|Don West, 1906-1992|
All three of these role models lived in roughly the same time period in Appalachia. My father was the earliest born of the three and was grown before Don and Jim were born. But their life times overlapped significantly. It is interesting that they never met and yet each of them influenced me tremendously. I would have loved to have heard those conversations if they had ever been in the same room. Individually and collectively they taught me many of the core concepts on which I still base my life. Democracy and patriotism for them were not about a little person who simply served a large government or country. It was about a government and country which also was able to adequately serve the needs of every little person who comprised part of that country. They did not believe in a world in which individuals might be forced to unquestioningly adhere to the rules of government. They believed that right and good required that all individuals must be free to live life as they wished so long as that did not harm others. They believed in fair wages, equal rights, equal health care, and equal opportunity for all. And so do I. Thank you Daddy, Jim, and Don! And also, thank you John Roberts! And Happy Birthday, America!