Guest Blogger

I'll be forever grateful

Filed By Guest Blogger | December 21, 2007 8:28 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, Politics
Tags: Congress, eulogy, friends with benefits, House of Representatives, Indiana, Indianapolis, Julia Carson, love, memorial, obituary

[EDITOR'S NOTE:] Congresswoman Julia Carson will lay in state today in the Indiana Statehouse rotunda. A memorial service will be held this evening and Governor Daniels will give the eulogy. I wanted to elevate this comment left on Ellen's post in honor of Congresswoman Carson to the front page. The author is Joe Miller, a prominent Indiana democrat and a friend to both Julia and several of our contributors.

CARSON.jpgIt's hard to believe Julia is no longer with us, and I will treasure my memories of her forever.

For me, Julia represented many things over many years. She was one of the very best friends our community has ever had in Congress, and she had long been one of the very best friends and supporters our community had ever had -- or ever will have -- in Indiana. I doubt we'd have passed the HRO in 2005 if Julia had not come to our rescue (Today, with a new Republican City-County Council and Mayor, had the HRO not passed back then, it could not happen now for several more years).

On a more personal level, Julia was a fun, energetic and compassionate friend. I remember her asking me to come to Washington to spend a week with her several years ago. She insisted I sleep in the bedroom of her one-bedroom apartment while she slept on the sofa each night. She was up every morning at 5AM and was busy on the phone when I got up each day. In her office she was a whirlwind of busy, and several times a day she took the block-long brisk walk over to the US Capitol building and climbed those many steep steps to cast votes through out the week.

I also remember one night ten years ago when Julia had come to my house downtown and we walked over to the Canal to the Jazz Fest. Walking around among the thousands of people along the Canal, Julia did not have a moment without someone coming up to her to say complimentary things to and about her. The passion in their eyes was amazing -- it seemed each one had a story to tell about some favor Julia had done for them or a family member, or a problem that Julia had solved for them. When it was over, she came back to my house and we were watching the news -- and together we saw the broadcast that Princess Diana had died that night. I was struck that night by what I saw as a similar depth of compassion by those who loved Diana and that of Julia's many fans.

I remember being in the Congressional dining room with Julia when she saw Barney Frank at a table with friends and asked me if I thought Barney would come to Indianapolis for a fundraiser for her and Stonewall Democrats. Before I could respond she marched right over to Barney and asked him, and he said yes -- and over the next few years Barney came here at least twice to help her campaign and to help raise money for Indiana Stonewall Democrats.

I remember sitting at my computer one Sunday afternoon and getting an email from Julia asking where I was. When I told her I was at home, she revealed she was sitting outside my window in her car. I was blown away by the fact that she had a Blackberry and was using it to send emails - which was all new to her. We went to eat together and she was like a kid with a new toy, excited by the technology.

And I remember being at Julia's house every election night to help celebrate her victories in her various runs for Congress since 1996.

And I'll forever be grateful that I was able to spend some private time with her, in that same house at her bedside two weeks ago, to say my goodbyes.

We may never see another public servant like Julia Carson in our lifetimes. As a community we owe her a great deal. I hope every Julia supporter who reads this will look around to see if you have any Julia Carson campaign signs in your basement or garage. If you do, please consider putting them out in your yard on Friday and Saturday. Let's show Julia -- and Indianapolis -- how much we love her!

If any public servant ever deserved a monument to their life-long service to their fellow citizens, Julia Carson is surly that person. I'm reminded of the response of Abraham Lincoln (a former Hoosier), who in 1864 was asked to contribute to a fund for a marble monument for his close friend and former House colleague, Owen Lovejoy of Illinois, who died in office.

Lincoln's reply was to make a contribution for the monument, and then he added this: "Let him have his marble monument; but his real monument is the love for him in the hearts of all who knew him."

The same certainly can be said of Julia. She is in my prayers.

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Thanks Joe! I remember interviewing you back in the early 90s for the Justice Inc newsletter.

Tonight's memorial service was beautiful.

Tonight's service was very nice, I will really miss Julia.

Linda Perdue Linda Perdue | December 22, 2007 6:26 PM

Thanks, Joe, for posting this. Suzannah and I took the grandgirls to the Statehouse yesterday. It was a perfect opportunity to talk about Julia, and give them another great female role model. This has been a very sad time for so many, whether you were close to her or admired her from a distance. She will be sorely missed by many.

Like the IndyGo buses have said for days, "Thanks, Julia."