Letter to the Editor

Udall's legacy

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dear Editor,

Nebraskans who have had a chance to visit the Redwood National Park in California, Canyonlands in Utah, North Cascades Park in Washington and the Appalachian Trail are impressed by their pristine condition. We can thank Stewart Udall for their preservation.

Stewart Lee Udall (1920-2010) of St. John's, Arizona, devoted more than 40 years to public service and protecting our natural environment.

His parents, Levi Stewart Udall, and Louise Lee Udall, were hard working farmers who taught their six children to respect the land. Stewart and his younger brother, Morris, were inseparable.

After finishing two years of college at the University of Arizona, Stewart enlisted in the Air Force during World War II. In 1948, he received his law degree and set up law practice in Tucson. He became increasingly active in public service.

By 1961-69, he was serving as Secretary of the Interior under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. For 30 years, Stewart and his brother, Morris, worked together on environment projects. They also improved the quality of life for Native Americans and African Americans. While Stewart was Secretary of the Interior, Morris was a member of the U.S. Congress.

Their legacy to our country was environmental reform-personified.

Upon his death at age 90, it was obvious that Stewart Udall had achieved many of his lifetime goals, including clean air, better water and quality and endangered species preservation.

One of Stewart Udall's last projects was an essay, "Letter to My Grandchildren," written with his wife, Ermalee. It asks for their grandchildren's help to protect the earth.

Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney would do well to study the Udall brothers' work on natural resources.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Nebraska

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