Monday, April 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Remembering their sacrifices for liberty

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Memorial Day began as a means to reunite a divided nation. Americans came together, regardless of where they called home, to commemorate those who died in battle. Today marks the last Memorial Day this country will have a significant troop presence in Afghanistan, as the military is scheduled to leave by year's end. The nation has spent more than a decade entangled in a conflict of unexpected duration, magnitude and loss of life. This is another opportunity to reach across political divides to honor those who died to defend our democracy and protect our freedoms.

In a burst of patriotism, we will gather over picnics and in parades to honor and celebrate the sacrifices of our military servicemen and women. Today we are a country united in pride and gratitude, forever indebted to those who put their nation first, time and time again. We leave behind our ballots and beliefs to appreciate something that is greater than our ourselves — a nation that stands for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We pause to remember the fallen heroes, the many who have given their lives to protect those ideals.

The volatility of war has taken many of Florida's own. More than 2,200 American troops have died in the Afghan war alone. In February, Sgt. 1st Class Roberto C. Skelt of York died from wounds suffered when he was struck by enemy fire. He was 41.

We also stop to thank the service members who have safely returned home from combat, marked by physical and emotional scars.

This Memorial Day comes as the Department of Veterans Affairs is embroiled in a disgraceful scandal over waiting lists for care and other allegations of mismanagement. The transition from military to civilian life is often trying, and there is no reason for bureaucratic shortcomings to further complicate that process.

The VA backlog has shined light on the silent struggles of our veterans and forced Americans to think about how we treat those who have returned from combat. Our nation has a responsibility to do right by our veterans when they come home.

More than half of the 2.6 million Americans who fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan deal with physical or mental health problems arising from their service, feel disconnected from civilian life and believe the government is failing to meet the needs of veterans, according to a poll by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation. It can be easy for veterans to become discouraged and detached, to slip into the darkness of homelessness, addiction and violence. Many struggle to find a new sense of purpose after the camaraderie of a troop is gone.

The quality of veterans benefits demonstrates how compassionate we are as a people, and how determined we are to care for the men and women and who have protected us. This Memorial Day, we must renew our promise that military service is a sacrifice we will never forget.

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Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18