Pentagon pique cheats veterans, shames countryThe spoiled...

LETTERS

December 28, 1997

Pentagon pique cheats veterans, shames country

The spoiled little boys in the Pentagon are piqued at losing some of their playthings. So now they "allow" local commanders to "decide" on sending honor teams to veterans' funerals.

What this means is that now all a veteran gets at his interment is a man showing up at the end to hand his widow a flag. No more honor team to carry his casket, fire the three-volley salute from seven rifles and sound taps from a bugle. Our shame for this needs few words.

But it does need deeds. A quick and easy one is for the widows to refuse the flags. And have the media on hand when it happens. After a few times, the little boys will squirm.

Let's do more, however. Let's cut more of their toys: The Super Hornet isn't much better than the present Hornet. The F-22 Stealth fighter (not to be confused with the B-2 Stealth bomber) may not work, has cost overruns and isn't needed now that the Cold War is over.

Four more planes can be scrutinized: the tilt-wing V-22 Osprey, the Comanche and Apache Longbow attack helicopters, and especially the $145 billion Joint Strike Fighter. The brass and braid boys' plan in the next few years: 17 projects for 8,499 planes costing a budget-busting $335 billion. This is more than was spent at the height of the Cold War.

A lot of this money could go not only for honor teams but also to treat Gulf War Syndrome veterans, keep military medical facilities open and improve the quality of military doctors.

The young are rightly nihilistic about all this: that when wounded or sick or old or dead a veteran is readily discarded, that only a fool risks his life, limb or mind for his country. Imagine the resistance to a return of the draft. The Pentagon boys have "outpaybacked" themselves. In this final dishonor to veterans, they have made draft-dodging finally honorable.

James A. Hoage

Severna Park

3rd-graders praise Lothian Elementary

We are third graders at Lothian Elementary School. We are writing to inform the public about what a great school we have. All we have read in the paper has been about the few students involved with bomb threats. That is not what our school is about.

We are hard-working students involved in many positive activities. For example, we have collected canned goods for our holiday sharing program. Students have also donated snack money toward this program. Our kindergarten classes have decorated a sharing tree filled with scarves, hats and gloves to be given to needy children.

Our band and string students recently put on a concert and our chorus not only performed for our school and parents, but visited Crofton Convalescent Center to share their holiday songs.

Most of us come to school every day with our homework done and ready to learn. We obey our teachers and treat each other kindly.

The parents in our community are very involved in our school as well. We have many reasons to be proud of our school.

The writers are students in Carolyn Haroth's class at Lothian Elementary School.

Parents need to be told of pesticide use

Many of our children are experiencing severe health problems from pesticide use in and around our schools and child care centers that most people are not even aware of.

Currently, boards of education have policies in place whereby a parent or guardian of a child diagnosed as "chemically sensitive" may ask to be notified by the school in advance of pesticide applications.

However, this policy excludes children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), asthmatic children, other at-risk children or undiagnosed children who are having reactions due to pesticide exposure.

While school boards and superintendents raise concern about the cost of notifications, parents are routinely informed about other issues involving their children in school. Issues of public health, instruction, school closings, school lunches, PTA meetings and fund-raising events are sent home with the student. Notification of pesticide use in and around a school is a serious health issue and should be sent home as well without having to request it.

The cost would be minimal, if any. This information could be added with another outgoing flyer. Also, to minimize exposure, I would suggest scheduling pesticide applications after school or on weekends. Parents have a right to know.

A. Shirley Murphy

Pasadena

Pub Date: 12/28/97

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