While not a part of my "official duties" as the Jackson County Web Content Developer, I frequently wrote speeches for the county exeutive. Below are excerpts from six of those speeches. Use the links to read each speech in its entirety.
Remembering What Memorial Day Is All About
Celebraton At The Station—May 24, 2015
While other elected officials acted as "cheerleaders" at a prep rally celebrating the start of summer, our focus was on the true meaning of Memorial Day and Union Station's historical role in the World Wars.
As we gather here this evening, let’s remember and honor those who never made it back home… those who are not with us… those who, in defense of our great nation, gave their lives.
To put in perspective what Lincoln called the “sacrifices laid upon the altar of freedom,” consider the fact that the population of our metropolitan region is, today, about 2.3 million people. Now pause a moment to reflect on this number: In the course of our proud history, more than 2.7 million courageous American men and women have died in conflicts waged all around the globe. From the American Revolution to Afghanistan.
TWho can calculate how many loved ones those millions left behind? Loved ones like the son of Edward O’Dell Mullins, Jr.
'We Don't Want There To Be More Victims'
COMBAT Anti-Violence Canvassing Event—April 23, 2015
Just a few days before her own senseless, violent death, Alexi Kane asked her school principal why people would shoot other people—why would they hurt and kill others.
Alexis’ body, beaten and shot, was found here in The Bay Water Park on January 11. She was 14 years old, an eighth grader at Smith-Hale Middle School—just down the road from here.
We are here this evening because we don’t want there to be any more families suffering the anguish of losing a daughter, a son, a brother, a sister, a mother or a father to senseless violence. We don’t want there to be more victims.
'We Are—Today—Building A Brighter Future'
County Executive Inaugural Address—January 8, 2015
From our historic roots at Fort Osage, established when this was America’s western frontier, to celebrating a Royal Blue October at “The K,” with the Kansas City skyline as a backdrop, Jackson County has always been a wonderful place to grow up and grow old—to live a full and rewarding life.
We embark on 2015 filled with optimism.
Expanding our trails, developing a mass transit system worthy of an enterprising 21st Century city, increasing opportunities for young people... Moving forward we can make life in Jackson County and our entire region even better.
Our work is just beginning.
Now that we’ve got it ticking, each chime of the clock atop the Truman Courthouse connects our past with our present—and signals that the future is upon us right now.
Doing What's Right,
Even If The Timing Is Wrong
Harry Truman's Courageous Leadership—July 26, 2014
Truman knew he already had an up-hill struggle ahead of him during the 1948 campaign. No one thought he had much of a chance of winning the election that fall. And desegregating the military appeared certain to only make his odds worse....
His reaction to the widely accepted notion that he had committed political suicide, just three months before the election, was vintage Truman. In his diary he wrote, “How far would Moses have gone if he’d taken a poll in Egypt?”...
Ultimately, I think for Truman his decision in the summer of 1948 came down to simply doing the right thing. We all know about “The Buck Stops Here!” and how those four words will forever be associated with President Truman. Less well now is the Mark Twain quote Truman kept on his desk as a U.S. Senator: “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
Imagine the racial tensions—the out-and-out prejudices of the late 19th Century that endured through much—far too much—of the 20th Century. These were the times into which Harry Truman was born and through which he lived much of his life.
But rather than be a product of his times, Harry S. Truman changed the times in which he lived. And he helped shape the world we live in today.
Life's Lessons Offer You The Best Education
ITT Tech Commencement Address—March 29, 2010
Trotting out that graduation golden oldie—“if it is to be, it is up to me”—won’t cut it. Not with this crowd.
When you hear college “kids” whine about late nights in the library and cramming for finals, you probably have to laugh. You are adults, not kids. Many of you have juggled full-time jobs, family obligations and studying to be here today. Some of you probably have mortgages and student loans—and college funds for your kids.
You—who are average students here, 29 years old, or above average, already in your 30’s or 40’s or 50’s—already know this. So, this is for the “kids” among you, the 21- or 22-year-olds:
The toughest tests you’ll take in life aren’t the ones administered in the classroom, and your education isn’t ending here today.
Wasn’t it Mark Twain who joked, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education”?
The lessons life has to teach are endless. Only you can limit your education.
Those Living A 'Purposeful Life' Keep
Dr. Martin Luther King's Dream Alive
MLK Environmental Justice Luncheon Speech—January 15, 2008
Martin Luther King, Jr. could not understand how so many others could simply stand by when they ought to stand up and challenge the status quo. Indifference, he emphasized, was among the greatest sins.
“Our lives,” he once said, “begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
What would Dr. King have to say today as poll after poll shows many Americans being so disinterested in those “things that matter”?
Don’t tune out. Speak out. Listen up. Be engaged. Get involved. For it as true today as it was when Dr. King said it in his final speech, “We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”
He lived such a purposeful life in pursuit of his dream—a dream Dr. King knew he almost certainly would not live to see become a reality. Perhaps it’s a dream without a final destination. It is up to us to continue the journey—to never settle for the status quo when we can do better.