As two years ago, it was possible for an...

AS RECENTLY

November 20, 1993

AS RECENTLY as two years ago, it was possible for an America-firster or true-blue trade unionist to get outfitted head to toe by clothes made in the U.S.A.

No longer, as evidenced by a tour of the "outlet" mall in Queenstown where Routes 50 and 301 converge. A shopper can still find an occasional item made in the United States, but the majority of clothing bearing U.S. brand names is "made" or "assembled" elsewhere. In some stores that clearly don't manufacture their own apparel, not a single American label can be found.

There are the familiar sources -- Hong Kong, Korea, China, Mexico, Taiwan -- joined by a host of newcomers (at least, to one label-picker) -- Costa Rica, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, Macao, Malaysia. American clothing manufacturers are assembling apparel all over the world, wherever cheap labor can be found.

The unscientific survey in Queenstown found two outlets with more American-made apparel than the others: Brooks Brothers and Jantzen, both old American companies that advertise that they make the apparel they sell. But even in these two stores there are racks of sweaters and other items made overseas.

To an American union person, it has to be depressing -- NAFTA on a global scale.

* * *

NOT ALL the wounds are healing for women veterans of the Vietnam War. Most of the 11,500 women who served there were nurses. But a few played other roles as dangerous as any man's.

Before the unveiling on Veterans' Day of a new statue honoring women veterans of the war, one vet who was not a nurse but earned two Purple Hearts called organizers of the ceremonies for information.

"Oh, what did you do?" she was asked. When she explained her war assignment she got a cold response. "Well, this is mostly for nurses. We didn't kill anybody, you know."

It seems the message of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial -- that it's time to heal all the divisions caused by that war -- still hasn't gotten through to everyone.

* * *

HERE'S a classic "who done it?" A parrot's testimony was deemed inadmissible in a murder trial although Max, the parrot, could very well have been the witness to its owner's death.

Max, an African gray parrot, was discovered in his cage suffering from dehydration and hunger when his owner's body was found. She had been smothered to death.

After Max was nursed back to health, it began to cry out, "Richard, no, no, no!"

Max's testimony will not be heard at the California trial. The parrot could not be reached for comment since his whereabouts are undisclosed: Max is enrolled in the witness protection program, disguised as a macaw.

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