Madison County Opinion...

April 3, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
April 3, 2002

Frankly Speaking

No justification in attacking Southern icons
Last week an Augusta College student was charged with arson for burning a Georgia flag. The young man, who is from Tennessee, objected to the flag because of its Confederate symbol. He entered a private yard, stole a sign demanding a vote on the state flag and set a fire that burned the flag and a portion of the homeowners lawn.
Brandon J Emert told authorities that he opposes the flag on “ethnic and religious beliefs.” For some reason, this young man felt that he was justified in violating the rights of the Augusta family simply because he disagreed with their views.
His argument that the flag violates his “ethnic and religious beliefs” is nonsense for two reasons. First, he is not a Georgia resident, and therefore has no say in what flag we choose to fly. Second, his aversion is based on a severely distorted view of American history.
Mr. Emert, the NAACP and others attack Southern culture and icons based on the claim that the Confederacy was formed to preserve slavery, a claim that any 10 year old with a calculator and a copy of the U.S. Constitution can disprove in less than 10 minutes. Numerous historical documents are available that clearly show that the War for Southern Independence was not about slavery. Plenty of other documents clearly show what the war was about.
That is why Southern partisans such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans, League of the South, the Southern Party and others have designated April of each year as Confederate History and Heritage Month. (Be aware that this writer is an officer in the local camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.)
Every year, we use this time to present our side of the argument. We use various methods of transmitting the facts that led to the creation of the Confederacy including book donations to local libraries, special programs and Confederate Memorial Day services on or about April 25, Confederate Memorial Day.
Sometimes it appears that ours is a lost cause. King Roy betrayed our state with his theft of our flag. The NAACP gets full coverage of their attacks on Southern icons, while the defenders of the South are basically ignored. The governor of Virginia has bowed to pressure from the South haters and refused to issue a proclamation honoring Confederate leaders.
But on occasion, we see signs of progress. I salute the mayor of Suffolk, Virginia. Although he is a great-great-grandson of slaves, and can expect severe pressure from our enemies, Mayor Curtin Milteer signed a proclamation recognizing Confederate History and Heritage Month. He correctly said, “Reflecting on the past is a way to bring people together to improve the future.”
I urge my readers to take this opportunity to learn the facts about the Confederacy, and honor the over 400 Madison Countians who fought for the cause of Southern Independence.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

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Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
April 3, 2002

A Moment with Margie

Get the test!
My brother was only 47 years old when he died.
No, he didn’t die in a car wreck or in any other type of accident, which is the first thing most people think when they hear of the death of someone that young.
He died of colon cancer.
And the saddest thing of all, even sadder than his death, is the fact that he didn’t have to die that way.
Colon cancer, while one of the deadliest forms of cancer, is also one of the slowest growing and easiest to cure, when caught in time.
Catching it is the trick, and this requires personal responsibility, diligence, and some small discomfort. Although there seems to be a hereditary connection, as in breast cancer, victims often have no family members who have suffered the disease.
In my brother’s case, by the time he became uncomfortable enough to go in for testing not only was his colon blocked by a tumor, but the cancer had mestasized (spread) to the surrounding organs, including the liver.
Death was almost certain from the time of diagnosis, and despite chemotherapy and radiation, he died just a short seven months later.
Those months between were not pretty. I don’t think I have the capability of describing his suffering in writing. But if you have ever witnessed such a thing, you know it is something you never want yourself or anyone you love to go through.
I said all that to say this - if you are 50 years old, or 40 (or younger) if you have a family history of colon cancer or bowel disease, go and get tested regularly. That means at least every three to five years, depending on your risk factors.
Do it - don’t wait. Catching the disease early is the difference between living and dying - between recovering and going on with your life, or dying a terrible death.
Besides my family history, I have ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease.
Because of this alone, I have had at least ten of the “dreaded colonoscopys.” And since my brother’s diagnosis, and the fact that my risk of colon cancer is greater than the general population - I now have a colonoscopy every year.
Colonoscopies are a part of my life, and I’m so thankful for it.
I am hopeful that because of it, and a diligent and thorough physician, I will not go through what I saw my brother and others suffer. If I develop cancer, I am hopeful I will be one of the lucky ones.
I am amazed when I hear people say they will avoid a colonoscopy and other similar tests at all costs - even if it means getting cancer.
Wow.
They obviously don’t know what they’re talking about.
Today Show host Katie Couric lost her husband to colon cancer when he was only 43. Since then she gets a regular colonoscopy - on TV no less - to show how the procedure is done and to prevent others from going through what her husband did.
Here’s how a colonoscopy works: In most cases, the day before the colonoscopy you will be on a liquid diet. Some doctors allow a light breakfast.
The doctor I go to now has me drink a two ounces of phospho soda in the early afternoon. Let me just say that this causes what I can best describe as an “abdominal earthquake.”
A liquid diet is continued the rest of the day, followed by another two ounces of the phospho soda in the late afternoon, which causes an “aftershock.”
Other doctors have their patients drink a gallon of a flavored solution called Colyte, which does the same thing. I’ve done that too, many times, and I definitely prefer the phospho soda.
The next morning when you report for your procedure, you’re given a wonderful


concoction of drugs intravenously that send you into a “twilight” sleep. I can usually hear voices and even speak, and while I have an idea of what is happening to me - I don’t care.
The whole thing takes less than 15 minutes generally. To do the procedure, the doctor uses a flexible tube called a colonoscope to examine the colon. This remarkable instrument has a camera and microscope on the end, enabling the doctor to examine the lining of the colon closely.
Photos (in color, no less) and a video are taken during the procedure.
Polyps, small finger-like projections that often grow in the colon’s lining, can even be snipped and removed for biopsy by a scissor-like instrument also located on the end of the scope.
This is significant because these polyps often grow into cancerous tumors, sometimes over many years. Removing them removes that risk factor. Because the colon wall has no pain sensors, you don’t feel the biopsies either.
Of course there is some risk - one of these, like any other surgical procedure, is from the anesthesia. Another is a risk of puncturing the colon wall with the scope. This is rare, but take the responsibility of asking your physician (before you show up for the procedure) how many colonoscopies he or she has performed. As with a surgeon, you want a gastroenterologist with experience and a good record.
Your doctor may recommend other tests as well, including checking for hidden (occult) blood in bowel movements.
It’s not a pretty subject, but then it’s not a pretty disease.
Don’t let ungrounded fear prevent you from taking care of your health and even saving your life.
The thing to fear is NOT the test - it’s the disease.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.


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