Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Updated: 17 minutes ago

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17