To the Editor:
I feel there is a need to let our fellow Hoosiers know about the despicable acts that occurred this past Saturday during the graduation ceremony of Morton Memorial High School located on the grounds of the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home -- and the loving acts of a community who has supported the Home for decades.
When I arrived on the campus shortly before 9 a.m. on Saturday, I encountered State Police officers posted on each side of the doors of the chapel. I was taken aback, but after a moment accepted their presence and actually felt sorry for them. There were more inside. I can confirm four officers, although I have heard there were seven on grounds.
This was a day of celebration! We had 18 young people who were receiving their diplomas; this was their time to shine. Anyone in attendance will tell you that audiences at our graduation ceremonies are far more respectful of all who are being recognized than even those who attend ceremonies of people who are receiving their masters or doctorate degrees.
Those who are determined to close our home obviously have no idea what kind of people the home has produced or the caliber of the people who support it.
They had the state police on standby when they made the closure announcement on Jan. 6. They were not needed.
When we staged our first rally at the Capitol on Jan. 26 the state police were in abundance. Again, no need! While we undoubtedly have a strong passion with regard to our home and the way this whole mess has been handled, we were taught respect for our home, our country and each other.
Those values have held us in good stead. This display of force was an insult to all in attendance, but especially to the 18 who worked through some very difficult circumstances to earn their diplomas.
Across the road, another unbelievable event was happening. A herd of 30 cattle were being loaded into trailers and transported to the Knightstown Sale Barns for auction. Three of the graduates had been involved in the farm/4-H program. They knew this was going on while they were receiving their diplomas.
One of the donors to the program attempted to reach several people at the state level with the hope of being able to stop the sale.
They were too late.
Four of the cattle going to auction were being worked with in preparation for the Rush County 4-H fair by children in the lower grade levels. When the Rush County community learned of the fate of these cattle they banded together, raising enough money to purchase back the four. A barn, hay and feed to care for them have also been provided.
Is there no code of honor among our elected officials and their appointees? Do they honestly believe that they can disassemble our home to such a degree that when we win our fight to keep the home open there will be nothing left to work with?
Did they believe we would buy their sale of goods this past Tuesday with regard to the Indiana Youth ChalleNGe program? Yes, this program serves at risk youth and has a military connection through the Indiana National Guard. And it is an honorable program from what information we have been able to gather. We have no desire to "fight" Maj. General Umbarger and his program. It may even be possible for both groups to utilize the home.
We will continue our honorable fight for all the right reasons: Ninety-six of them as of last count with at least an additional 138 waiting for an opportunity to experience a community where love, loyalty and hope abound.
Diana Bossingham, President
ISSCH Alumni Association