Friday, April 29, 2011
Memorials and Meetings
Around 5 pm, we joined in behind the single fire truck and marched to the sound of a lone bagpipe as the procession began. The streets were mostly empty, and what traffic there was held at bay by a lone police officer who moved ahead to the next intersection each time we needed him. We proceeded down Jefferson and turned right at Fulton, arriving at the Labor Memorial adjacent to the Police and Firefighter memorial near the courthouse.
Mike Everett, the President of the Labor Council, presided, introducing the speakers. I'd give you all the names, but frankly, this event was not about them. It was about remembering the thousands of workers who have died on the job. Each speaker had something to add, and in respectful and solemn silence, the mostly blue collar crowd stood reverently as they heard the names of fallen workers and fallen soldiers from the state of Illinois over the past year read aloud. At the end of the ceremony, the lone piper played Amazing Grace as members of the crowd were invited to place red carnations at the base of the memorial.
We wandered over to the Pere Marquette and sat down with General Parker for a cup of coffee and some insight into Peoria politics. If you're never met General Parker, you've missed one of the most pleasant conversations you might have in Peoria, although I understand from the General there are several people in Peoria who might disagree. The former Mayoral candidate and youth advocate talked with Matt and I for about an hour, sharing his knowledge and experience concerning the political climate in Peoria. I walked away from that meeting with some great insights, as well as some information about the General's latest effort. On May 10th at 8:00 am in Springfield, his organization (Illinois Fathers) will sponsor Fatherless Day, and event in support of the Steven Watkins Bill (HB 1604) to protect the rights of non-custodial parents. You can find out more about this noble cause at IllinoisFathers.org. Like his many efforts before this, the General is advocating the preservation of the family for the welfare of the children. And somehow, Kevin Lyons thought this man would be unfit to serve on the School Board for District 150.