MemorialistMaya Lin was an architecture student at Yale...

the Forum

November 23, 1992


Maya Lin was an architecture student at Yale University when she submitted the winning design for the Vietnam Memorial. For that she suffered enormous contempt and humiliation from an ugly gang of yahoos and jingoists.

So painful were the affronts to her dignity that she soon withdrew from all association with the memorial. Even our great defender, H. Ross Perot, joined those who castigated the design.

On the Nov. 11 occasion of remembrance of our fallen troops it was sad indeed to find no mention of the architect of the Vietnam Memorial, now one of the most famous in the world.

The creator of the somber and elegant beauty, which has somehow given deep comfort to thousands of visitors, has been cruelly forgotten, except for summary and terse reference in The Sunday Sun. It is not fair.

J. H. Sampson

Baltimore I am writing to voice my opposition to the proposed cutback of physical education credits in Baltimore County high schools.

I believe this change in the high school curriculum will devalue the importance of exercise as a life-long, health-maintaining behavior.

In my day-to-day work as a family physician, I see many patients forwhom exercise is an important part of their treatment program.

This includes individuals with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and weight problems, to name only a few conditions improved by exercise.

Unfortunately, in many individuals, an earlier start in an exercise program may have forestalled or avoided these illnesses.

I also serve as the team doctor for Dundalk High School, and in this capacity have experience with the health concerns of adolescents. The average teen-ager does not always see the long term benefits of exercise, yet it is during the teen years that important health and exercise habits are formed.

Required physical education through all years of high school promotes physical conditioning and ensures exposure to a variety of types of sport and exercise.

I certainly understand the importance of academics, but I do not believe that it should come at the expense of physical health. In a well-rounded individual, physical development goes hand in hand with development of the mind.

I urge school authorities not to change the current 1.5 credit requirement for physical education. Let's not give our students the wrong message.

J. Michael Niehoff, M.D.


The writer is associate director of family practice at Franklin Square Hospital Center.

Mail pickups

In keeping with the growing trend toward lawlessness and vandalism, I notice that not even government property is immune.

Throughout the Baltimore area, particularly in the city, mail boxes are being defaced with scribbled graffiti, presenting an ugly appearance to persons depositing mail.

As a corollary, when the mailboxes are repainted, the Postal Service has taken to omitting the collection schedules which used to be posted inside the boxes. This is the first time that I can recall this has happened.

For example, the mail box in the northwest portion of Reisterstown Plaza, while bearing a fresh coat of paint and informing the public in bold letters that the day's final collection is made at 5:30 p.m., contains no collection schedule elsewhere of the various pickups prior to the final one.

The Postal Service may be trying to offset the extra expense incurred by the frequent repaintings. But the absence of collection schedules deprives the public of a vital service.

Albert E. Denny


Hypocrisy in action

Was the outcry about Governor Schaefer's decision to support President Bush necessary?

Some people noisily protested in his Edmondson Village community, shouting to an empty house and undoubtedly disturbing some residents of the community.

Others mounted a drive to remove him as titular head of Maryland's Democratic Party.

As an individual, Governor Schaefer can vote for any candidate of his choice, and as governor, he can endorse the candidate of his choice.

During the campaign, Governor Clinton cited some noted Republicans who endorsed his candidacy. There were no gasps from Democratic party-liners of, "How dare they show disloyalty to their party?"

I believe that Maryland's electoral votes were awarded to President Bush in 1988 and to Ronald Reagan in 1984. Thousands of Democrats crossed the party line, including some of those who made the governor's endorsement an issue.

I have disagreed with Governor Schaefer about certain policies. However, the criticism about his choice of candidate is unwarranted, petty, ironically undemocratic and hypocritical by those who can condone nearly everything else under the sun.

J. R. Edwards


Invest in Children

When I read Dan Rodrick's account of the reasons the city Bureau of Transportation gave for not installing a deaf-child warning sign (Nov. 12), I had flashbacks of similar situations.

Having taught 22 years, I have heard all kinds of ridiculous excuses for not putting the child first.

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