A rose in remembrance of 9/11 and the days that followed the tragic events of the day. Twenty years ago today America woke — if it slept at all — and began the process of rising from the rubble, literally in New York and D.C., and figuratively across the rest of our nation. Through our grief came an unity of purpose and spirit that we so desperately need today. The challenges we faced then are different from those we face now, but there can be little doubt that we would greatly benefit from the prevailing spirit that emerged in the aftermath of that great tragedy 20 years ago. How do we achieve that? Perhaps, as President Obama noted on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, “Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
A rose to Columbus Mayor Keith Gaskin for his efforts in bringing the mayors of the Golden Triangle together to discuss common issues and opportunities. While Gaskin’s first mayor’s summit last week was not attended by all of the mayors, we believe it represents the start of what we hope will be meetings attended by all of our area mayors. While there is competition among our cities and towns in some areas, there are far more topics that are of regional interest best addressed by the combined efforts of our communities. These meetings will give our mayors a chance to share ideas, brainstorm solutions and share best practices. The meetings may also serve to encourage collaboration on things that are regional in nature.
A rose to the Starkville Board of Aldermen, which on Tuesday voted 5-2 to approve a COVID-19 vaccine policy for city employees. It specifies that all unvaccinated employees must wear masks in all indoor locations unless in a private office and in outdoor settings where six feet distance from other employees is not possible. Unvaccinated employees must also use sick leave if they contract the virus and will have a yearly $75 upcharge on insurance based on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 policy. Non-compliance with these policy procedures can result in termination. Some residents, including some city employees, opposed the board’s policy arguing that the decision on whether or not to be vaccinated is a personal choice. Yet we know of no right enshrined in the Constitution or any other law-making entity that protects the right to jeopardize the safety of others. As the saying goes, the right to swing your fist ends at the other fellow’s nose. The policy is reasonable and fair.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.