Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ev'rybody Get Together

by Dee Newman and Jack Reeves

In the mid 1960s I met a man who changed my life. At that time he was a high school teacher in Sanford, Florida. I was an aviation electronics technician based at the United States Naval Air Station there. We got together through our wives who had become friends at work.

Several years later, after I had left the Navy and was attending the University of Tennessee, he convinced me to join him in southern Arizona to work on a remarkable project he had conceived and developed as the Coordinator for Resources and Planning for Arizona Rural Effort, Inc., a five-county community action agency.

He had written a grant that among other things utilized a mobile television van to create radio and television broadcasting material for the poverty program. It was one of only nine funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) throughout the United States in 1969.

The federally funded research and demonstration project received national media and congressional attention in 1970 when it demonstrated the feasibility of utilizing microwave transmission for mobile medical units in isolated rural areas.

The two years we worked together on that project were, perhaps, the most intense, significant, and influential work experience of my entire life. And, that is saying a great deal when considering the entirety of my professional experiences and accomplishments.

For a good ten years we continued to maintained our friendship, communicating on a regular bases, in spite of the fact, the paths of our lives and work took us in different directions.

Though we lost contact with one another during the 1980s and '90s while he was working abroad in South American, Africa, and the Far East, in recent years we have renewed our friendship, our mutual feelings of trust, affection, assistance, approval, and support.

Over the last year, Jack has authored a number of essays and articles for this Blog. Several days ago he emailed me the following:

Dee, this was 1969. Some of us have not forgotten the vision.

In some it died, and in too many it never lived – they don't seem to give a damn, determined to destroy idealism with fearful theology and racist-fueled hate.

Lest we forget, Dee.

Get Together | The Youngbloods

Love is but the song we sing,
And fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Know the dove is on the wing
And you need not know why

C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now

Some will come and some will go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moments sunlight
Fading in the grass

C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now

If you hear the song I sing,
You must understand
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It's there at your command

C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
Right now
Right now!

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