Veteran of invasion recalls MajuroSun staff reporter Frank...


October 05, 1997

Veteran of invasion recalls Majuro

Sun staff reporter Frank D. Roylance made my day with his ''Sun Journal'' report and photograph on the current status of Majuro atoll in the Marshall Islands of the Pacific (Sept. 14). However, Mr. Roylance omits any reference to what occurred there during World War II.

On Jan. 31, 1944, as a member of a naval assault beach party, together with the 105th Battalion of the Army's 27th Division, I landed on Majuro.

This was the best invasion of the nine in which I participated. The Japanese forces had abandoned it, probably one or two days before. My diary notes that we were probably the first to ''conquer'' land owned by Japan before World War II.

Our joy at finding Majuro without any defense by the Japanese was immediately ended as we were sent to join Army and Marine troops in the invasion of Kwajalein and Eniwetok.

I hope the threat that melting glaciers and rising water levels will cause the ocean waves eventually to pass over atolls like Majuro, as Mr. Roylance reported, will subside and the urban population of 25,000 can continue to live there. As I recall, there were very few natives on invasion day, probably less than a few hundred.

Samuel A. Culotta


Doorless bathrooms: What's the problem?

Regarding the article, ''Doorless bathrooms outrage parents'' Sept. 25), where was all of this outrage when I was going to school?

I went to Middle River Junior and Kenwood Senior High. The boys' restrooms never, I repeat never, had any doors on the stalls. The girls' rooms did, though. I guess little girls and young women are the only students who deserve privacy in the restrooms.

Jeff Adamson


Seafood scare is media's fault

''Stupid public!'' ''Don't they know eating fish and crabs from the Chesapeake Bay won't hurt them?'' ''People are really dumb to stop buying fish!''

But wait a minute. Surveys indicate that 85 percent of the American public gets its news from TV. So what do we get on TV? A teaser, ''Toxin poses major danger to fish in Chesapeake Bay -- news at 11,'' or a street interview, ''. . . Man, I ain't eatin' any more of anything from the bay!'' Another 5 percent gets its news from reading headlines: ''Grocers shun bay seafood,'' ''Efforts to protect bay falling short,'' ''Pfiesteria, the bay's revenge.''

TV and newspapers have a common goal: Make money, get more viewers, sell more papers. Informing the public is &r secondary.

The public will go back to eating fish, but it won't be because of the news coverage; it will be in spite of it.

Jim Watson


Classical music lovers finding more dead air

On Sept. 21, the Johns Hopkins University's radio station, WJHU-FM, closed another chapter in its steady decline from the premier status it had held when it first went on the air.

It axed the few remaining hours of classical music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and let go the most erudite classical music host who has graced the local airwaves for at least 40 years, Bob Benson. And this from an organization that boasts the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

Like many other public radio stations, WJHU has become another talk radio outlet.

Basically an echo of WAMU-FM in Washington, WJHU has joined the chorus of stations catering to the new generation of listeners who, having been brought up on television, have given up reading newspapers or books.

As Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker special issue on music, ''A culture obsessed with youth, novelty and gadgetry won't embrace a music that requires close listening or historical understanding.''

Baltimore City Community College's WBJC-FM, the only remaining classical music voice in Baltimore, unfortunately is only a shell of what it once was.

Those of us who have been listening to classical music on FM for the past 40 years or so remember when WBJC was a quality station.

In the last few years it has adopted the dumbed-down, light-classics route.

Its programming policy must be: Try to avoid broadcasting the following during daylight hours: works longer than 20 minutes; -- vocal music; music written by composers after 1900.

But do try to play one movement of Vivaldi's ''The Seasons'' at least once a day. And try to have the announcing staff start and end every sentence with the station's call letters, WBJC.

With 50,000 watts of power, the station still has potential, but that will not be filled as long as those who do the current programming are in charge. With a budget well over $1 million, you would think they would aim for distinction and quality.

But they settle for daytime mediocrity.

If you ever wish to hear Mahler's Second Symphony, you'd better be working a second shift, and be able to tune in to WBJC about 2 o'clock in the morning.

Are the barbarians winning?

James M. Kitzmiller


Pub Date: 10/05/97

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