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Published: Thursday, 7/31/2008

Patriotism is the lesson not to be lost

On June 25 an editorial titled "A lesson lost" appeared on The Blade's Pages of Opinion. The editorial was about a principal at Shasta High School in Redding, Calif., who closed down the school newspaper for running a front-page photo of a student burning an American flag along with an editorial defending the protest as free speech. The Blade defended the student's First Amendment rights and closed by saying it was a lost chance to enhance their education.

I believe in free speech to a degree but not when you publicly desecrate the flag of the United States when our country is at war and then defend those actions in print. When I was in Vietnam, we heard about fellow Americans burning our flag along with their draft cards. What kind of message do you think this sends to our troops in Iraq? It does not matter if you agree or disagree with this current war, the fact remains that we are there and we must send the right message to our troops.

As I watched the fireworks in downtown Toledo on July 4 and listened to the patriotic music, which included the Star Spangled Banner. I felt proud to be an American. I am also proud of our flag and what it stands for.

My thanks to The Blade and local businesses that financially supported "Red, White, KaBoom." My thanks also to The Blade for running the photo of Boy Scout Troop 329 and American Legion Post 455 of Woodville. They hosted a flag-burning ceremony to help educate the public about the proper way to dispose of an American flag when it becomes worn and tattered. These are the "lessons that should not be lost."

Bernie Welniak

Whitehouse

McCain's heroism is unquestionable

In response to the July 17 letter writer who asked why anyone would vote for John McCain, I want to point out that the writer has to be one of the most ungrateful people I have ever read a letter from. Everyone has his or her own opinion about the candidates running in the 2008 election, but to question whether or not Mr. McCain was a war hero is uncalled for.

If the letter writer had done his research, he would have known exactly why Mr. McCain is considered a hero. Mr. McCain was shot down over Vietnam and when he ejected he received a broken leg, two broken arms, and nearly drowned. After being pulled from the lake where he'd landed, he was beaten by a crowd, had his shoulder crushed by a rifle butt, and was bayoneted several times. He was taken to the "Hanoi Hilton" and denied medical treatment. He was kept in solitary confinement for two years and was a POW for a total of 5 1/2 years. During this time, he lived by the standards taught in the military and never talked about plans held by the allies.

Mr. McCain negotiated with the North Vietnamese to have men who were taken prisoner before him released instead. This is true bravery and true heroism. It doesn't matter who one decides to support in this election, no one can take away the fact that Mr. McCain was prepared to give up his life to save those around him.

One last thing: The comment about staying home on election day? That is never going to happen.

Laura Simmons

Provincetowne Drive

Spin the other way will cure dizziness

In response to the recent contributor to the Readers' Forum who wrote that John McCain has been changing his positions with "dizzying speed," I suggest that he read Sen. Barack Obama's positions from five months ago and his positions today.

Trust me, his head will be spinning the other way so hard that it should solve any of his dizzy symptoms.

David Ringenbach

Northwood

Woodward deserves equal school facilities

The construction of the new Woodward High School has begun, but it will not have the same athletic facilities as other recently built high schools (Rogers, Start, and Bowsher). Most notable is the absence of a track. The budget needs to be increased more than $650,000 to match the other new high schools' athletic complexes. Toledo Public Schools has never built a football stadium or a competitive track for WHS. The existing football stadium was built from student and private fund-raisers in the late 1960s. The new school will have a stadium but no track.

The building budget has already been reduced from a three-story structure to a two stories because of declining enrollment. Many of these students simply transferred to the newer high schools because of the lenient TPS enrollment policy. With inferior athletic facilities, this population trend may continue. Certainly, athletics are not the only consideration when building a new school, but all can agree that a successful athletic program boosts student morale and pride.

Why should students of this central-city school have less of a physical structure than the students of other areas? I wonder if TPS thinks it can shortcut the north-end community and no one will notice.

Lots of media attention has been given to the Scott High School boosters and their quest to renovate the existing school instead of constructing new. Where's the cry about the continued inequities at Woodward? Public pressure on local politicians and TPS will help assure that Woodward students will not be treated like second-class citizens. A Woodward athletic complex matching Rogers, Start, and Bowsher is the least TPS can do.

Ed Johnson

Manchester Drive

Levy calculator is helpful to taxpayers

We are constantly being bombarded with advertising telling us to vote for "this or that" and it will only cost "X" amount for a $100,000 home. Would you like to see exactly what "X" will cost you per year on your home's evaluation? A lot of people who pay their taxes with their mortgage payment don't pay attention to the new dollar amount.

You can get an accurate look at what you will be hit with by going to the Lucas County Auditor's Web site, clicking on "Areis," and following the instructions to pull up your property. When that is done, click on "levy calculator" and it will show the exact amount of your new tax if the next levy (or levies) pass.

It will be an eye opener.

Glenn Campbell

Waterville

Don't waste my time, taxes on E. Toledo

I read a story recently regarding East Toledo improvements and how East Toledo residents will pay for them. Let me rephrase that: East Toledo homeowners and business owners - taxpayers.

I cannot afford to pay more taxes and do not want to put more money into a neighborhood that has been forgotten by the city and state. I'm sure city officials know how bad crime is on the east side. If we dump money into fixing the neighborhood, will the police force double in East Toledo to protect our investment, or will we sit idly by and watch the people who don't pay these taxes destroy everything we have accomplished?

The city needs to do more than it is doing, and as long as it cannot afford to help keep the neighborhoods free of crime and violence, I don't want to waste my time or money.

I already pay for the crime and violence in my neighborhood. I pay higher insurance premiums for my home and autos. I pay more money for fixing the damage caused by people who have nothing better to do other than damage or steal my property. My friends are being murdered and robbed. I can no longer walk down these streets safely.

I think we would be better off donating the east side to the drug dealers, prostitutes, thieves, and gangs. After all, they make more money than we do. Maybe the city can find a way to tax them.

The bottom line for East Toledoans is to get out now, while you are still able.

Paul Ieson

Butler Street

Regarding the levy the trustees of COSI want to put on the November ballot again, just what part of "no" do they not understand? The levy has been on the ballot twice now, and twice the voters have rejected it. Isn't it about time they quit wasting our money by putting this issue on the ballot and quit beating a dead horse? "No" means "no," not "maybe, try again next year."

Brenda Steinfurth

Madeleine Street



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