TRIBUTE TO A WEST VIRGINIAN

INTRODUCTION

Those of you who have read my hubs before may be surprised that I would write a tribute to the late Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia. It’s time to put politics aside and recognize the accomplishments of a fine West Virginian. Senator Byrd loved this state and all the West Virginians who live here.

HORATIO ALGER STORY

Robert C. Byrd lived the Horatio Alger story. It’s a rags to riches story only possible in America. The senator was born Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr. in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina on November 17, 1917. At one year of age his mother died in the worldwide flu pandemic. Following the wishes of his late wife, the senator’s father dispersed all their children among relatives to raise as their own. The senator was given to Titus and Vlurma Byrd, his uncle and aunt, who adopted him, renamed him Robert Carlyle Byrd, and raised him in the coal-mining region of southern West Virginia. From these humble beginnings the lion of the senate came into being.

MY PERSONAL MEMORIES

I first registered to vote on the day of my 21st birthday in 1967 (this was prior to the 26th Amendment to the Constitution). I registered as a Republican. Being a Republican in West Virginia is a lonely existence, but that’s another story. I hadn’t always agreed with Senator Byrd but I admired him as an advocate for the State of West Virginia. He loved the state and all West Virginians until the day of his death. I actually voted for him in his re-election in 1970, because I thought he displayed common sense. I admit he lost my vote during the Carter Administration when he defeated Teddy Kennedy for a Senate Leadership position and rammed The Panama Canal Treaty through the Senate against the wishes of West Virginians by over a 90% majority. However he was always a top-notch practitioner of constituent services. He helped me with my battle with the Social Security Administration even though I was a Republican, and he brought home the money for projects and jobs to West Virginia and that was his job as our Senator. Regardless of your political persuasion each and every soul would want a senator in these areas like Robert C. Byrd.

Even former Gov Arch A. Moore ,Jr. gave his tribute to Senator Byrd in the media yesterday.

Rest in Peace humble servant of West Virginia. May God rest your soul.

Comments 18 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Nice tribute.I haven't had much opinion of him one way or the other, but think we should respect those who serve their country even if we don't agree with them.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

Tom...you did the man proud with your tribute. As you say, regardless of your political orientation, you cannot argue with his service to his state and his constituents. He served at a time when West Virginia needed a lot to balance the coal mining industy of the state. I am sure he played a big role in bringing alternative business to the state over time. Thanks for a good hub! WB


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

dahoglund,

Thank you for your comment. I do respect the late senator regardless of our political differences.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

Wayne,

Thank you for your complimentary comment. Senator Byrd did help the people and industries of the state.


SusanP 6 years ago

Great tribute, Tom! Senator Byrd will be missed by his great State of West Virginia. It will be a long time before any persons will accomplish even half of what he did for the people of his beloved state. He brought public funding for recreation, education and the arts. He attracted industry. Because of him, the FBI Lab and other businesses are in WV, offering jobs.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

SusanP

You are quite correct. Although politicilly different, Senator Byrd is worthy of tribute!!!!!!!!!


Captain Jimmy profile image

Captain Jimmy 6 years ago from WV


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

Thank you Captain Jimmy


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Tom, The one thing you can say for certain is he loved West Virgina and he brought as much as he could to the state in the way of projects.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

Pamela,

That he did indeed!!

Thank you for your comment.


SheriSapp profile image

SheriSapp 6 years ago from West Virginia

It was nice to hear from someone that man actually helped. I saw Arch praising him on the news too. As i am younger, to me, Byrd was always a dinosaur that just wouldn't get out when he should have....long ago. You are a better person than I am.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

Sheri,

Don't judge yourself too harshly as he was past his prime. He did still help me in 2007 regardless of my politics.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

I applaud your ability to see beyond party lines and vote what's right, and WHO is right in your eyes heedless of the party line.

It's a tough call for me whether I see Byrd as the great man you do. But then again, I do not live in West Virginia, and have not been privvy to the benefit he may have provided to your state through his efforts as your Senator.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

Jim,

The last time I actually voted for him was 1970. I do respect his service and dedication to West Virginians.


ralwus 6 years ago

I flew my flag at half-staff out of respect and common courtesy but didn't much care for him. I did enjoy his fiddle playing though. I just don't much care for any politician who sticks around that long. He had his good qualities and it's nice that you paid him a good tribute. Kudos. Charlie


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

Thanks for you comment Charlie!!

I agree with your assessment he did stay in politics way too long!!!!!!! I just wanted to give him his due respect.


ralwus 6 years ago

Well Tom, he was deserving of it. That's why I flew my flag half way for a day.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV Author

Charlie, I agree wholeheartedly!!!!!!

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