Monday, May 26, 2008

McCracken for Congress -- Remembering Those Who Served -- Memorial Day Weekend 2008

While Memorial Day weekend is recognized as the unofficial start of the summer season with the first family picnics and backyard barbeques, we must take time to remember the true meaning of the Memorial Day holiday. First and foremost, Memorial Day is to remember and honor those who accepted the call into military service to protect our country. I always take a few moments while visiting local cemeteries on Memorial Day weekend to notice the flags marking the graves of deceased veterans.

This year, at Calvary Cemetery in Clearfield, there is a flag in place for the first time marking the grave of my recently deceased father, a World War II veteran. My father was always proud of being a World War II veteran and the sad fact is the number of World War II vets is dwindling with each passing year. They were called the "Greatest Generation" for their efforts to win the war against two powerful enemies on two different fronts. Then, they came home and became the working force behind a strong economy, the expansion of our national infrastructure and they were the parents of the baby boom generation.

Back in the days following World War II, our nation and our leaders recognized the debt owed to the brave men and women who served during World War II. Our government provided for their return to civilian life with the GI Bill to provide funding for education and financial assistance to purchase homes.

It was encouraging this past Thursday when the US Senate overwhelmingly passed the 21st Century post-9/11 GI Bill that was proposed by Virginia Senator Jim Webb. The post-9/11 GI Bill passed the house the proceeding week and will provide veterans of the War in Iraq and Afghanistan with the opportunity for comprehensive educational benefits when they return home. This was the right thing to do for our service men and woman and I congratulate Senator Webb and his colleagues for taking action on this important legislation.

Blossburg Coal Festival: On Saturday, Kelly, Amanda and I traveled to Tioga County for the annual Blossburg Coal Festival. We took part in the parade through Blossburg on Saturday morning. The plan was for Kelly and Amanda to ride in our vehicle with the "McCracken for Congress" signs on display while I walked tossing candy. When it was time for the parade to start, Amanda announced that she wanted to walk the parade route with me and help toss the candy. I wasn't sure how far her 5 year old legs would take her but I figured if she got tired I would put her in the car. Well, Amanda must have a future in politics because she walked the whole parade route and had a smile on her face the entire time.

After the parade, we stayed at the festival for several hours where I worked at the Tioga County Democratic Party booth while Kelly and Amanda enjoyed the food, games and rides. While was standing at the booth, I spoke with a number of people about many issues of concern in Tioga County.

Not surprisingly, people wanted to talk about the price of gas, the rising price of food and the war in Iraq. I also was asked where I stood on Second Amendment rights and my support for alternative fuels including corn based ethanol. The overwhelming majority of the people I spoke with were in agreement with the opinions and ideas I shared with them. Tioga County is a wonderful place and the people there are very interested in our campaign. I look forward to many more trips to Tioga County during the coming months of the campaign.

In closing, Kelly, Amanda and I wish everyone a safe and fun filled Memorial Day weekend.

Mark B. McCracken
Your Candidate For Congress

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