Seniors offer their insights on important events, people


January 03, 2000|By Douglas Lamborne | Douglas Lamborne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE PONTIFICATORS and pundits have paraded their lists of the Most Important Person and the Most Significant Event of the Century. But who, and what, do regular, down-to-earth folks have on their lists?

We checked with members of the Annapolis Commission on Aging. Several of them can recall a big portion of the century with some personal intimacy. Others bring a perspective rooted in something you sometimes don't find with pontificators and pundits -- good, old-fashioned common sense.

Judith Branham: "I choose the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for his nonviolent approach to civil rights for all people around the world. I choose the March on Washington [in 1963] because it brought many groups together in a peaceful, almost spiritual, approach to correcting many of man's inequities to his fellow men."

Mary Brown: "My person would be Rosa Parks because she ignited a movement not only in the United States, but into other countries as well. My event would be Susan B. Anthony and Mary McLeod Bethune marching together in Washington for human rights and for women's issues."

Mary Brummell: "Eleanor Roosevelt. She was born into privilege but fought against racism and injustice. Nothing seemed to faze her. To her, each person was somebody. As for the biggest event, that would be landing on the moon. I'm still in awe of that; I can't see anything that's close."

Commission chairman James "Hank" Heggins: "My nominee for the most important person of the century is Mahatma Gandhi. I considered M. L. King Jr. because of his nonviolent protests, but opted for Gandhi because he started it all. Had it not been for the nonviolent protest movement, we would still have communism, minorities and women as second-class citizens, apartheid in South Africa.

"The most important event to me was the development of the silicon chip and the ability to store mass amounts of information on it. Without it: No walk on the moon, most surgery would still be painful and risky, and we would still have to go to the bank for money. Plus look at all the hype Y2K has brought to the close of the century."

Clara McClure: "As a black person, I feel that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was able to accomplish so much for black people before his assassination. Putting a man on the moon was the greatest event of my lifetime. We got there before the Russians did."

And a personal two cents' worth: The greatest occurrence of the century was the assassination in 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip. It set off a chain reaction of events that dominated the century: World War I, the Russian Revolution, World War II, the Cold War. And one man was involved in all those developments: Winston Churchill.

`Click Here'

Anne Arundel County Public Library is offering "Click Here," a free Internet training program for seniors. It starts Jan. 12 at the Annapolis area library (410-222-1750), Feb. 2 at the Crofton branch (410-222-7915) and Feb. 22 at the North County branch in Glen Burnie (410-222-6270).

Many seniors, like Hank Heggins, are deeply involved in computers. Heggins builds and restores computers in his garage and gives them to his church or to young members of his family. The "Click Here" classes are designed for those with varying degrees of Internet experience, from basic use of a mouse to sophisticated browsing on the Web. Registration is required.

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