For just a few brief moments, just before the umpire yells out "Play Ball," people will stand at attention to honor the American flag. Those in uniform will salute. Others will simply bow their heads in silent respect as a vocalist sings "The Star Spangled Banner" with the great reverence it deserves.
A recent article reported on a group that is touring the United States seeking to promote the correct singing of our national anthem.
In 1814, when Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star Spangled Banner," our country was at war with England. Our nation's capital of Washington lay burning and the British set their sights on Baltimore. But first they would have to get past Fort McHenry, which stood at the mouth of the city's harbor.
While the first verse of the "Star Spangled Banner" seeks to explain the defiance of the fort to surrender and the battle-scarred flag that flew from its ramparts, it is the final verse that truly defines what our country stands for today and who we are as a nation.
It may seem like a simple thing, just an extra 30 seconds, to remember this verse in our hearts; and perhaps someday some vocalist will also sing the final verse to help remind us that we do live in a country that is truly blessed, "one nation under God."
The final verse:
"Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation,
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven - rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Israel's grossly disproportionate military response against the Lebanese is an outrage to which all should respond, even Israel's poodle, George W. Bush.
Three years ago, "W" enthusiastically decided that the United States should share the recurring pain of suicide bombers with the Israelis by interjecting us into a causeless, fruitless, adventure against a toothless old despot.
Today, after a series of embarrassingly silly reasons have been put forward for this folly, our American blood and treasure still flow with no good end in sight.
Now, as the administration once again rolls out the tritely familiar support statements for the shocking, knee-jerk reaction of widespread destruction of Lebanese lives, property, and infrastructure, as opposed to a measured response directed at Hezbollah itself, I ask, "what next?"
Are we bound by the lack of a voice of our own to find ourselves following the Israelis once more? This time to share a Middle East holocaust?
God help us survive the remainder of this man's term. And yes, I am one of those who opposed the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq from day one, and predicted at the time that we would wind up like the poor Israelis themselves, trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare.
GERALD T. CARTER
Recently, documents related to the 1999 school shootings at Columbine High School, where 12 students and one teacher were murdered by two high school seniors, were released.
Nearly 1,000 pages of documents offer not only a chilling picture of the minds of these killers, but also beg very loudly the question of how such hate and violent thoughts were not detected (or taken seriously) before the massacre.
Diaries of the murderers include stories of killing fellow "prep students," hit lists that the students made, and even ingredients for making bombs.
While I agree that some of this information may have been well-hidden by the young perpetrators, some of the information, including bomb-making ingredients, were found on the boys' high school server. Also, both students turned in research papers in school that romanticized topics such as Charles Manson and Nazism.
While all of this does not mean these students would turn their hate into actions, it is still serious cause for concern. If someone, whether it be teacher, parent, fellow-student, police officer, would have gotten involved in these children's lives, maybe this tragedy would have been avoided.
As Marilyn Manson said, maybe all these kids needed was someone to listen to them. As a community, it is important that we take these things seriously. When a youth writes or talks about racism, homophobia, murder, and suicide, we must not ignore these early signs of future violence.
Take a child under your wing and help him out.
Growing up is difficult. For some, it is unbearable.
Many folks always vote "Yes" for schools even when they no longer have school-age children. They remember that their elders struggled to pay for their education, and believe they are responsible to do the same.
Many folks want to change school funding in Ohio, but agree that not even one child's education should be sacrificed to force that change.
Many folks see a need for today's kids to keep up with the rest of the world, even if it means giving them a better education than they themselves had in the good old days.
Many folks believe children should not suffer for the sins of their school board. They recognize the problems, but believe the time to vote "No" is when school board members run for re-election.
Many folks know that a healthy school system invites new businesses and more jobs. Those new businesses and jobs mean more tax money for the community. So, it reduces their property taxes.
A good school system also increases home values, so you can sell your house and make a killing because people want to live in your community.
If a good school provides activities for the boy next door, he probably won't be breaking into your home at night. Aha! The crime rate drops.
If a good school helps the girl next door get into medical college, she becomes the doctor who saves your life!
What affects one of us affects all of us. We're in this together. Help yourself and the children. Vote for Lake Schools on Aug. 8.
President Bush must be quite worried about the upcoming mid-term elections. Otherwise he wouldn't be spending so much time on political junkets all across the country trying to bolster his fellow Republicans' chances of winning in November while matters of a much more serious nature continue to pile up on his desk in the Oval Office.
To me, his speeches around the country before "hand-picked" audiences with special backdrops and choreographed photo-ops telegraph his apparent insecure feeling even with the American people. Plus, this type of format disallows any protest of his presence or challenge to his words.
But maybe the most pressing thought that lurks in the back of his mind is the word "impeachment." And if control of the House and the Senate swing to the left in November, who knows what might happen?
However, President Bush shouldn't worry too much if he has to leave office before his term is complete. He could return to the Crawford Ranch and eventually get a job as "Walker, Texas Ranger!"
The last few weeks have seen some very unfortunate heavy rains in the Toledo area and with all the concentrated reports of flooding in Toledo and suburban areas and especially now the golf courses, I have yet to see a report on the fate of the farmers in the surrounding counties. In most cases, the land is the farmer's source of income, what he plants in the spring determines his "paycheck" for that year.
So when he gets flooded out, once, twice, even three times, there is not much chance of recouping his losses. Do the city folks know that's how it works?