Monday, July 2, 2012

Wisconsin = Ludlow. Lest We Forget

On June 6, 2012 it was confirmed that Scott Walker had prevailed in Wisconsin and all the headlines asked if Unions were dead.  I went to my garage to pull this letter out and was so saddened that I couldn't find it.  Today, while looking for something else I found it with other significant papers.  This letter was written by my dear, deceased friend who was my inspiration and moral compass.

November 20, 1993

Dear Andy:

(Late September, Southern Colorado)

I had been driving under stormy skies.  Fat raindrops splotted like eggs on the windshield, but only occasionally.

Heading south on Highway 25, I passed a small green sign that said ‘Ludlow Site’ and pointed off to the west toward dark, pine-covered hills.  Turning onto the dirt road, I remembered the name from the song Ludlow Massacre, only I’d never heard Woody Guthrie do it.  The first time I’d heard it was on the Prosperous album.

When I arrived, I was alone.  An old windmill was screaming on its hinges in the wind, and a ceiling of steel grey clouds was moving down across the hills from the west.  More fat raindrops fell.

I walked around outside the iron gate looking in at the monument and at the door to the cellar where the women and children had been.

Ludlow was where one of the most significant events in US history occurred; what happened there became the catalyst for labor union sympathy in this country and we don’t even learn about it in school. (They rarely teach Vietnam here either).  The reason I was there at all was because of the singing of an Irishman.  Perhaps all nations deny their terrible pasts and leave it to foreigners (or the victims) to tell the stories.

Looking through the register at names and comments from all over, the rain started falling (it really did….)  I turned a page and saw:

Andy Irvine
Dublin, Ireland
-lest we forget-

I’ve lived and travelled around the Southwest for years and have found that that country is full of surprises.  It felt like irony and coincidence had come together at that moment, and I’ll never forget it.

I just had to tell you that.....