January 07, 2009

Congress will miss voice of a veteran

I'd like to add my voice to those saying farewell to Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest as he leaves Congress. But in my case, I do so as a fellow Vietnam War combat veteran ("For Gilchrest, a peaceful farewell," Jan. 5).

With his departure, the Maryland congressional delegation has not a single wartime veteran. Does that matter? I believe it does, especially as our country faces economic woes that could become the next Great Depression.

The last depression was only ended by a world war, and this one might end up that way, too. That must be prevented at all costs.

Having veterans in Congress doesn't ensure that we will avoid foolish wars, as Mr. Gilchrest himself voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

However, many of the veterans of my generation - having served in Vietnam - opposed the wars that followed and are prepared to help stop future wars.

Mr. Gilchrest was correct in focusing on the new and much more potent threat facing us all: the deterioration of the global environment.

Blaine Taylor, Towson

Gilchrest worked to safeguard planet

The Baltimore Sun's article "For Gilchrest, a peaceful farewell" (Jan.5) was a wonderful tribute to Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest.

As a Democrat, I have watched and admired Mr. Gilchrest for years as he worked to safeguard the environment and promote sound farming practices. He also realized early on that the invasion of Iraq was wrong and had the courage to admit he had been wrong to back it, to the dismay of his conservative colleagues.

I hope that in his "retirement" from Congress, he will find peace and fulfillment. And I feel sure he will never stop his efforts to improve the environment for future generations.

Velva Grebe, Towson

If only the killers would respect life

The writer of the letter "Evidence condemns the death penalty" (Jan. 5) expressed his rationale for condemning the death penalty but finished with a perplexing statement: "No one has the right to take another person's life."

It would be a perfect world if the letter writer could get this message to the murderers.

Bill Huppert, Perry Hall

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