A Wall with the power to move

A Wall with the power to move

Recently I was one of per haps 300 bikers privileged to help escort “The Moving Wall,” Vietnam Veterans Memorial half-scale traveling replica from Harley Davidson Biketown in Austintown for display in Hermitage, Pa.

The procession wound through the main streets of smaller towns like a cortege, allowing many observing from the heartland to pay their respects in their own personal ways. The monument and long line of rumbling motorcycles slowed but never completely stopped; our feet never touched the ground until we reached our destination, thank to local police, sheriff’s deputies, Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Youngstown Police MC Division, Pennsylvania State Police and some I may I have overlooked.

Driving along I was so moved thinking about my friends who had gone to serve in Nam and returned forever changed — quiet, sometimes aloof — with eyes of ancient souls. My, the awful things they must have seen and had to do in the name of war. No parades... no “thanks for your service.” How shameful.

Fortunately, time has not completely run out for redemption. I watched as hundreds of vehicles in the opposite lanes respectfully pulled over. Many police and others in uniform, along with citizen patriots saluted the 58,272 whose names appear on that Wall — “The Moving Wall,” the last roll call for those who did not return home alive. Sad as it was, it was also uplifting to know that Americans really do still care.

I am humbled by those who gave their lives in sacrifice in the service of our country, and I give thanks to their families as well. Let us remember to thank the living also — those who returned “intact” for want of a better word — and, those who came back injured, disabled and/or mentally tortured by demons unimaginable.

God Bless all vets — past and present, all branches and all conflicts. Thank you for your courage, dedication and many sacrifices.

Dennis E. Beck, Youngstown

Auto bailout helped many

I have noticed a trend over the last several months while reading the letters to the editor. The letters all have political overtones and talking points concerning the loans given to General Motors and Chrysler back in 2008-09. I suspect that most of the authors are supporters of Mitt Romney because they are trying to prove a fallacy, that only UAW workers benefitted from President Obama’s major role in preventing the auto industry from a catastrophic failure. All anyone has to do is think rationally and not Romneyally to realize that more workers who are not unionized benefitted from the loans and the saving of a critical and iconic American industry.

Take a moment and think about everywhere that our local UAW workers and the retired UAW members spend their hard-earned paychecks and pension monies on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The list is staggering. I could fill this entire page with it. Parts makers, grocery stores, department stores, restaurants, doctors, dentists, landscapers, cable companies, auto dealers, newspapers, etc. etc. Think about the thousands and thousands of workers employed in these businesses not only locally but nationwide. They are not UAW members, but if GM had gone out of business, every single one of them and their families would have been negatively impacted and the economy, especially in our area, would have been devastated.

Some of the letter writers made the Romney argument that a “managed bankruptcy” was better than loans but in a managed bankruptcy, anything can happen, including closing of plants and wages being cut drastically.

To try to argue this lie in our area seems totally foolish considering the large population of UAW members and retirees here, but there is no doubt in my mind that many people will believe it and vote against their own interests. The results of the auto industry surviving are everywhere you look.

Tim O’Hara, Austintown

So who is financing ballot issue?

We already knew that a coalition of big labor and liberal special interest groups were behind a proposed constitutional redistricting amendment in Ohio. Now we know how much they are willing to spend to create a new system that favors their hand-picked candidates for legislative offices.

The campaign finance report just filed by “Voters First Ohio” shows that, of the $2 million raised so far by the coalition, 98 percent of it came from Ohio’s big labor unions.

If anyone thought that the new system proposed by this coalition was going to be fair and in the best interests of all Ohioans, think again. These kinds of statistics don’t lie.

This coalition of unions and liberal special interest groups is pushing a constitutional amendment for November’s ballot that would overhaul the way we draw state and federal legislative district boundary lines. The coalition wants you to believe the process for selecting its proposed 12-member redistricting commission would be wide open to Ohio citizens and would keep politics out of the process.

They point to language that says “Any Ohio citizen shall be eligible to serve as a member of the Commission, unless disqualified by subparagraph two.” When you read further, you discover that, in fact, millions of Ohioans would have no chance to serve on the commission thanks to “subparagraph two.”

And as far as the “politics” angle, state and federal elected officials and their employees are barred from serving on the commission, yet locally-elected politicians and their employees are not excluded from service. They can be just as politically motivated as state- or federal-level folks.

The potential for political abuse would definitely be worse than what we have now.

Cathy Lukasko, Brookfield

The most important resource

In a letter last Sunday, a writ- er spoke out against using corn for fuel. In her letter, she brought up the subject of drought and asked if, during a drought like the one we are now experiencing, we should sacrifice “food for gasoline.”

I am much more concerned about the use of fresh water in the process of hydraulic-fracture drilling. Of all of the water on this planet, only about 2.5 percent is fresh water, and about half of that is locked up in the polar ice caps. A much smaller percentage is found in underground aquifers and wells and an even smaller percentage, in our lakes and rivers.

Yet we see nothing wrong with allowing the oil and gas industry to pollute this very limited supply of fresh water with chemicals, some of which are endocrine disrupters and known human carcinogens. Those who express concerns about the health issues that the pollution of this life-sustaining resource pose are being appeased by the industry. They tell us how they are “protecting” our water supplies. They tell us about new methods, including one that cleans their “produced water” with ozone, are making it possible for drillers to “recycle and reuse” this water.

But the poisonous chemicals that are being used in fracking cannot be removed completely from the water. Even if the companies are reusing the “produced water” that has been “cleaned,” each use adds more chemicals to the already poisoned water. When is the point reached when this water can no longer be reused — even in the fracking process? Where is the point of no reuse?

I love corn, but I need fresh water. Nothing will grow without it, and no one can live without it. We need to start demanding some serious, nonbiased information about what the oil and gas industry is doing to this source of life. Until we get such information, we need to ban the process that could be poisoning our water, food, every living creature and us.

Pauline Beck, West Middlesex, Pa.