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The musical depicts a real period in the 1800s when freed and escaped Black people worked and lived with Irish immigrants. Then in 1863, a federal law drafted white men unless they could buy their way out of service for $300, what was then a year’s wage for laborers. The Five Points immigrants, too poor to escape the draft, turned their anger on Black people, who were prohibited from serving their country. Black people were murdered and their homes and businesses burned in what became known as the Civil War draft riots.

Republican U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood and Democratic U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth introduced bills to designate New Philadelphia as a national historical park. If the legislation passes, the National Park Service will manage New Philadelphia with federal money. Visitors will bring much needed tourist dollars to the area.

The foundation I lead, RRF Foundation for Aging, includes caregiving among our key priorities. In this nation, there is an estimated 53 million unpaid family caregivers. Think about it: 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. provide critically needed and unpaid help to those who can no longer live independently. Rosenberger’s words resonate in homes where unpaid care worth nearly half a trillion dollars is provided each year.

That is an economic contribution larger than all government outlays for institutions and community-based long-terms services and support combined. This makes family caregivers the nation’s largest health care workforce. Add to that amount the family care so lovingly given to children and younger adults.

Why do so many people take on this enormous burden? It certainly speaks to the best of who we are as a people. When asked, many simply say it is what you do for a loved one. For others, it is part of their culture or perhaps an obligation rooted in faith. Some simply see no other option. It’s certainly not for the money. Family caregivers spend, on average, nearly $5,700 a year out of their own pockets to meet the needs of older family members.

This content was originally published here.

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