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Letters to the Editor, May 23 - 25


Tears of rage

EDITOR: In 1865, in remembrance of the 600,000 Union and Southern soldiers killed in the Civil War, Congress created the first Memorial Day.

Since then, our nation has found it necessary to “celebrate” an additional 155 Memorial Days as the number of Americans killed in foreign wars continues to grow. It could easily be named “National Mourning Day” as we near 1,400,000 U.S. soldiers killed in combat since the first Memorial Day. If this number, which averages about a 107 Americans soldiers killed every day since 1865, doesn’t get your attention, consider that it doesn’t include the over 90,000,000 civilians killed worldwide in WW’s I and II alone. That’s a lot of men and women who were simply wanting to live their lives, raise a child or two and maybe play a game of catch in their back yard.

By now, one might think we’d had enough of this continual killing-off of our greatest national treasure, our very own children. But no, even with all that horrific carnage and destruction, missed lessons that should have been learned, we Americans somehow found it OK to send our offspring off to fight in the 37 wars we’ve been in since the end of WWII.

Maybe we are just plain stupid.

Or, sadly, maybe we just love war too much to quit because incredibly, we are still at it. We see no contradiction to our Christian ethic while we continue to allow our Congress to send our sons and daughters off to feed the dogs of war in various hell holes across the globe -- foreign counties that defy civility, have not a trace of human kindness or empathy.

In Rick Atkinson’s book on the war in Western Europe, “The Guns at Last Light,” he tells of Patricia O’Malley, who was a year old when her father, Major Richard James O’Malley, a battalion commander in the 12th Infantry, was killed by a sniper in Normandy. She later wrote of seeing his headstone for the first time in the cemetery at Colleville, above Omaha Beach.

“I cried for the joy of being there and the sadness of my father’s death. I cried for all the times I needed a father and never had one. I cried for all the words I had wanted to say and wanted to hear but had not. I cried and cried.”

How many more tears need to be shed by America’s mothers, fathers, widows and parentless children before we tell Congress that we’ve shed all the tears we ever want to shed?

Stephen Kyle

Sonoma

Some gave all

EDITOR: The anticipation is starting to be felt everywhere in our great country. People are planning. Did we make sure of the reservations at our favorite campground? I guess we better check the tires and the pressure if we are going to take the travel trailer to the lake. What do we need to take if we are going to open up our summer cabin in the mountains? Should we take the boat this Memorial weekend or wait until the weather is going to be warmer?

It seems like everyone anticipates this three day weekend as a new beginning to the summer season. Travel, vacations, preparations for food, proper clothing, bedding and cleaning supplies and getting things ready for the anticipated fun times with friends and family. Clean the barbeque, buy charcoal and don’t forget the hamburgers, hot dogs and all the trimmings.

No one loves a three day vacation more than me, but this year I have actually thought of the real reason we “celebrate” Memorial Day. It goes much deeper than all of the good feelings we prepare ourselves for this weekend. I now, probably because of my age, start to think of why we have a Memorial Day.

I’m thinking of all of the heroes that gave their lives to defend this great United States of America. Yes, thinking of the young men and women that lie under hundreds of thousands of gravestones in all parts of this world. Could we just take the time to really think of them this year? Would it be too much trouble to go to your local florist or super market and purchase some flowers or, better yet, to cut some of those flowers in your garden and drive to the nearest cemetery and place them upon someone’s grave that made us free to celebrate this Memorial Day? We don’t have to know them or be a member of the family or even friends of the family, we just need to respect them for what they gave so that we might celebrate being free.

Now, go do the right thing and feel better because of it. There is a phrase that I wish that I had made up that truly applies to this special Memorial Day: “All gave some; some gave all.” It’s our time to give back by just remembering them. It will make your weekend so much more meaningful.

God Bless America!

Rich Caselli

Sonoma

‘Very grateful’ to SVH

EDITOR: Just a brief appreciation of our hospital’s emergency room: Over seven years ago, my wife Maria (now my late wife), fell in the bedroom one night and injured her arm. I called the paramedics and asked that she be taken to Sonoma Valley Hospital, though she and I were Kaiser members. At the ER she received prompt and compassionate attention. It was found that she had dislocated her shoulder and cracked the humerus, the upper arm bone. I am very grateful that we have in Sonoma a medical facility providing outstanding, highly competent care.

James Pendergast

Sonoma