Today on Word Patriots we explore the full measure of what this show’s title stands for: the patriotism of those who have come before us, and whose creative acts, and acts of sacrifice and service, have vouchsafed us the promise which is our legacy; and the words which we, the living, use to create an ever-renewing vision of our nation and of our world, whether those words be used in the form of poetry, novels, conversation, declaration, or legislation. The word is an act. And a defense of the word is the defense of freedom. Joining us today is a man whose own sense of patriotism has led him into a life of service, and who presently serves as the representative for the 77th legislative district in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives: H. Scott Conklin. The 77th district comprises a wide swath of central Pennsylvania, and includes, at its most urban segment, Penn State University; and at one of its most rural sections, the little town of Philipsburg, Scott’s hometown as it is mine. Scott serves on many Committees in Harrisburg. Perhaps most importantly to us Word Patriots, he sits on the Committee for Education and is an advocate for both literacy and public education. He was instrumental in securing a literacy grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, obtaining over four hundred thousand dollars for adult basic education programs which will bring to many the gift of being able to read. Today Scott and I speak about the gift and the responsibility of literacy, the lateral thinking that the arts foster, and the place of the fine arts, and creative writing in particular, in developing the critical insights and imaginative leaps that citizens of the twenty-first century will need in a society of creative enquiry and economic progress.