On Monday I’ll be giving another Memorial Day speech. Actually, I’ll be giving the same speech three times, in cemeteries at Gilby, N.D., Honeyford, N.D., and Ness Lutheran Church near Mekinock, N.D. Veterans from these communities are members of the Gilby American Legion post.
North Dakota’s person-of-the-winter was in Grand Forks on Thursday. Hamid Shirvani was the keynote speaker at the Economic Development Commission’s annual meeting. Shirvani is chancellor of the North Dakota University System.
In an earlier controversy, the board bowed to pressure from the president of North Dakota State University and fired its own chancellor. In this instance, the board seems intent on deferring to a strong chancellor, even it means breaking the law. What’s needed is a stronger board.
In Washington, D.C., last week, I popped into the National Portrait Gallery, one my favorite indoor places. I was there to apologize to James Monroe. I left Monroe off my Top 10 list of U.S. presidents who’ve had an impact on North Dakota. I stopped by the portrait of Chester Allen Arthur, too.
It’s not difficult to name the U.S. presidents whose policies have had the most direct impact on North Dakota. They are Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. A handful of others had major influence, too — but it’s harder to round out the Top 10.
The beginning of another year is supposed to be an optimistic time, but optimism is hard to muster this New Year. The news of the last month has been unbearable sad and unbelievably frustrating. Nor do the portents bode well.
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