United Way has help for returnees
U.S. military personnel arriving home from the Persian Gulf with troubles packed in their old kit bags will find help on duty at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
The United Way of Central Maryland has set up a booth at BWI to assist returning military men and womenand their families with such issues as transportation, employment counseling and placement, money and temporary shelter.
"We don't know how many of our troops will need help once they arrive in the United States, but we intend to be there for them if they do," said Norman Taylor, president of the United Way of Central Maryland.
The booth, which opened Sunday, is on BWI's main concourse near Piers C and D. It will be staffed during operating hours by volunteers from People Aiding Travelers and the Homeless, a United Way Agency.
The United Way has also established a telephone service -- (301) 685-3569 -- for troops seeking additional human services.
Also, Maryland families waiting for their loved ones to return from the Persian Gulf region can call First Call for Help, a 24-hour service, for referrals to agencies offering counseling, financial support, legal aid, parenting assistance, employment and career guidance. The number from the Baltimore area is (301) 685-0525. From elsewhere in Maryland, call 1-800-492-0618.
ARRESTS AT PENTAGON
Anti-war activists said they briefly blocked an entrance road to the Pentagon with rubble today to symbolize "the rubble of Baghdad."
Max Obuszewski, a staff member of the American Friends Service Committee, said Pentagon authorities arrested nine people, including two from Baltimore, Elizabeth McAlister and Brian Barrett. They were handcuffed but later released without being charged, he said. Twenty people staged the protest under the aegis of the Atlantic Life Community, which he described as an umbrella group of East Coast resistance organizations.
However, a Pentagon spokeswoman said no arrests were made. She described the event differently: "Two people drove up to the Pentagon in dump trucks; each dumped a load of dirt on the flagpole and sped off."
Obuszewski offered to supply photographs and a videotape to substantiate the activists' version of what occurred. He said protesters dumped two truckloads of rubble on Boundary Channel Drive, a road leading into the Pentagon parking lot, and handed out leaflets. "Today we bring the symbolic rubble of Baghdad to where it belongs," the literature said, and "[we ] come to the Pentagon in a spirit of remembrance."
"The point that some of us would argue is that the war is not really over," Obuszewski said, asserting that Iraqi children are dying for want of proper care.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., is working to win an income tax break for U.S. merchant seamen who helped keep Operation Desert Storm supplied by sea.
Mikulski has introduced legislation that would exempt civilian sailors from income taxes on up to $2,000 a month of income earned in the combat zone.
Pay earned in combat zones by enlisted soldiers is already exempt up to $2,000, Mikulski said, and legislation to exempt officers as well has been introduced in the Senate.
"We saw what happened to the Iraqi soldiers when their supply lines were cut," she said. "The merchant marines were risking their lives to keep our men and women in the desert supplied. They did a great job for America, and they did it under the American flag."
"Too often the bravery and heroism of the merchant marines is forgotten or ignored. They don't get ribbons, and they don't get parades. This bill says they do get our heartfelt thanks."
If you know of an interesting story about how the war is affecting life on the home front, please call 332-6478.
PERSIAN GULF SHOWDOWN
Frank D. Roylance and John Fairhall contributed to this story.