"There are lots of reminders that memorial Day is about more than a day of barbeque. Congress officially set Memorial Day as the last day in May to mark the start of our summer season of fun with the day devoted to the memory of those who perished in the fight for our principles of freedom. On this day of remembrance, the members of VFWs across our nation lead the way in honoring those who gave the last full measure of service." - Brigadier General Djuric
General Djuric paid homage to the present families of the fallen, telling the crowd that to the spouses, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers, every day is Memorial Day.
Whether GOP legislators want to believe it or not, Virginia education is already in crisis. Grogan discussed the departure of Waynesboro High School Teacher of the Year Josh Waldron. After six years of teaching, this accomplished young man is taking home only $100 a month more than when he started.
"The job, though, is about much more. And I have very real concerns about the sustainability of public education in Waynesboro (and as a whole)." - Josh Waldron in his personal blog
Grogan wishes that the organization that represents school board issues hadn't shied away from the Medicaid expansion issue. He was told that they had to stay away from it because the organization is nonpartisan. But this, he says, is not a political issue; it's a moral issue and an economic issue. He argues it is a myth that this is a political issue, pointing out that there are about a dozen states with Republican Governors and legislatures that have either found a way to expand Medicaid or are on the way to it. Even in Virginia, a traditionally conservative organization, the State Chamber of Commerce, favors expansion, proving it isn't a left and right issue. This expansion will create 33,000 jobs.
At least Staunton's Republican state Senator, Emmett Hanger, has broken ranks to plow a path toward a special session that can consider expansion. That means that the battle is not over. Grogan calls for remaining positive and holding our delegates' feet to the fire on this issue.
"There still is a House of Delegates which remains unmoved and unmoving on this issue." - Reverend John Peterson speaking at an Organizing Virginia vigil for Medicaid expansion just prior to the Senate joining the forces of obstruction
Hospitals and patients in Virginia have to live within the reality of the law whether or not one agrees or disagrees with the Affordable Care Act, explained John Peterson, Chairman of the Board of Augusta Health. So it is in all our best interests to find a solution that makes the law as workable as possible for as many patients and those who serve them as possible. $300 million in annual payments to Virginia hospitals were eliminated under the Affordable Care Act including disproportionate share hospital payments for treating the uninsured and cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates. Those Medicare reductions were to be offset by Medicaid expansion in the states.
Peterson outlined the effects of failing to expand Medicaid. Augusta Health provided some $25 million in uncompensated care last year and an additional $5 million in community benefits related to care.
Two of the striking things during yesterday's event to honor some former Staunton teachers: first, millennials were under-represented; next, the press did not cover it. Those deficiencies will affect politics for the next decade. These heroes of the segregation era and the struggle before equality may become forgotten relics.
"We must remember where we came from." - Sister Patsye Robinson
This was the second celebration of Staunton's teachers from that era: the first was for those who taught in the high school; this one focused on elementary teachers. Some of the honorees crossed through both based upon the needs of the segregated school district. The Staunton-Augusta African American Research Committee (many members are former students of the teachers) organized the efforts to remember them. Looking around the filled church hall at Mount Zion Baptist Church on North Augusta, the relevance of those times seems to only speak to those who lived them and most have or are approaching social security eligibility. That in itself is amazing because to us as students, being that age seemed so very far away when segregation was contemporary. In fact, there were days themselves that seemed like years when the fight for equality was as hot as the Viet Nam War.
"What is the cost of knowing our past? And what is the cost of not?" - Wright Thompson reflecting upon the enrollment of James Meredith at Ole Miss
To paraphrase Steve Allen, tragedy plus time equals humor. A lot of good humor was shared as these former teachers and an administrator passed the mike in turn. That reveals that there was tragedy in bushels to go around during those days but these educators persevered. It only follows that the oldest honoree (recently turned 90) made the most of the fun. How they have all matured with such grace and so little bitterness confounds. But their toil has been rewarded over the years in the pride of watching the children they helped shape grow into adulthood and by the admiring love of their former pupils.