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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources

IN MEMORY
a man, an era, a government, are mourned

In December 2003, another Tulelake Homesteader, Herb Schwarz,  passed away. 

Having spent time in WWII, Herb came to Tulelake to make a home for his family and to farm for the rest of his life.  It was a good life, but hard.  In 1947, with his wife Lorraine, they worked beside their neighbors to put together their homes and plant their crops on this undeveloped lake bed.

 


Herb Schwarz, Tulelake veteran homesteader

All of his neighbors who were able came to his memorial service.  In every homesteader's mind was the war.  The victory.  The drawing of veterans' names from a pickle jar for a homestead.  The excitement of coming to this land of plenty with fertile soil.  The toil to fix homes, get electricity, build roads, and schools, and an entire community. The children all grew up together. Their deeds were signed by their President of the United States promising land and water forever. Our government offered a chance to win a dream for those who had risked their lives for their country. These were the honored winners.

Yes, every comrade there remembered.

Love of their family, God, community and country was what drove their hearts and souls. And the wildlife; they love the wildlife!

But their pride in their service and toil is now mixed with confusion and fear. As quickly as they were denied irrigation water for their farms and refuges in 2001 because of something called the 'ESA', when they watched their crops and precious wildlife die, that unwavering trust in their government and joy in their golden years abruptly was shattered. They do laugh, but briefly. Their hearts are heavy.  Not even one will tell you that he is at peace. 

They fear for their spouses, whose land was their retirement.  They fear for their children whose lifestyle, inheritance, water and land are being taken away. Yet mostly they fear for their grandchildren and their country.  They know what happened to countries when people's property,  water, and freedom were taken from them. They saw the bondage and the starvation

Their brothers and sisters and fathers died for our freedom. So did many of their children on foreign soil.

But now they are old and they feel helpless.  They will tell you that the stress of this uncertainty is taking their health and their lives. They can no longer fight for freedom.  They can only pray. And they do pray like they never did before.

Yet, they still must have some flicker of hope that Mr. President, the Bureau of Reclamation who worked side by side with them to develop their irrigation, and their country, will see that this water theft will be stopped and right will prevail.  Because they still, even in death, wave their flags. And I know, I KNOW, that they are still are praying.
Thank you, Herb, for giving your life for our freedom and for feeding America. (and also for being a fine dad to my friends DeeDee, Jana, John and George). You did your best. May you now rest in peace. But please, please keep praying for America and our children.

KBC (jdk)


Go HERE for Schwarz's letters in 2001 to the Resource Committee.
 

 

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Page Updated: Sunday December 23, 2012 01:45 AM  Pacific


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