Bob'n'Along readers may recall that some time ago I included a poem titled "The New School Prayer," which was written by an unidentified teen-ager in Bagdad, Arizona. I recently received copies from Janet Elliott of Lost Creek and Bill Rollyson and S.M. Newbrough of Bridgeport, requesting that I use it again.
It would be my pleasure. It follows:
Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.
If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a federal matter now.
Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.
For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.
We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but first the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.
We can elect a pregnant senior queen,
And the "unwed daddy," our senior king.
It's "inappropriate" to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such "judgments" do not belong.
We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.
It's scary here, I must confess,
When chaos reigns, the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot, my soul please take!
- - -
Robert "Bob" Moore of 401 E. Main St., Bridgeport, has called today "Being Irish Labor Day." He offered a brief tribute to Michael J. "Mike" Leonard, 1863-1946, who was a member of Local Union No. 1493, United Mine Workers of America.
Mr. Moore lent me a photograph that showed a ribbon that Leonard had received for his service and a certificate of appreciation for Leonard. It was dated April 1, 1898, Gallitzen, Pa.
It reads as follows:
"'Mike,' 25 years old, successfully helped get the 8 hour work day with his Union in Pennsylvania who later came to Clarksburg, West Virginia.
"Whenever there was trouble at the mines the law enforcement of Harrison County would go to Mike's home late at night, take him out of bed, and arrest him."
The document was donated by his grandson, Bernard C. Pratt of San Angelo, Texas.
Bob Moore made the following observations:
"The 'Black Hands' played a part in helping to unionize the coalfields. Conditions for the miners and their families were bad. The miners worked 60 hours a week, but in 1916, their hours were cut to 52.
"Mike lost a 20-year-old granddaughter, Barbara Dale Leonard, to scarlet fever.
"From 1920-23, Clarksburg was witness to seven murders of the Black Hands. Four of the 13 (convicted men) were hanged in Moundsville, with one life sentence handed down.
"Mike Leonard, being Irish, was fortunate enough to be reared with several children, some who were in business."
Moore pointed out that Bernard Pratt, who donated the award certificate for his grandfather Mike, was the son of "Madge," who built and owned the Shamrock Club.
Moore concluded, "This Labor Day (the certificate) is now in the Miners Museum, located along I-79 between Morgantown and Waynesburg, Pa."