Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Honoring our fallen

Almost 150 years ago, Memorial Day grew from the ashes of the Civil War. Decades later, its meaning and importance endure.

Honoring the sacrifices of our fallen servicemen and women is honoring everything they have fought to preserve time and time again: our lives, liberty and the right to the pursuit of happiness. Today, we take a moment to pay a tribute that cannot begin to match the boundlessness of what they have given.

War has touched every corner of America. More than 2,200 servicemen and women have died in the Afghan conflict alone. In October, Spc. Brittany Gordon of St. Petersburg died from wounds suffered after a suicide bomber hit her unit. She was 24.

But while today's memorial parades and ceremonies are meant to honor the sacrifices of our fallen heroes, we should not forget the service of today's veterans and soldiers who are facing their own challenges. A recent census in Hillsborough County found that one-fifth of the county's 2,275 homeless people are veterans.

Nor should we neglect the bleak reality of mental health conditions in the military. Last year, suicides displaced combat fatalities as the leading cause of death, and the Huffington Post has reported that one veteran dies by suicide every day. Posttraumatic stress disorder continues to cause pain, and the number of sexual assaults is staggering. More should be done on all these fronts so that a culture of silence doesn't overwhelm soldiers and veterans.

There are reasons for hope. Though the unemployment rate among verterans still exceeds the national average, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden's Joining Forces project has helped more than 290,000 military spouses and veterans get hired or retrained. Local projects and national aid have helped decrease homelessness among veterans significantly. These are the efforts our service members deserve.

Today, as we herald the unofficial beginning of summer, many are remembering the unfathomable pain of losing of a brother, friend, mother or child to war. Indeed, over the course of more than two centuries, more than 1.2 million Americans have given their lives to protect this country and its values.

Memorial Day reminds us to find light in the darkness, to honor and celebrate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. After all, Memorial Day's date was chosen to ensure a bounty of blooming flowers with which to decorate the graves of those we've lost. The perennial beauty of these flowers reminds us year after year of so much: the profound pain of loss, the courage and strength of American veterans, our deep gratefulness, and the cost of this free, united land.

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Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18

Another voice: Why just Florida?

Cynicism has always been a part of politics, but rarely are politicians so brazen and self-serving as President Donald Trump and his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, have been over the past week. First they announced a new offshore drilling plan that ...
Published: 01/16/18
Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Today’s holiday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t be more timely. At a moment when the nation’s civic dialogue is choking on personal and political division, it is hard to remember an earlier time when role models were role m...
Published: 01/15/18

Another voice: 38 minutes of fear in Hawaii

In 1938, Orson Welles panicked the nation with a false alarm about a Martian invasion in the radio broadcast The War of the Worlds. That was farfetched, of course. But what happened on Saturday, sadly, was not so hard to imagine — or believe.Authorit...
Published: 01/14/18
Updated: 01/16/18
Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

As it has for decades, Florida stubbornly clings to an inhumane, inefficient and indefensible system of justice that permanently sentences more than 1.5 million residents to second-class citizenship. This state automatically revokes the right to vote...
Published: 01/13/18
Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

President Donald Trump’s vulgar outbursts during a White House meeting on immigration are racist and indefensible no matter how he parses them. They are not presidential, they undermine U.S. foreign relations and they do not reflect America’s values....
Published: 01/12/18

Editorial: Pinellas commission stands up for accountability

The Pinellas County Commission has gotten the message that it should not be a rubber stamp. Commissioners sent a clear signal this week they will demand more accountability of local agencies by refusing to approve nominees for the board for CareerSou...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Editorial: Progress on Tampa Bay graduation rates

Tampa Bay’s four school districts all reached a significant milestone last school year: achieving graduation rates over 80 percent. It’s believed to be the first time Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties all surpassed that threshold, a...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Take deal; build wall

President Donald Trump says he is optimistic a deal can be struck to shield "Dreamers," the young undocumented immigrants whose lives he put in jeopardy by stripping them of work permits and deportation protection, beginning March 5. His price, and t...
Published: 01/10/18
Updated: 01/11/18