Which God or gods, or where or when,
He spoke, or they, their words again?
What matters:"Does the good remain?"
Do labels: Moslem, Christian, Jew
Make any difference? All are true
To those who believe. The will to do;
That tells the tale the whole world through.
The heart is where the truth begins;
Where faith that conquers hate and wins
Against all odds. What more to ask
Than being partners in that task?
The wisdom of the past is here.
Its message comes both loud and clear:
"True brotherhood is for all men,
To state that truth with tongue and pen."
The One or Ones who hold the sky,
Who live on earth, who reign on high;
Do they care whether black or white,
if in our souls, or hearts are right?
'Tis love of self and neighbor, too,
That tells the story, straight and true.
The labels, Moslem, Christian, Jew,
Mean naught unless God's work we do.
John W. Fitzgerald. Ed. D (ret.)
Chaplain (Major) Utah N.G. (ret.)
19 July 1976
John Fitzgerald was a friend and mentor of mine. He spent an hour every day of his retirement writing at least one poem about the things that were the closest to him. Love, family, friends and the world's inhabitants.
He passed in late 1998 at the age of 95. His outspoken love of fellow man regardless of skin color or ethnic sculpturing cost him his membership in the Mormon Church when he attempted to reason with authority within the racist regime.
I attended his funeral services in a commercial wedding chapel in South Salt lake City because he was shunned from hundreds of LDS chapels at death by the church he had attempted to reason with.
I stood at the microphone left open after a closing prayer and a ceremony which attempted to whitewash away the greatness of that man.
hero", I said, " is a man who does something that needs to be
done; at a time when it needs to be done; that no one else will do.
John I salute you! You are my hero!"
I added, " For those present who know what I reference, I need say nothing more"
Leaving the podium I was spun around and cursed for being present at what had been advertised as an open service honoring the man for the greatness of his life and the goodness he had shed as a life time educator along the Wasatch Front of Utah.
So even in death, before his remains had been interred, he was insulted by the ignorance of his own family who had placed his body in a white Panama suit to emulate the white burial trappings of a Mormon Elder which his excommunication for intellectual Integrity deprived him of.
I ran across John's poem today while reminiscing the things he and I shared over 30 years ago.
I weigh the wisdom in that poem as against the lack of long term wisdom on the part of President Obama in deciding to make a surge in the war in Afghanistan.
Continuing the eight year old war with more troops, munitions and tactical weapons flies completely in the face the God we mouth a belief in.
The Reagan concept of maintaining peace through strength AKA intimidation, is completely the opposite of what is needed. Peace comes only by way of negotiation, adjustment and compromise.
This is a lesson Barack Obama and his tiered advisers have never had.
The John W. Fitzgerald papers were donated to Utah State University Libraries and can be scanned here: