Giving way to emergency vehiclesThe safety of people who...


July 18, 1999

Giving way to emergency vehicles

The safety of people who live and work in Howard County is compromised every day. How? By those who refuse to yield to emergency vehicles responding to calls.

According to Maryland Vehicle Law, Section 21-405, you are to pull to the side of the roadway and stop until an emergency vehicle has passed. Merely slowing your car doesn't count.

You've seen those drivers who speed up to avoid having to yield to the emergency vehicles. And what about those drivers who slow down but won't pull to the side of the road and stop so the emergency vehicles can pass?

Many drivers do not realize the results of their actions or more appropriately, inaction, all wrapped up in their here-and-now. By choosing to ignore or refusing to pull over and come to a stop for these vehicles, these drivers create a situation for dire consequences to occur.

A driver's desire to not be "inconvenienced" by stopping may make the difference between life and death at the scene to which the emergency vehicle is responding.

In fire, rescue and medical emergencies, seconds count. Would you want to be the one responsible for causing emergency apparatus to arrive a minute later than required to save someone's life?

We have exceptional public safety workers in this county. If they can't make it to their destination in a safe and timely manner, they can't provide the help that is needed. Remember these fine men and women put themselves on the line for all the citizens of Howard County.

Make way for the emergency vehicles. It might just be your house they're going to.

Deborah Wiseman, Ellicott City

Cherish the new facts on nation's old relics

The Sun's recent coverage of our historic relics has been absolutely great. The articles about the Constellation coming back to its berth at the harbor were particularly fine. The parallel story about the Fort McHenry flag, Old Glory, being restored has given depth to my appreciation of the historic treasures we have in our area.

My curiosity is aroused as to how we are able to meld our traditional understanding of these relics with the most recent discoveries about them. I hope we can remember that the Constellation, a ship built in 1854, was thought earlier to be the frigate Constellation built in Baltimore in 1797. It does no harm to acknowledge we were wrong in the past and now have new appreciation for the restored ship.

I bought a coin in the early 1960s when the Constellation was little more than a wreck. The coin claims to be "struck from parts of the Frigate Constellation, the first ship of the U.S. Navy." The coin would permit me free visitation to the Constellation at any time. I do hope my coin works for the new ship. It was a privilege to contribute recently to its restoration.

Now about the other historical symbol relic, the Star Spangled Banner. The coverage in the papers and other media of its restoration has been excellent. One point seems never to be mentioned in any of the articles: The flag being restored was not flying during the battle at Fort McHenry. The guides at Fort McHenry told us that a smaller battle flag would have been flown during the battle, and that Old Glory flew after the battle.

I had always envisioned the big flag in the midst of bullets, rockets and the glare of battle being punctured and ripped to pieces, justifying its appearance. I have no less appreciation for the Star Spangled Banner now that I have been told the holes and the loss of the edge are not the result of battle but of scissors that snipped off pieces to be given as gifts to appreciative people.

I believe that Americans are able to update our legends and still keep a growing patriotism when research brings new understanding. My heart still thrills at the sight of the Star Spangled Banner and of the Constellation.

Perhaps all this is to teach us that the best we know today will probably be superseded by what we learn tomorrow. Not a bad lesson. May we always be humble in our knowledge and open to newly discovered facts without losing the spirit of what we "knew."

Lyle Buck, Ellicott City

Teaching moral values better than gun control

As a child, I learned to handle a .22-caliber rifle and earned marksman and pro-marksman medals at the age of 12. In high school, I was on the rifle team. And, I have never killed anyone.

The difference is, I grew up in a home, church and community where human life was valued.

Once abortion became legal and man, not God, could determine who would live and who would die, the morals of America began a steady decline.

Gun control is not the answer. Teaching moral values, the sanctity of human life and instilling a love and fear of God is the only way to prevent the self-destruction facing this great country.

"Kids will be kids" is just an excuse. Parenting is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week job and is not for cowards.

If values and morals were the norm, there would be no need for gun control. The bad guys will find ways around the law, while the good guys are denied freedoms.

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