Meridian Star

November 11, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — We reap what we sow

    As we honor our veterans, especially those who have fought our wars, we should become aware of the cause of war and commit ourselves to the cause of peace.

    I was in New Guinea on D-Day. When the chaplain heard the news he called a special worship service. When we were seated on the makeshift pews, which were logs that had been dragged into place, Chaplain Wolcott addressed the crowd of anxious young men with the statement that "Today is Judgement Day!"

    As one of the writers of the Bible put it, we had sown the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind.

    Mankind in general had chosen to live by a spirit that made war inevitable. The way the Allies treated Germany after WW1 (plus their racism, etc.) assure the hell of WW2 and our hands were far from clean in the Far East before Pearl Harbor.

    Whether individually or collectively the way we treat one another determines whether we experience peace or war. We reap what we sow and one of the great tragedies is that the storms we create rains on the good and evil alike. Could the super storm, Sandy, be a prime example? Global warming, you know.

C.E. Swain, Carthage, Miss., WW2 vet and

retired UMC minister

The power

of showing up

    Something profound took place on Tuesday, Nov. 6th, 2012. It was a true act of civic duty, an exercise in democracy.

    It was something that can change history and affect lives. It costs nothing. In fact, all a person has to do is show up.

    It was on this day that a friend and I toured our city's public high school.

    Yes, there was also a presidential election on that day, but a public school tour is no less important, no less dramatic. In fact, a 60 minute walk-through of your local public high school might have more of an impact on your community than the person or the party who presides from the Oval Office.

    To say that public schools are important would be an understatement of the highest degree. Our country has a unique system of instruction, one that has been called "the greatest American idea." Unlike many of the world's industrialized nations, our public schools are open to all children; free of charge and regardless of race, religion, income or learning style. They are microcosms of raw, authentic democracy; required by law to enroll all who apply and to provide the learning needs of every student -- regardless of the space or complexities that are required to do so.

    The reader may wonder how in the world a seemingly mundane school tour could be more dramatic than a presidential election. The answer to this question can be found in the faces of Mr. Abdella's History class, where we saw the diverse future of Meridian hanging onto his every word with laser-like focus, responding with intellectual comments and challenges that would rival the world's greatest thinkers.

    Indeed, it was dramatic to look into Mr. Berg's Art class, where students were thoroughly engaged in the abstract creativity that is required of today's modern, global economy; an economy that is based on scientific understanding while relying on the essential, complementary component of artistic innovation.

    And, yes, it was dramatic to hear what was perhaps the most powerful lesson of the day, as Principal Victor Hubbard looked at us at the end of the tour and said, very thoughtfully, "Our students really do love to see visitors from the community."

    This wasn't my first tour of a local school, but I left with the same, immeasurable impact that always occurs when I see "the greatest American idea" in action. I always tell people about these tours, and I do so with a profound hope that they, too, will visit one of our city's schools and become inspired.

    Inspiration is a powerful thing. It is larger than one person, even if that person is the President of the United States.

Michael A. Van Veckhoven, Meridian

There is no United Way without you

    We wish to thank everyone who helped on the United Way campaign. Our sincere thanks and appreciation also goes to all the people who gave.

    It is hard to decide who needs the help the most: a child who starts life's struggle with the burden of a handicap; or the older person trying to spend his last days with dignity; or families caught in the tangle of circumstance; or people out of work, and out of hope.

    Giving to United Way assures that people that need help get help. It also assures that the money given during each year's campaign goes as far as it can to help as many people as possible.

    Many people do not realize that agencies providing services to the mentally and physically handicapped, emotionally troubled, the aged and the sick might not be available if it were not for the United Way. Also community programs, CPR training, mental health programs, Scouting, family services and medical programs — these and dozens of others are here for all of us.

    Now more than ever, the agency needs your increased support, not simply as an act of giving, but an act of helping those in need. Perhaps we cannot help each individual as we would like, but we can reach out to them throughout the collective resources of the United Way.

    Your contribution is an investment in people, and no other investment has such a high rate of return.

    Finally, there are many ways the United Way helps, but only if you help because without you there is no way.

Maureen Files, United Way

RSVP volunteer