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Helms served honorably, deserves this simple honor

From John Dodd, president of the Jesse Helms Center in Wingate:

U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms was laid to rest in early July of 2008. His mourners, representing every race, many nations, the famous and the unnoticed, were great representatives of the people Sen. Helms served with distinction through five terms, the most of any elected U.S. senator in N.C. history.

Sen. Helms’ record of aid to all Carolinians of every creed and color is legendary. His constituent service to citizens seeking help with the federal bureaucracy was so well known that citizens from every state in the union turned to Jesse Helms when their own officials couldn’t or wouldn’t help.

Sen. Helms believed in American values like neighbors helping neighbors. He was a child of the Depression, accustomed to seeing his parents offer a meal to a passing stranger or help a neighbor through a crisis. He was convinced that big government was bloated government. Politically, he was a conservative’s conservative.

Many of his political opponents hated him (with numerous notable exceptions such as Vice President Joe Biden), and some still do. They seem to be so afraid of the power of conservatism that they jump at every opportunity to toss old dirt on a man who clearly deserves the simple honor of being the first Republican official in North Carolina to be remembered with the naming of a federal building. Ironically, it was Sen. Helms who graciously co-sponsored the effort to afford this same ceremonial honor to Democrats like Terry Sanford.

Sen. Helms started his career as a newspaperman and retired before the age of the Internet, with its instantaneous spread of rumors and lies disguised as facts. He held on to a belief in ultimate fairness that he shared in a personal letter to Coretta Scott King on April 8, 1986. “I am myself a public figure whose ‘image’ has been remade by the media and others, as you put it, ‘according to their own biased agenda.’ No doubt this will continue after my death when public papers relating to my life and career will be subject to public scrutiny…”

The Jesse Helms Center will continue with pride to promote the principles that governed Sen. Helms’ life and present the facts about his record to fair-minded citizens, much of which can be found at www.jessehelms.com. We are confident that such citizens of all political persuasions will concur that this simple honor is justified.

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