Hurrah for Thomas Hartman's letter on flag burning ("If desecration law passes, U.S. veteran will burn flag," Aug. 2). I am retired from the U.S. Air Force with 22 years of active duty that began in World War II.
I take pride in the proper display of my flag. If someone wishes to discuss the desecration of the flag, I would point to the common practice of putting American flags on the antennas of all the cars in used car lots, some cars not even American made.
I resent the use of the American flag to sell any product, be it used cars or political careers. Both are equally unworthy uses of the flag.
I have been collecting 4-by-6 inch flags at Fourth of July celebrations for several years. If the amendment is passed I will be right beside Mr. Hartman burning my flags.
The letter from Albert Bailer, the veteran who wants to attack anyone who burns the U.S. flag, illustrates a problem all too common among Americans ("Don't burn American flag anywhere near this veteran," Aug. 10). Although Mr. Bailer obviously went to war, unfortunately, he still doesn't have a clue what he was fighting for.
Police aren't tough on traffic violations
The death of Diane Bredar, struck by a vehicle running a red light, is another example of the deliberate disregard of stop signs, yield signs and traffic lights by many motorists ("Woman killed, 3 injured in Towson crash," Aug. 5). It is another example of Baltimore County police officers reacting to fatal accidents rather than being proactive to prevent them.
It is unfortunate that county police don't get more involved in stricter traffic law enforcement.
Louis Goldstein was genius who appealed to young, old
You might not expect to look in the Letters to the Editor column to find reflections of political genius, but the dozens of letters appearing in newspapers over the past few weeks attest to the real genius of Louis L. Goldstein, Maryland's longest-serving public official, who died July 3.
The political pundits are right when they point to an unparalleled career during which Mr. Goldstein actually popularized the office of tax collector. They correctly point to a canny chief financial officer who maintained Maryland's Triple-A bond rating despite the crises, an increase in the state's debt load caused by a public school construction program and myriad other fiscal and political incidents.
The news accounts also accurately portray a man who, though (( born before World War I, understood and appreciated the importance of technology and who kept his office an internationally recognized leader in efficiency and technological advancement.
But the treasure trove of letters clearly shows that the people of Maryland knew Mr. Goldstein best. Oh, they knew he would take care of their tax dollars, send their refunds quickly and find a surplus each year to keep the state's books in the black. But they really didn't care whether he shook hands with a mannequin or walked across the state line while he was campaigning. They knew the genius of Louis Goldstein was that he truly cared about them.
Mr. Goldstein shared pride in community and family. He would come to a wedding or a child's baptism if he was invited.
Veterans knew of his deep and abiding interest in them, for he was one of them and proud of it. He regularly spoke to veterans groups and maintained correspondence with many of his fellow World War II Marines.
Those who shared his rural roots knew Louis Goldstein as a regular at the state and county fairs. They valued his stewardship of the land, public and private, and his personal involvement and financial support for volunteer fire organizations and other community-based initiatives.
Though he eschewed the title "senior citizen," Maryland's seniors looked to him as a model for an active life. He encouraged them in hundreds of appearances, recognizing their contributions as volunteers and their golden wedding anniversaries and serving as an enthusiastic ambassador for Maryland's Senior Olympics.
But those on whom Louis Goldstein probably made the greatest impression are the youth who remember the countless 4-H lambs he bought or who benefited from the scholarships he funded. They would write letters of appreciation, receive a warm reply and often begin a longtime correspondence in which they would share grades and other milestones of their lives.
The people supported him by giving him a cumulative vote total far greater than any other public official in the history of the state. And they mourned him and celebrated his remarkable life, in the long, respectful line that filed by his flag-draped casket as it lay in the capital of the state he loved and served so well.
Marvin A. Bond
The writer is a deputy state comptroller who served under Mr. Goldstein for 27 years.
Most consumers would agree that recent congressional concern over health maintenance organization abuses is long overdue.