a man, an era, a government, are mourned
|In December 2003, another Tulelake Homesteader, Herb Schwarz, passed
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.
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.
Go HERE for Schwarz's
letters in 2001 to the Resource Committee.