I went to a large consolidated school in Appalachia. And I wrote the story when I was in the second grade and I took it up to the third floor to the school newspaper office that was written and edited by juniors and seniors.
Historians will come to their own judgments about President Kennedy. Here is how I choose to remember him. He was an heir to wealth who felt the anguish of the poor. He was an orator of excellence who spoke for the voiceless. He was a son of Harvard who reached out to the sons and daughters of Appalachia. He was a man of special grace who had a special care for the retarded and handicapped. He was a hero of war who fought hardest for peace. He said and proved in word and deed that one man can make a... Read more »
Because they [Americans] want to be thought of as a rich nation, they are very ashamed of this place [Appalachia] that has come to represent poverty, even though poverty exists all over the country, and exists as much in urban areas as it does in rural, if not more.
It's not enough to celebrate the ideals that we're built on, liberty and justice and equality for all. Those just can't be words on paper, the work of every generation is to make those words mean something, concrete in the lives of our children. And we won't get there as long as kids in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York or Appalachia or the Mississippi delta or the Pine Ridge reservation believe that their lives are somehow worthless.
If you go out on the Appalachian Trail, you have to bring so much more equipment - a tent, sleeping bag - but if you go hiking in England, or Europe, generally, towns and villages are near enough together at the end of the day you can always go to a nice little inn and have a hot bath and something to drink.
We can decide that the presence of cancer-causing substances in our air, water, and food is too expensive. A 2009 study, for example, has found that coal miners in Appalachia costs the region five times more in premature deaths, including from cancer, than it provides to the region in jobs, taxes, and economic benefits. In California, the production and use of hazardous chemicals cost the state $2.6 billion in 2004 alone in lost wages and health-care expenses to treat workers and children with pollution-linked diseases.