Madison County Opinion...

SEPTEMBER 29, 2004

By Frank Gillispie
The Madison County Journal
September 29, 2004

Frankly Speaking
The terrorists don’t realize just how tough we are
The terrorists don’t realize just how tough we are. America has been made powerful by adversity. We have overcome hundreds of challenges.
Our strength comes from the iron of our diversity tempered by the fire and ice of natural and man-made crisis. So why do those who would dominate the world through fear think they can terrorize us into submission?
Our nation was born in conflict. Our Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War and the long-standing regional differences that led to our compromise constitution were just the beginning. These events established a great union of states, each with unique strengths and experiences.
While we are a nation of great diversity, we share a common set of goals: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In order to guard and maintain these principles, we have fought and won numerous wars, overcome dangerous acts of nature and resolved numerous social and economic crisis.
Consider the kinds of natural disasters we survive every year. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires. The Southeastern states have just experienced a massive assault of nature. The state of Florida has been hit by four destructive hurricanes. It is in shambles. But people are not fleeing the state of Florida. They will rebuild, learning from the damage they have experienced, with new buildings and infrastructure that will be far more resistant to future storms.
We have suffered a massive internal conflict. The Southern half of the nation tried to separate itself from the rest and go its own way. The North chose to use military force to compel them back into the union. As a result, the Southern states were devastated, both economically and socially. Yet today, the South is leading the nation in social, economic and military advancement.
We have fought and won war after war in defense of our liberty and that of our friends around the world. We have won “hot” wars with steel and blood. We have won “cold” wars with social and economic strength. We have won cultural wars with our great diversity.
The impact of our history produced a racial division between our people that led to massive upheaval. While racist attitudes persist on both sides, we are making real progress toward giving everyone, regardless of race, sex, religion, age, regional or national origin, an equal place in our society.
Each episode of fire and ice hardens us into an ever higher grade of steel.
Each episode has built our strength so that we are the most powerful nation on earth. A small band of terrorists, while they can give us trouble, will never prevail. It may take a while, and it is a different kind of conflict. But our great power and diversity will carry the day.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is His website can be accessed at

ByMargie Richards
The Madison County Journal
September 29, 2004

A Moment with Margie

A dog story
We found Jack, like we find most of our pets, on the side of a road somewhere.
His sad puppy face told us all we needed to know — he’d been thrown away like he was nothing.
We took him home, bathed him, fed him and de-fleaed him, got him his vaccinations and had him neutered so he wouldn’t father more unwanted puppies, and then began the process of finding him a home.
In the meantime he became a beautiful young dog with an obviously varied ancestry that included a predominance of Chow and German Shepherd evident in his face and markings.
He was such a handsome fellow that he was soon adopted by a nice family with kids who we thought would provide him with a good home.
A couple of years went by and we all but forgot about Jack, until one day we got a call from his owners. Seems they had to move and couldn’t take Jack along — would we take him back or at least know of someone who might take him?
As we had promised when they adopted him, we told the family that we would take him back and see if we could find another home for him.
Now, as everyone knows, cute puppies are easier to find homes for than full-grown, very large, dogs.
When we saw Jack again we realized he had become a very, very large dog.
Unfortunately, he had also developed a few bad habits and was aggressive, since he had been kept on a lead and had had to fight to keep other dogs in a mobile home park away from his food.
It took some time and patience, but Jack soon settled back into his true gentle and loving nature.
He became affectionate with the other animals, including the cats and chickens and did a good job of being a “watch dog” and staying in our yard.
Then one day we noticed Jack was not around although our smaller dog, Buster, was there. All that day and the next Jack didn’t turn up and we began to worry. I called neighbors who said they hadn’t seen him and we drove around the neighborhood looking, but found no sign of Jack.
The morning of the third day I heard little Buster whimpering down in the edge of the woods where we lived. I walked down there to investigate and found Jack, badly hurt, legs broken, lying on his side.
Despite the pain he must have been in, he thumped his tail at the sound of my voice. His eyes were swollen and one of them appeared sightless.
I called to my husband, Charles, and he brought a blanket to cover him. From the way the ground around him looked it seemed as if he had dragged himself sideways through the woods in his determination to get home.
I tried to give him water while Charles called the vet. Knowing he didn’t want to be alone anymore, one of us sat with him until we could get help.
Buster knew it too. He and a couple of our cats came to lay next to him, I’m sure in an effort to keep him warm and, I’m just as certain, to try to comfort him.
The vet looked him over when he arrived and said he must have encountered a mother deer with a fawn or perhaps a mother cow and gotten kicked and mauled. Blind and broken up, we decided the best we could do for Jack was to end his suffering. The vet took care of it, sending him into a peaceful sleep while we stroked his head and spoke to him.
Buster sat up and howled his distress.
Jack wasn’t anything at all to whoever threw him away when he was a puppy and many others would say “it was just a dog.”
That’s true, he was just a dog, but he knew how to give and receive love, and though crippled and in pain, he knew the way home and had the determination necessary to get there.
This is just one of many emotional stories, many happy, some sad, that I can tell you about the animals I have known and loved. If you love animals and have been around them all your life I’m sure you have some similar stories of your own.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.

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