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OPINION PAGE - JULY 7, 1999 - JEFFERSON, GEORGIA



Column
Mike Buffington
The Jackson Herald - July 7, 1999

U.S. helps other nations rebuild
There are a lot of moments when we think the nation is going to hell. One look at our entertainment culture leaves one shaken - from movies to music to fashion to art, we have slid into slime.
But there is a great untold story of the 20th century that deserves much more attention. For all our faults, Americans have helped rebuild nation after nation during the second half of the century. Not since the heyday of British Imperialism has any one nation had such an impact on the world.
Some of our assistance has come in the form of government aid. The Marshall Plan following World War II was a massive effort in rebuilding Europe. Likewise, America rewrote the Japanese constitution following that war and pumped billions of dollars into rebuilding a former enemy.
But far less obvious has been the unofficial and volunteer aid given around the world by various social, civic and religious organizations.
I was reminded of that again this week in an article about Kosovo refugees who had been resettled in America. It would be staggering to know just how much aid has poured into helping those caught up in that Eastern European conflict. Much of the aid has come from government sources, but a lot of the work has been done by volunteer doctors, nurses and religious groups. They have done this not for personal gain or political goals, but rather for the simple motive of humanitarian kindness.
The same thing is true for other international disasters, large and small. In both the Third World and developing nations, U.S. citizens can be found helping feed, clothe and educate people who lack the resources to provide for themselves. We build churches, schools and medical clinics in remote villages and put well pumps in places where there is no decent drinking water. We host foreign students in this country and give them access to our universities so they can return home and help their own nations.
The fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s opened that massive area of the world to outside assistance. The economy in Russia and the other former Soviet states is in chaos and the odds are against any quick fix. Yet thousands of people have been providing aid to Russia, both for short-term needs and for long-term business and government training. Whatever happens in the future there, we have sowed thousands of seeds that speak well of both our nation and our Democratic form of government.
Here's what one refugee from Kosovo told an Atlanta newspaper about America:
"If someone were to give me U.S. citizenship, I would take it right away. I would, and then go back to live in Kosovo and if things went wrong again, then we could come back with no problem."
That is the typical view, I believe, of many people around the world. Although we talk about escaping the "rat race," a lot of other people would love to have a chance at the opportunities we're given and take for granted.
Some don't take those things for granted and give of their time and energy to help other nations. So for all our faults and shortcomings, we are still a nation that cares about other people, a nation that attempts to not only help rebuild from the rubble of wars, but also that seeks to heal the personal scars left behind.
One can only hope that we can pass such humanitarian values down to the next generation.
Mike Buffington is editor of The Jackson Herald.
EMAIL: MikeB21081@aol.com.



Editorial
The Jackson Herald
July 7, 1999

Fireworks show a blast
There's no doubt about it - the fireworks show each July 4th in Jefferson is one of the best small town displays in the nation. The credit for this show goes to the Jefferson Fire Department, which organizes and puts on the annual fireworks event.
In addition to the fireworks, the Jefferson Area Business Association hosts a variety of July 4th family activities, from a band playing on the square prior to the fireworks, to a carnival of events for kids. The JABA group has made the July 4th event an annual community attraction that goes beyond just watching fireworks.
In the early 1970s, the JFD began doing a small fireworks show in Jefferson on July 4th. One of the department's highlight events was the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration in which fireworks capped off the local show.
Since that time, the July 4th event has gotten even better, with larger fireworks and longer shows. That, plus the involvement of the JABA group, has begun to bring thousands of people into Jefferson each July 4th.
In all, hundreds of man-hours go into planning and hosting the annual July 4th celebration in Jefferson. For that, we say "Thanks" to both the JFD and JABA for their time and effort in this community event.



Letters to the Editor
The Jackson Herald
July 7, 1999
Thankful for men coming to Argentina from Maysville
Dear Editor:
I grew up in Maysville and am now a missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention in Argentina. At the end of May, a group of four men from the Maysville Baptist Church came and spent several days with us. They prayed in several of the neighborhoods where we work, encouraged local pastors and visited children's ministries in our area. They also met the mayor of the town in which we live.
I just want to thank Maysville Baptist Church for sending Brian Stowe, Eddie Herring, Donnie Jacks and Mike Jackson to help us that week. Their kindness and enthusiasm in reaching out to others built good will in the community. May God bless everyone in Jackson and Banks counties.
Thank you,
Randy and Kathy Jackson
Argentina


Pave our dirt roads
Dear Editor:
Jackson County is nothing but a dust ball. Please pave the roads! How would you like to buy a new car and have it dented and scratched by rocks and grit? Stop re-paving paved roads and go where you are needed!!!
Sincerely,
K. Brockman
Lipscomb Lake Road
Pendergrass



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