A few weeks ago Bob Terrell came to my office to give me an article I had written in 1995. He had saved it along with a copy of a letter he had written to me while he was living in Oklahoma City.
The article I had written was about the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City which killed many children and adults.
I had visited that site a couple of years ago and we talked about the memorial that is located on the grounds where the building stood.
Bob said he had run across my column while going through items he had saved and he wanted me to have it.
That was the last time Bob visited me in my office. He passed away Monday and with his passing I want to share with you parts of the letter he wrote to me. It will give you a better insight in the kind of person he was.
He started by complimenting me. “I want to commend you for your editorial in the April 26 issue. It takes courage to speak out against hate and violence. Our rights to express our opinions and debate issues must be done responsibly.
“In a democracy, we won’t always get our way on every issue. As a nation in which all of us have the right to vote and be involved, we cannot resort to violence to vent our frustration.
“Our nation is made up of many diverse groups, all created by the same God. Most of the citizens of this nation have an enormous capacity for compassion, and are willing to sacrifice to help others. Those of us who respect law and order, and appreciate the freedom and rights we enjoy in our country, cannot sit quietly by while the prophets of hate and violence scream out their lies and paranoid propaganda. “They have a right to speak out, but they do not have the right to kill and injure their fellow citizens.”
He went on to write, “Words of hatred are not the way to debate issues. Tolerance, empathy and compassion must be shown to those who are different from us in culture, religion and race–that is the Christian way we treat others.”
I am so glad Bob brought this to me. His cautioning of hate and violence is even more prevalent today than ever. He often expressed his opinions and his words of wisdom is so true in that it “must be done responsibily”.
In the past Bob and I had shared many good moments. We worked on many projects and I know for sure that he loved Corbin and wanted the best for the town and it’s citizens.
I especially admired how Bob always remembered those he went to school with and the way he labored to recognize their accomplishments.
Bob worked for what he thought was right. He and I didn’t always share the same opinion, but more importantly we respected each other’s ideas. He will be missed.