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A New Yorker says thanks to people of Youngstown



Published: Sun, September 23, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A New Yorker says thanks to people of Youngstown

EDITOR:

As one who lives and works in Manhattan, I was stunned, confused and terrified by the gruesome surprise attack --exactly the response the vile terrorists intended to elicit in us all. As the days wore on, my despair only grew as the torturous way in which thousands of innocent people perished became ever clearer.

The other day, I passed the Javits Convention Center while biking to work (the subways are a mess). The center is a staging area for supporting the rescue workers. Nearby streets were clogged with trucks, vans and station wagons bringing donations. One 18-wheeler had a huge and colorful banner taped to its side, & quot;A Gift Of Love To NYC from Youngstown, Ohio. & quot; I was overcome. Thank you Youngs town, for standing with us in our hour of dread. You've given me the cou rage to look to the future. You are why this country is worth fighting for.

EDWARD BIKALES

New York City

Remember Flight 93 and the bravery of its heroes

EDITOR:

There are people still alive in America tonight. Children, moms and dads, soldiers standing guard at the White House, congressmen, senators, even the vice President. There may be a thousand people still alive in America tonight because of the courage of those on Flight 93.

The hijackers made a fatal error, thinking Americans would hesitate to act after knowing the intent of their captors. We do not know exactly what happened on that flight, but we do know that it produced the first new heroes of this new war.

Imagine the terrorists surprise in realizing that there are everyday Americans willing to die for a cause, just like themselves. They expected wimps but found warriors. They expected fear but found valor in their captives. They had hoped to destroy the U.S. government in reality they created a stronger American people with an example of true bravery to follow. I wonder if the terrorist, in those last few seconds of life, saw how noble, how selfless, how perfectly Godly the Americans on that plane were and how cowardly and evil they themselves were. While the Americans gave their lives to save others on the ground, the terrorists simply killed and died in the process.

Had the Americans on that flight not taken the actions that they did, U.S. fighter jets would have shot them down, or would that have happened? Would the terrorists pretend to land after the first warning shots and then slam the plane into the airport terminal or a mall or hospital or house or school? I don't know, and I am glad we didn't have to find out. Any one of us may owe our lives to those very few. It is too late to thank them now, for their lives were snuffed out by evil.

But if we need a battle cry, what better more fitting tribute to those first heroes than to "Remember Flight 93!" And then after we win this war and we build monuments to all those who fought the great fight in all the great battles, let the first be built to honor those who fought the Battle of Flight 93.

ALAN L. RUSSO

Lowellville

U.S. on record in support of Islamic nations, people

EDITOR:

It is strange that Mr. Nakley and Dr. Mir simultaneously criticize the U.S. for being biased towards Israel and for not always promoting democratic governments in other nations. Last time I checked, Israel has the only democratically elected government in the Middle East. How would it promote democracy to abandon the elected government of Ariel Sharon for the unelected, authoritarian Arab governments?

Congressman Traficant and whoever else claims U.S.foreign policy is biased against Islam has not been paying attention to the events of the last 20 years.

In 1999, our nation led a NATO air war against Serbia to stop a genocide against Muslim Kosovars. For almost three years, U.S. troops have been stationed in Bosnia to defend a predominantly Muslim population. In 1996, dozens of American military personnel were killed in a terrorist bombing of their barracks in Saudi Arabia. Our military personnel were there to help defend Saudi Arabia from an attack by Iraq.

In 1992, President Bush Sr. deployed over 35,000 U.S. troops to avert a famine in predominently Muslim Somalia. Since the early 1980s, our Navy has incurred casualties while protecting Arab oil shipping in the Persian Gulf. Does anyone remember the USS Starke or the USS Cole?

Of course, the grand example was our 1991 liberation of Kuwait in operation Desert Storm.

I do not deny that our own nation had its own reasons and interests for much of these acts; however, these recent events disprove any notions of an anti-Islamic U.S. foreign policy. The real reason most Arabs and Muslims are angry with us is because we recognize and support Israel's right to exist as a free nation.

Efforts at mediating any compromise between the Arabs and Israelis has been stymied by radical Arabs who will not support anything less than the destruction of Israel as a nation. Only two Arab nations have made peace and recognized Israel. The rest will not even consider recognizing a democratic Israel.

JOHN WEBER

San Diego, Calif.

X The writer, a native of Canfield, reads The Vindicator at www.vindy.com.

