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Published: Sunday, 12/25/2005

Memories of a long ago Christmas

Ah, Christmas. By the time World War II ended in May, 1945, I was 20 years old and had been serving in Europe for 11 months, in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany, when we got the word that we had enough points to go home. As good as that information was we also learned that we would probably make it easily on time for Christmas!

But that was not counting the severe Atlantic storms that struck that December. For that reason we did not make it. Actually we arrived at the Statue of Liberty on Christmas Eve. And what a beautiful sight! Home and Christmas would have to wait.

We docked and disembarked Christmas morning.

There were no bands and parades to welcome us.

But we weren't forgotten. The Grey Ladies (of the Red Cross) were there to welcome us and provide us with coffee and doughnuts. These lovely ladies gave up Christmas morning with their families to show that they cared. That was 60 years ago. I think of those wonderful ladies every Christmas. After all this time I shamefully admit that I have never taken the time to express my appreciation for their thoughtfulness on that day 60 years ago.

Those ladies probably long ago have gone to their reward but belated as my thanks are, I nonetheless wish to express them to their offspring - to all of their kin - a heartfelt thanks and Merry Christmas!

WILLIAM D. MUNGER

Pine Creek Drive

With the recent revelation that the Bush Administration has engaged in domestic eavesdropping without court warrants, it becomes increasingly clear that this White House is truly Nixonian in its character. The President haughtily defends his actions, in part, on claims of inherent executive powers granted to him under the Constitution.

One wonders if he has ever bothered to read the document he has sworn to uphold. If so, then he would have a hard time squaring his position against the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, a right explicitly expressed within the Bill of Rights.

History is unfortunately replete with power-hungry men all too willing to exploit times of uncertainty and national tragedies, whether it be the Reichstag fire in the last century or Sept. 11 of this one.

JON WHITMORE

Metamora, Ohio

Paul Krugman's recent column attacking Wal-Mart for destroying jobs and driving down wages failed to address an even bigger factor causing harm in these areas: the so-called global economy.

Even though Wal-Mart has lived up to its motto "We sell for less," and employed many people, it is doubtful that these practices have contributed in any large measure, if any, to the loss of jobs and lesser wages that Mr. Krugman ascribes to Wal-Mart, when compared with the effect of the global economy in these areas.

Manufacturing jobs in the United States, due to the wholesale number of products now made in China, Mexico, Hong Kong, Honduras, Korea, Taiwan, and numerous other countries at wages that are miniscule compared to those in the United States, have been disappearing in vast numbers, far outnumbering any allegedly caused by Wal-Mart. This cheaper labor has also caused wages paid to U.S. workers to be diminished.

I have never encountered, when shopping there numerous times, any but extremely helpful and pleasant employees.

Furthermore, its prices are lower, as advertised, and the shoppers, who are numerous, all appear to be as happy as I am to be there buying at bargain prices.

GARY E. GABRIEL

Fallbrook Road

The crucifixion of Tom Noe continues day after day as long as there is one drop of blood left in his body. Coingate is not about coins. It is about political assassination by a newspaper.

Remember under our laws, Mr. Noe is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Mr. Noe has not even gone to trial. However, in its zeal to put Tom six feet under, The Blade may have saved his neck. At this time I doubt that Tom could get a fair trial even in "Podunk, U.S.A."

Big deal! So maybe Tom got away with a few million, mere pocket change. Why isn't The Blade asking the big questions? Why does the BWC have billions of dollars lying around to gamble with? As a public insurance fund, shouldn't it be a nonprofit organization?

Why isn't The Blade questioning excessive rates that are paid by employers that permit such excesses? Why isn't the BWC required by law to provide a public accounting on a regular basis?

If The Blade truly wants to be a great newspaper, let it start asking the big questions.

JIM GORALSKE

Van Buren, Ohio

For some reason, the dollar value of the heating bill reduction measures I've taken, or plan to take, were not mentioned in your Dec. 13 article. They are quite substantial, and should be of interest to your readers.

The largest savings I've made is by installing a new, 93 percent efficient furnace. It replaced a 27-year-old one, which, according to actual gas consumption data, was 63 percent efficient. That move has reduced my gas consumption by 32 percent. The dollar savings, at today's rate, is $543 a year.

In a couple of weeks, I will be having cellulose insulation blown into the walls of my house, which should provide a savings of about $360 year.

Turning the thermostat down to 65 degrees in the daytime and 63 at night should reduce my consumption another 9 percent over last year, for a savings of about $104 a year.

I replaced four original (1941) windows with high-efficiency ones, which should provide more savings, but it will be difficult to tell how much, in view of the other simultaneous changes.

The above changes should provide a yearly savings of about $1,000, at present rates.

My house is rather small, only 924 square feet total, for the two floors.

I hope my yearly gas bills will total no more than $720 when I'm finished with the insulation.

JOHN F. ROESLER

Rossford

Interesting that The Blade had no interest in following the money when Bill Clinton was president.

Instead, The Blade and the rest of the liberal establishment media spent the 1990s poo-pooing news of the Clintons selling nights in the Lincoln bedroom as "partisan attacks" and down-playing evidence that the Communist Chinese were buying, among other things, satellite, rocket, and nuclear secrets from the Clinton/Gore administration.

Americans should see it as a huge improvement that the President's main fund-raisers now come from Texas instead of Beijing.

Perhaps the biggest revelation of The Blade's stories on fund-raising for President Bush isn't even mentioned in the exposes - that being the failure of campaign finance reform. Didn't The Blade and other liberal editorial boards join liberals in Congress to claim McCain-Feingold was going to "take the money out of politics"?

CHAD D. BAUS

Archbold, Ohio

Congratulations on your Dec. 18 editorial attempt to disguise the torture and maiming of dogs in the name of science. The paragraph where the practice of sadism is referred to as "helping scientists sniff out insulin, organ transplantations, new drugs, and other medical innovations" is a piece of work.

Whoever wrote that could rival Joseph Goebbels writing about the benefits of Dr. Mengele's research during the Nazi era in Europe.

By the way, those great scientists who enjoy their work and take pleasure from it would definitely fit one of the two definitions on sadism found in Webster's Dictionary. The article in my opinion was nothing more than propaganda and makes me wonder about your paper.

RAYMOND BIEBER

Perrysburg

Regarding the Dec. 21 editorial "The bishops' stone wall," I have a one word comment: "Amen!"

MIKE DRABIK

Bronson Avenue



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