Yes, we celebrated the 155th birthday at Under the Oaks park in Jackson this evening. We had a jam packed program, both the printed one and the actual event.
We met an up and coming young African American Representative from the 51st District whose home is in Grand Blanc and who comes from a GM family and who knows leadership issues and problems and is the youngest and first black Republican House member.
He was inspirational.
As was Keith Butler, who is the Republican National Committeeman from Michigan and whose day job can only be described as bringing out the best in his parishioners as he works and prays his way through educating young people and inspiring all he meets with the kind of real, practical advice and leadership plus faith in themselves and their God.
We had short biographies of the five "firsts." Jessica Blackfort, a sophomore from Jackson attending Butler University told us about Jeannette Rankin, the first woman Congressperson who pushed through the women's vote in Montana, and was elected to Congress before all women in the country had the right to vote.
A 15 year citizen, Mai Vu from Vietnam, told us about the first Vietnamese Congressman, Joe Cao of Louisiana who beat out William Jefferson (the guy with $90,000 in his freezer) just last November. Mai and Joe's fathers both spent many years in North Vietnamese prisons.
Congressman Tim Walberg told us about Kingsley Bingham, the first Republican Governor of Michigan who had been nominated at the first Republican convention, here in Jackson in 1854.
Michael Cox (who really didn't have to tell us that if we were expecting the candidate for Governor, it wasn't he) a young African American from Jackson who has worked at the local YMCA where we met, but who is now working with Youth at Starr Commonwealth just west of Albion. He told us about the first black Congressman, Hiram Revels who was first a chaplain in the military after divinity school and then a pastor and teacher for many years balancing his political and religious life in admirable fashion.
And last we met Jose Paz, a young Hispanic man who has lived in Jackson County and took his oath as an American citizen just last week. His love for our country truly shines forth whenever he talks about it. He told us about Romauldo Pacheco, the first Hispanic to go to Congress. This guy's father died when he was five weeks old, his mother remarried and he was send to Honolulu to school and at 12 was apprenticed with a shipping agent and became an accomplished seaman. He then worked on a ranch and his talent with a lasso made him the only Governor of California to ever lasso a grizzly bear! He held several state jobs-Lt. Governor, Treasurer, warden at San Quentin, moved up to Governor and started two colleges before going on to the U.S. Senate. After his service he turned to ranching in northern Mexico before returning and being named as Extraordinary Minister Plenipotentiary to the several Latin and South American countries. That proved to be too much for any one man, so they divided up the job from then on. What a guy!
The approximately 70 folks who attended surely went home with just a few tidbits of learning something they hadn't known before. It was truly an enjoyable hour and worth all the effort which goes into putting together such a program. I'll try to put up some photos tomorrow.
Sleep well, I surely will........
And God bless.......