Even the unpatriotic have freedom of expression

EDITOR:

Thank you for publishing the uplifting and encouraging article on Sept. 15's front page regarding the attitudes of our young people towards serving and sacrificing for their country.

Mr. Lavar Warden's remarks are a particularly refreshing celebration of the wonderful freedoms we currently enjoy in this great nation. If, for instance, your country or community should come under murderous attack of unknown duration by an unknown enemy, and if thousands of your fellow Americans, innocent men, women and children, of every race, color and creed are slaughtered in the process, you are certainly free today to ignore the problem. Free, like Mr. Warden, not to defend, not to support the defense of your country. Free to run away. Though we're not sure where you'd run -- to Canada perhaps.

Apparently supported to some degree by remarks and attitudes of the majority of YSU students interviewed, Mr. Warden's enlightening pronouncement "America is great, but it's nothing to die for. I'm not suicidal," indirectly impugn the motives of the thousands of brave young men and women who presently serve America.

And if all we have here in America is, ultimately, "nothing to die for," one must pause to wonder. Are we raising a generation ready to live (the good life) on its knees rather than stand and die on its feet in defense of precious ideals?

One can only hope that Mr. Warden has properly registered with the Selective Service System and has, by now, received his draft registration acknowledgment card.

Thank you for helping our young people freely express their attitudes towards the freedom they presently enjoy.

J.R. REPUCCI

Austintown

Peace and forgiveness as important as pride

EDITOR:

We have all been touched immensely by the tragedy of Tuesday, Sept. 11. But now in the aftermath of destruction and despair, we, the next generation, must embrace the values and principles on which this country thrives.

We are called to pray, not just for ourselves and our leaders, but for all innocent people in the world who value the gift of human life. Not only are we a great country of independence and equality, but so are we members of one great nation under God.

Maturity must be granted and knowledge must be obtained, so that the future of the United States will not linger under the uncertainty of careless and selfish pride.

Red, white and blue shall not be the only colors we raise patriotically. Rather, we need to emphasize the colors of peace, love and forgiveness.

Turn not your hearts in vain, but in compassion. Turn not your minds to malicious retaliation, but to prayer.

Strength lies within the silence, not the shrewd awakenings of power.

For true power contains principles, morals and values -- uniting citizens, not by race, creed or ethnic heritage, but as supreme beings under God.

"Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me."

Amen and God bless

ANTHONY VASKO

Youngstown

X Anthony is a Chaney High School senior.

Students in ROTC, Guard take obligations to heart

EDITOR:

As a parent of two college students, a son attending Youngstown State and a daughter attending Case Western Reserve, I read with interest the Sept. 15 article, "Who would go to war? Answers vary."

My only question is why didn't the writer visit the ROTC offices at Youngstown State or Kent State to interview cadets.

The responses would not have been "I'm not suicidal," "I'm a thinker, not a doer," or "I'm sorry, I'm a wimp." The ROTC cadets at these universities take their commitment to the program very seriously. They spend their summers training at military bases all over this country with hopes of having a future in the military.

Many of them are in the National Guard giving one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. They are young men and women this country can be very proud of.

MARY GEISLER

Canfield

As nation turns to God, Falwell, Robertson speak words of condemnation

EDITOR:

During the past few decades, a great effort was made to eradicate from our society any mention of God and any state-sanctioned practice of prayer. Lawyers fought to remove any mention of God from government buildings to state mottos and toiled to minimize prayer of any kind.

Isn't it amazing that in the time of terror and tragedy our gut impulse was to call upon God. One of the first video images of the tower attack, played and replayed, had a voice in the background wailing "Oh God! Oh, God," -- primal prayer. Our president called upon us to pray. Heard more than our national anthem was the musical prayer, "God Bless America." Great numbers of us tried to find peace and comfort in churches, temples and mosques.

Never have so many people been so afraid and so dismayed. I found myself living last week with a constant tightness in my chest. I found peace in one of my favorite passages of Scripture. It says: "Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will help you. I will strengthen you. I will uphold you with the right hand of my salvation."

Sadly, rather than bringing words of hope and consolation, two of our American radical fundamentalists (Falwell and Robertson) pointed fingers of blame at groups of people they personally judge as sinners and as responsible for, as they see it, bringing God's judgment upon America. Shame on them. Rather than leading us to unity under God's tender mercies, they chose to self-righteously foment suspicion, division and hate.

DONALD L. THOMAS

Youngstown




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