Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo. (center), met with Larry and Donna Smith, and their daughter Heather Bennett, just hours before Donna testified before the House Judiciary committee. Senator Salazar applauded the Smiths for their advocacy and said he was "open" to the idea of universal health care.
Larry Smith stands between the pillars for South Dakota, the state the Smiths left behind when they lost all they owned, and Colorado, where they live now, at the World War II Memorial. Donna dedicated her Congressional testimony to three Americans, including her late father Howard Boyles who served in the U.S. Army in World War II. Larry's dad, Raymond Smith, also was a World War II vet.
Donna Smith spends a few moments pondering what some of the great American presidents have done to better this nation. She still believes what Lincoln said in his Gettysburg address and that its words ring true for the health care reform battle ahead, with Americans throughout the land rising up to protect what has been always at our core. The nation "shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth," Lincoln said. And we will not allow the powerful health care lobbies and special interests to strip us of our voices now.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) look on as Donna Smith prepares to speak at a press conference in Washington. Conyers called Smith to testify on the financial crisis hitting American families with large medical bills and debts. On the right is a representative of the California Nurses Association.
Larry and Donna Smith wait patiently in the House Judiciary hearing chambers for the chance for Donna to tell Congress about their story and why so many Americans are being ruined financially by health care issues. After Donna testified, she and Larry looked at each other and cried. The anger and the injustice had been communicated, and now their battle to secure guaranteed health care for every American begins anew.