foot and found it had swelled up a bit and I had a slight sprain to a finger I apparently suffered that when I tried to catch myself on the way down. I didn’t go to the doctor for the fall.

Since then things have gotten much better. Now I’m to the point where I wonder just how much I need the cane. The folks at therapy told me when I ended therapy that I’d know when I no longer need it. Since I still have some doubts I’m guessing it’s still required.

One thing I have found is that the cane elicits sympathy. People are more courteous when they see a cane being used or in your shopping cart. It would be easy to use that sympathy to my advantage, but I haven’t been. It’s not right. Once I’m rid of it I’ll have to get used to being treated as just another person on the street. I can hardly wait.