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whoisalhedges's Journal
Posted by whoisalhedges in Wisconsin
Wed Jul 12th 2006, 08:59 AM
I mean, other than the kids whose grandparents made them come.

Frank Paul Zeidler was mayor of Milwaukee from 1948 to 1960, well before I was born. Two hours I spent yesterday in line at the funeral home for his visitation. Can't remember the last time I spent two hours in line and didn't get to ride a roller coaster afterward. Everyone was talking, remembering the mayor.

I didn't remember him. Not personally. I only knew him from his legacy: what he wrote, what he said, what he did. I knew the man from words and images, many more of which were forthcoming in the rooms of Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral and Cremation Services. Stories, too numerous to count, of when mourners served on committees with Frank, when they went to school with his kids, when they campaigned with him for a more just world. And pictures lining the queue -- Frank and Agnes, around the time they were married; Frank, Carl, and Dorothy at their home as children; election night, 1948 -- and, most memorably for me: Frank with Joe Rody, a local organizer and activist who passed away last year, and with whom I had the pleasure of working on the Kucinich campaign back in 2003.

Finally, I reached the end of the stories, the end of the pictures. Lined up by the casket were the mayor's children and his wife of 67 years. I expressed my condolences to Agnes Zeidler before heading back out into the not-exactly-July-like cool rain that had decided to mark the occasion.

"What was your relation to Frank?"

"I'm a citizen."

"I hope he'll be remembered for a long time."

"I know he will be."

A long time ago, some B-list actor wrote "the evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones." That must not be the case here. It is incumbent upon the people of Milwaukee to be Frank Zeidler's legacy, the face by which the world knows our former mayor. He was more than just the last Socialist mayor of a major American city; he was an historian, a living link to our past, he was a true role model.

His ideology was simple: act out of love and respect for your fellow human beings. That is how he governed, that is how he lived.

Requiscat in pace, Mayor Zeidler. We will miss you. We will remember you.
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