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.

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