Thumbs up: To passing on knowledge gleaned from hardship. The DeKalb Fire Department decided to forgo its usual 9/11 prayer service on the anniversary of America’s most devastating terrorist attack. Instead, the department held an educational presentation on the attack and its impact on the nation’s first responders.
The department’s youngest firefighters were in elementary school when the attack happened. As years go on, memories become less sharp, and in a few more years there will be adults who don’t remember 2001 at all. Events like this ensure that what happened that day is not forgotten.
Thumbs down: To falling enrollment at Northern Illinois University, and at universities around Illinois. This week, NIU reported that its total enrollment had fallen for the fourth consecutive year since 2009, this year coming in at 21,138. The trend was similar at other state universities including Western Illinois, Southern Illinois and Eastern Illinois.
Rising tuition costs combined with declining state funding might be partly to blame for making college education more expensive than some students can afford.
Nationally, our country benefits from a more educated workforce, and locally, NIU is a major economic driver. We hope that an improving economy can help reverse the trend in the years ahead.
Thumbs up: To Illinois servicemen who made what could be the last deployment of Illinois National Guard troops to Afghanistan this week.
On Tuesday, a group of 16 troops from the Illinois Guard were sent off with a ceremony Tuesday in Bloomington. The group, which included a schoolteacher from LaGrange and a new father from Batavia, will serve in Afghanistan alongside Polish troops. They will train in New Jersey and Poland before spending six months in Afghanistan.
We wish for their safe return as well as that of all the troops currently serving there as the conflict winds down.
Thumbs up: To the organizers of another successful DeKalb Kite Fest. The weather was perfect for this year’s event – the eighth annual – held at the northern edge Northern Illinois University’s campus.
Thousands of children, parents and grandparents had their eyes on the sky, which was speckled with colorful kites flown by professionals and amateurs alike. This is a great family-friendly event that many look forward to. Keep up the good work!