We the people

Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Published July 22, 2007

His pace is much slower now at age 86. His body is weaker from heart disease. But the old man's memories are clear.

Just ask.

He'll gladly tell you that he was born to a poor family just outside Greenway, Ark. He lived on farms in Missouri and Michigan and experienced the Great Depression. He carried his shoes, walking about 4 miles to school barefoot. He only got one pair a year, so he wanted to make them last.

As a young man, he flew bombing missions in World War II, then commercial routes for TWA around the world to Paris, Rome, Athens, Bombay, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

He met his wife in an airplane bathroom. She was fixing her hair when he accidentally barged in. They fell in love, settled in Temple Terrace and raised a family. They were married for 30 beautiful years before she passed away in 2005.

Delbert Jackson lives alone now. LifePath Hospice and Palliative Care looks after him, along with a few neighbors and friends. Unlike Terri Schiavo, whose wishes were never truly known, he has a living will that protects his wish to die comfortably and naturally at home, away from state government debate and public scrutiny.

"I'm at peace," Jackson said. "I don't want to be kept alive in a vegetative state. If there's no hope for me, then let me go." He added, "I don't believe in suicide. My Lord and I have a very private pact. I won't do it myself. I'll wait for him."


"We the people" is a periodic photo column exploring our constitutional rights in everyday action by Times staff photographer Chris Zuppa. He can be reached at czuppa@sptimes.com.