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Published: Thursday, 3/21/2002

Does no one know history anymore?

I attended a recent meeting of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association at the Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department. One of the highlights of the meeting was the showing of a video about the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Most of us have seen footage of the infamous attack. This video is different. The students and faculty sponsors of Northwood High School deserve the highest accolades for their effort in assembling footage that may not have been seen in the mainstream of television.

Every one of the survivor members and families present praised the work presented by the students and faculty. Individual students took mike in hand to thank the survivors.

As a substitute teacher at Libbey, Scott, Start, Waite, and Woodward, I often wrote the date 12/7/41 on the chalkboard and offered a gold dollar to the first student who could tell me why that date is significant. I gave out very few dollars, much to my chagrin and embarrassment, inasmuch as I was in the U.S. Navy and served at Pearl Harbor in World War II.

The motto of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association is “Remember Pearl Harbor.” As a motto it is disappearing, as did “Remember the Alamo,” and “Forty-Four Forty or Fight.”

JERRY DESPAROIS

102nd Street

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What a pair of items on the March 10 opinion page: An editorial criticizing Billy Graham with accusations of bigotry and a letter advocating getting rid of religion.

Let's not do away with religion. Instead, let's be done with the immature cynicism and bitterness that leads to abuses of religion.

Let's abolish the prideful, arrogant smirking that drives us to rid the world of good until all that remains is our own selfish conceit.

Let's abandon the sour-grapes quest for vengeance that demands that we tear down the heroes of those who rightly exposed the evils of our own.

Let's outgrow the delusion of our own perfection and face the fact that the people and institutions that we so happily defame have done far more good in the world than have any of their petty critics.

THOMAS BERRY

Grand Rapids

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Sally Mott scolds a Forum contributor for scolding The Blade for scolding Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz for his mandatory bike helmets for kids plan.

I love it when the editors take a stand with which I agree.

Of course, decisions concerning personal safety (when second parties are not at risk) should rest with parents and with individuals, not with the government. Thank goodness we didn't have the “helmet police” around when Cristobal Colon took off in his three rickety boats.

Aside from ever-diminishing personal freedoms, bike (and motorcycle) helmets inhibit vision and you can't hear with the darned things on.

But you will never see a statistic (paid for by the helmet manufacturers) showing “death would have been prevented if the rider could only have seen or heard the approaching vehicle.”

The earlier letter writer applauded seatbelts, child restraints, and airbags as wonderful things.

But you sure won't see many statistics (because the studies are paid for by those who benefit financially from seatbelt fines, child restraint sales, etc.) showing deaths caused when people couldn't get out of their seatbelts in time, or when kids were choked, suffocated, or crushed by seatbelts or airbags, or how many people who were “saved” by seatbelts are living out the rest of their lives as institutionalized vegetables.

Nope. Nobody will pay for such studies. No money there.

Safety factors aside, it will be interesting to see the eventual mentally stunting effects of the “child restraint” generation. Let's see: strapped in, unable to move, unable to see anything but the back of their dad's head for what - 10 years? Every time they are in a car.

Just think what an entire “child-restrained” car-riding childhood is doing to these kids.

Oops. I forgot. Just give them more Ritalin ... no problem.

SALLY MEDBOURN MOTT

Bowling Green

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A recent article spoke of opposition to a new law requiring helmet use for bicyclists. I fully agree that this should be a matter of choice by parents or the cyclist.

I also believe the same logic should apply to seatbelt use. Here is a law that was passed because legislators wanted to do something to save lives. Whether to wear one should be a personal choice. If nothing else, it should come to the ballot for a vote.

The true reasoning behind seatbelt laws is, one, easy revenue for state and local government and, two, a way for law enforcement to see if there could be anything else wrong with the car or driver.

Enough freedom is being lost by lawmakers creating more laws to save people from themselves.

The people of Michigan should wake up and throw out the law that allows being pulled over for no reason other than not wearing a seatbelt.

And Ohioans should not have allowed this type of law enforcement tool to be used without a vote by the people.

LOUIS F. STEFANONI

Maumee

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I'm a police officer and I'm in favor of the helmet law. Parents come up to me all the time and want me to explain to their kids that it's the law to wear their seatbelts.

The parents have good intentions, but I believe some parents are scared to discipline their kids and they need someone else to blame to take the pressure off them to keep their kids safe.

I also believe peer pressure is very powerful, and if the parents can blame the police for making kids wear a helmet so be it.

As far as enforcing the law, once it gets around that we will take your bike if you're caught without a helmet, word of mouth will do the job. “Do you know what happened? I wasn't wearing my helmet and my father had to go to the police station to pick my bike up and he said that next time my bike was going to the auction.”

Now you are also inconveniencing the parent. It wouldn't take long for the law to enforce itself. As far as manpower goes, we pick up hundreds of bikes that were stolen but we can't return them because most people don't know they need a city of Toledo bike license on their bike, and this is already an enforceable law.

ED GUST

Toledo Police Department

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Big Brother is certainly worried about our children in Toledo. First politicians make a law that makes all of our children ride their bikes in the streets, instead of the sidewalks, now they are trying to pass a law to make our children wear bike helmets.

Do they really think this makes a difference when a car or truck hits them?

If it weren't for politicians, what would a family do?

RUTH ARQUETTE

Langdon Street

Well, it's taken 35 years of living, but now I can truly say that I've heard it all. Charles Pickering does not have, and I quote, “the temperament, the moderation, or the commitment to core constitutional ... protections that is required for a life tenure position” on the appeals court.

What paragon of temperament and moderation uttered those lofty words, you ask? None other than the estimable Sen. Edward Kennedy, of course. And can you believe that the outburst of uncontrolled laughter his comments must have provoked was not quoted in the article, as well? How about that?

ROBERT C.W. BIRMINGHAM

Lewis Avenue



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