Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, recently offered a resolution on the Trail of Death to her colleagues in the House to remember the lives lost during the brutal forced march of Potawatomi Native Americans from present-day Indiana to the western United States.
“Our nation’s history is filled with such horrific episodes of violence and injustice that cannot simply be washed away or ignored,” said Scherer. “We owe to the descendants of the Potawatomi to remember the suffering they endured and vow to never let it happen again.”
The move by Rep. Scherer reminded me of a “Scrapbook” article that first ran in this newspaper several years ago about Potawatomi Tribe’s forced march that came through Decatur on September 26, 1838 and the plaque with information about that connection to Decatur in Mueller Park.
I dug out the “Scrapbook” article and it is reprinted on pages 4 and 5 of this week’s print and online editions.
Scherer introduced House Resolution 170, which urges the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to erect a marker that elucidates the site of the forced march. The Potawatomi Trail of Death is just one of many forced marches and population transfers of Native Americans that took place during the country’s consolidation. Additionally, the Potawatomi nation was also found in Illinois and lived throughout the state including present-day Chicago.
Scherer’s resolution is similar to one introduced during the 102nd General Assembly that was unfortunately never heard by her colleagues on the House floor.
“Recognizing the mistakes of the past and learning from them is essential to personal growth as well as that of our society,” said Scherer. “We can no longer hide from the past, instead, we must learn to talk about these things and understand them so we are not doomed to repeat them.”
Thank you, Sue, for your efforts to help us remember — and learn from the past.
• ANGLE parking? I’ve written something about every week in this column about the wild way people drive these days, but have you noticed the crazy way some people park their vehicles?
Right in front of the Millikin Court building where we have our newspaper offices, there is angle parking on the east side of Water Street.
I walked out the front door one afternoon last week and a big black pick-up truck had parked the wrong angle over two of the parking spaces!
Maybe how to angle park should be included in future tests at the Secretary of State’s Driver’s License Facility.
I did shoot a photo with my cellphone of the truck parked the wrong way across the two angle parking spaces.
While I was shooting the photo, the truck’s driver came out and left after apparently transacting some business in the building.
Fortunately, for the driver, the photo was not sharp enough to show the vehicle and the way it was parked at the wrong angle.
Maybe, like the speed limit signs most people ignore today, the driver of the truck thought the painted angle lines were “suggested” ways to park and could be ignored.
• SHARING— James T. sent me the following email: “Paul, I’ve been getting your paper for about 8 months now and really enjoy it, especially when you talk about the crazy things you see while driving. I even used one of your articles for my driving topic in a safety meeting so thanks!
“I just now was driving down Eldorado starting at Wyckles heading to Decatur Dental, and witnessed 5 cars that ran red lights! They weren’t even yellow to red. One even came up behind me when I was stopped on red and ran it!
“Anyway, just wanted to share this and to thank you for always writing about your driving adventures. It has made me be a more defensive driver and I even share your stories with my teenagers. Keep up the good work.”
Thank you, James — and keep being safe.
• BLOOD PRESSURE — I drove out to the east side of our beautiful city for a doctor’s checkup Friday morning.
After all of the speeding and disregard for traffic signs and lights that I experienced, I told the nurse before she took my blood pressure that it was probably going to be high because of the stressful drive to the medical facility!
When she checked it and gave me the numbers I was surprised — my blood pressure was 127/71, which wasn’t bad at all!
Hmmm, Now I wonder what it would have been without the stressful drive?
• TIC TOC — Thanks to Ruth Cortright for letting me know the following: “The clock with faces on all four sides on Water Street just north of Central Park is now operating. It looks as if they restored the clock.
“The clock was stopped and then the hands removed for so many months. I really like seeing the correct time on it!”
Thanks, Ruth. I checked it out on my walk to the post office today and shot this photo of it — and the time was correct.
Thanks to those who restored the clock giving downtown a dependable look at “the hands of time”.
• I SAW an ad today promoting a treatment for “thinning hair” which reminded me of what a minister, who was experiencing a thinning hair problem, told me years ago.
“I don’t care that my hair is getting thin. Who wants fat hair?”
Who wants “fat hair”?
• THANK YOU! Thanks so much to Golden K Kiwanis of Decatur for the invitation and warm reception during my speech at their 42th anniversary celebration held at The Salvation Army facility on West Main St., last Wednesday morning. With so much going on at the newspaper I don’t do as much public speaking as I once did over the years, but, I accepted the Golden K invitation because I wanted to personally thank the members for the great work they do in our community.
During a time when we get a steady diet of negative news, it is so inspiring to know that we have organizations in our community that are devoted to helping others and Golden K Kiwanis of Decatur is such a group that deserves to be thanked.
The group supports 44 programs in our community.
Actually, I went there to tell the members “thank you” and they surprised me with a beautiful plaque for “Outstanding Community Service” which President Ron Black presented to me after I was finished speaking. (Article and photo from Golden K on page 14 of print edition.)
I went there to thank them but they thanked me too! That’s humbling!
I think all of us who love this community and Central Illinois, and work hard to make life better don’t do what we do for any honor, but it is touching when a “thank you” is presented.
Keep up the great work Golden K Kiwanis of Decatur!
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider.