Joseph P. Hilko


Living in Patagonia most of my 64 years, I lived across the river from the former Westinghouse and Sawhill plants and the still operating Sharon Tube.

While recently sitting on my front porch, I heard something very disturbing — the sound of silence.

Growing up, I constantly heard the signs of life in these mills as the men and women working in them produced goods, many of them the finest in the world. Whistles blew at mealtimes and shift changes. Activity on the streets picked up with people going and coming to work either walking or driving.

Then there were the trains, seldom heard now, also an apparent victim of our new direction in the U.S.A. I remember the old steam locomotives belching dirty smoke from their boilers. That wouldn’t be a welcome sight today what with the clean air standards, but they sure were impressive when I was young, no matter how dirty!

At any rate, this sound of silence is deafening. We should think about all of the factories and the people that worked in them until their demise, and reflect on the question, “Is this good for me, my family and the country?”

Some people like major investors think so while the common worker is devastated. I travel a lot and this is happening everywhere, not just here.

We have to take some time from American Idol and other TV shows and look around. I think it’s too late!

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