Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:
Parkersburg News and Sentinel on remembering veterans' sacrifices:
On Nov. 11, 1921, an American soldier killed in World War I whose identity was not known was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on a hill overlooking the Potomac River. The date was significant: the armistice ending World War I took effect at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918 - the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Armistice Day, as it became known was given unofficial recognition by a Congressional resolution in1926. It was declared an official holiday 12 years later to honor the 16.5 million Americans who took part in "the war to end all wars."
Unfortunately World War I did not end all wars and in 1941 Americans were again asked to answer the call of duty in World War II. This was followed by war in Korea. Armistice Day did not seem broad enough to recognize the new veterans created by these two wars, and in 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill changing the name of this holiday to Veterans Day.
Since the 1950s, Americans have continued to serve - and die - in many places far from home. The call has gone out and Americans have answered it. That call to duty is still going out and being answered. Even as we pause to honor our veterans this very day, young Americans - many from our community - are risking their lives in Afghanistan. Several from our area have been seriously injured and, unfortunately, some have added their names to the list of Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
We pause this day to do something we all should do every day - honor our veterans and members of the armed forces. We do this in an official ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery at the "Tomb of the Unknowns"; and we do it in nearly every community in America. We do this because we owe these men and women who have made the sacrifice more than we can ever repay. To those veterans of past wars and to the fighting men and women of today, we say thank you for your sacrifices.
The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, W. Va., on a coalition working to reduce child poverty:
We all love rags-to-riches stories. Oprah Winfrey was the child of an unwed teenage mother and rose from a hard-scrabble Mississippi farm to become one of the richest women in the world.
Andrew Carnegie began 12-hour shifts in a Pennsylvania cotton mill at age 13 and through tireless hard work built a steel empire. Eventually, he became one of the world's great philanthropists, funding libraries across the country, including one in Huntington.
Those stories inspire us, and they give us hope that drive and determination can overcome any economic obstacle. It can happen, but most of the time it does not.
Too many people born in poverty never break through to success, and their children are caught in the same cycle. There are a host of issues involved, from opportunity to entitlement and from education to well-being. But whatever the factors, the outcome is at the root of many of society's problems — drug abuse, crime, poor health — that drive up government costs and limit economic growth.
Changing that pattern will require more than just hoping for more Oprahs, and a group working to reduce child poverty in West Virginia is drilling into what specific strategies can help.
Our Children, Our Future is a statewide coalition of more than 160 groups, and Sunday social workers, law enforcement, educators, policy-makers, members of the faith community and others gathered at Enslow Park Presbyterian Church in Huntington to talk about objectives.
For example, the group has advocated for expansion of Medicaid to more families, funding more domestic violence prevention efforts, promoting healthy foods in school and addressing prison overcrowding. The good news is that important steps were taken in all of those areas last year.
The group is now working on its targets for the 2014 legislative year and presented 18 possible statewide proposals, covering issues affecting education, health, jobs, families and the justice system. The ideas range from more recess and physical activity in school to removing soft drinks from food stamp benefits to reforming foster care and more than a dozen other ideas.
While no one legislative change is going to eliminate child poverty, it is in everyone's interest to look for tangible actions that can make a difference.
Charleston Gazette on health care:
West Virginia's Sen. Jay Rockefeller protested bitterly at a congressional hearing that "lifesaving benefits" of the new Affordable Care Act are being obscured by fierce Republican smears against the bold advance in human rights for Americans.
"Whether it is expanding Medicaid coverage already for almost 60,000 West Virginians or removing barriers to care for those with pre-existing conditions, the real story of the Affordable Care Act lies in the lives it is making better every day," he told the hearing. "And I remain enormously proud of the law and the promise it holds for people in West Virginia and around the country."
Rockefeller said he's dismayed by "the ability of the Republican Party to be maniacally political while seeking to destroy this law and forget the extraordinary benefits of this law." He said the GOP spotlights a few rollout problems in an attempt to taint the whole law as worthless.
The ACA is designed to provide health care for around 30 million lower-income working Americans who currently lack coverage. A major part of the plan is expansion of Medicaid to millions of less-privileged working families -- although GOP governors and legislatures are blocking this reform in about two dozen states.
AARP says the ACA will help Americans in 10 different ways. In future history books, it will be recorded as another major improvement in U.S. living conditions.
Over the past century, conservatives have opposed every humane advance for Americans. They fought women's right to vote -- and birth control for couples -- and Social Security pensions -- and equality for blacks -- and Medicare for seniors -- and Medicaid for the poor -- and decriminalization of homosexuality -- etc. Luckily, liberal progressives won all those battles.
Someday, the ACA will be embraced by nearly everyone as a boon to Americans.