The Merchant Marine Also Served
Editor: We can never repay the dedication, selfless efforts and professional expertise of our men and women of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf and to their support personnel everywhere else. They have a special place in our hearts and prayers, and deservedly so.
But we seem to be, once again, ignoring the critical contribution of our men and women of the U.S. merchant marine.
Unarmed, like sitting ducks, they dodge the same mines, sail under the same dangers of missiles and bomb attack and make the same personal sacrifices of months away from home and family to fulfill their role of getting the tanks, oil, weapons, helicopters, etc., to the scene of the conflict.
Without this support by sea, there would be no hope of victory in war. Planes can carry just so much men and ordnance; the rest must come by sea.
Foreign-flag ships by appreciable numbers are refusing to sail into danger areas for a variety of reasons. So our maritime men and women had to do their best aboard many old "moth ball" buckets, brave the wild sea and get the goods to their brothers and sisters in arms in the desert in time to keep the heat on Iraq.
It is estimated that more than three fourths of the ordinance and equipment delivered over the months has gone by sea.
Possibly, at last, the United States will recognize the critical role of its American-flag maritime fleet and keep it on a par with those of other world nations.
To the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. (yes, there is a fifth service academy), and to our state maritime schools located in places like Maine, Massachusetts and Texas A&M, and to our maritime union schools, go our salute and humble appreciation for their contribution to America's strength and safety in eloquently preparing our men and women of the maritime service.
!Earl Paul Schubert Sr.
Editor: Last December I wrote The Sun about the disastrous cuts which Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer proposed to make in state medical programs for the disabled. He has since sent me a reply in which he alleged that I was ''uninformed'' and that my correspondence was a ''stupid'' letter.
After some deliberation, I decided that the best way to answer Mr. Schaefer was to ask him for a job, albeit an unpaid one. I am willing to donate my spare time to fill any unfunded state position which benefits the disabled citizens of Washington County. Furthermore, I am willing to ''do it now.''
Edward B. Grebenstein, Jr.
The writer is a member of the Western Maryland Coalition for the Disabled.
Editor: Arguing against an increase in state taxes, Sen. James C. Simpson, (D-Charles), may have uttered the most foolish remark to come out of this year's General Assembly session when he said: ''I do not think a recession is the time to take money out of the marketplace.''
Sen. Simpson seems to be operating under the delusion that any new tax dollars would be stashed under Gov. William Donald Schaefer's mattress, when in fact they would be used to build new schools and to repair the state's roads and bridges. This would create new jobs in the private sector which is always eager to bid on new state projects. This hardly amounts to ''taking money out of the marketplace.'' Rather, such spending would pump up the state's economy by putting income into the pockets of working people who would be able to buy more cars and qualify for more home mortgages and would benefit the state by making it a more hospitable environment for new business investment.
In short, public works projects are the single best means of protecting incomes during a recession, and Sen. Simpson, veteran legislator that he is, should know it.
Editor: The Sun's editorial was right on the mark in accusing the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee of abrogating its responsibility in voting down the ban on rapid-fire assault weapons and the requirement that adults keep guns locked and out of reach of children.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer and members of the House of Delegates are to be commended for refusing to be intimidated by the National Rifle Association. I wish The Sun would publish a list of those senate committee members who voted negatively, along with their reasons for so voting.
The excuse given by Sen. Janice Piccinini is entirely unacceptable and indicates that she does not follow the daily accounts of crimes committed with assault weapons.
I have never understood the rationale of the NRA -- that all types of guns should be readily available to all people, with no restrictions imposed. Nor can I understand why our lawmakers are so fearful of the wrath of the NRA.
Come on, senators, show a little guts -- and a little common sense.
Mary W. Griepenkerl.
Keep to the Right