Military kids also make sacrifices
I just returned from an outing to the Palm Harbor Post Office. My three children and I were sending a package to my husband in Afghanistan. This isn't our first deployment and I am sure it won't be our last, but we trudge on through and survive it the best we can.
I am writing because it's important to recognize the kindness of strangers. There was a woman behind us in line who struck up a conversation with my little boys. They told her all about their daddy in Afghanistan. When she found out where my husband was, she told my boys to be proud of him for serving his country and to make sure they put lots of kisses in his package. She then announced to the whole post office where he was, as if it was a badge of honor for my boys. I could tell by the looks on their faces how important that made them feel.
They each got a coloring book from the woman at the counter and I got some peace while they looked through it. I want to thank that woman not just for acknowledging the sacrifice my husband makes, but for acknowledging the one my children make. In my opinion, some of the biggest sacrifices that have been made during this time of war have been made by the children of the military. They never chose this life but they live it with grace and eloquence.
So thank you, lady in the post office. Although it probably didn't mean much to you, it meant the world to us.
Mrs. Lamark Stillings, Palm Harbor
Veterans deserve respect from all
During the Fourth of July festivities at Safety Harbor, I was shocked at the disrespect shown to our military veterans.
Next to the marina are park benches and three pavilions providing comfort. In the middle of the area is a memorial to our military veterans, with pavers showing World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts. Names are etched into the pavers and bricks with veterans' names and service information are also located around the memorial.
Arriving early, we sat at a park bench and I went over to pay my respects to the veterans, walking on the walkway within the memorial. As festivalgoers arrived, many decided the memorial area was the best position to watch the fireworks. Families brought chairs, food and drink, parking their belongings over the names of the various warriors. A mother brought her daughter to the World War II plaque to show her the name of a loved one, and the family sitting on top of the memorial paver reluctantly moved to allow them to find the name they were honoring.
Each paver was covered with cigarette butts and garbage. We watched a gentleman in a three-wheeled bicycle sit at the top of the memorial with his hand on the flagpole and his front tire resting on a memorial paver. We left way before the fireworks with our heads down in disbelief.
David G. Johnson (proud Vietnam veteran), Clearwater
Re: Treat homelessness with multiple methods | editorial, July 6
Low-cost housing offers most help
The problem is one that will continue to grow, unless we find jobs for those who really want to work and do not want charity. However, in the past couple of years, we have been swamped with illegals who came here to live off the United States. The real problem is that the federal government allowed this to happen. They didn't come here unannounced.
So now we have more people out of work, as well as many who do not want to work. Of course, as the article stated, many are unable to work due to illness or war-related health and mental problems, but these are the persons we should help, not the ones who refuse to work. The Bible states, "If man doesn't work, he doesn't eat." These are the people we need to care for and not able-bodied men and women who just want to live off the county.
I really didn't see any positive suggestions from the city leaders. What good is a business crime watch if the so-called residents live in the woods because they have no other shelter? They are not committing a crime by seeking shelter in the woods. I seldom see them sleeping in alleys anywhere today. I see that in New York, but not in Tarpon Springs or Clearwater. Of course, we are not there in the wee hours of the morning, either.
As to distributing information about county services, that's not always good either, as too many who don't really need it will suddenly appear, and you can't ask a hungry person why he's hungry. As to panhandling, it's been around as long as most of us older folks have, and you'd need a cop on every corner to stop it. If a person is brave enough to ask a stranger for money, you won't be able to stop it. Future workshops could help, but low-cost housing would help more than anything else that was mentioned in the article.
Why does the county always have money for new recreation facilities (new stadium, for instance), but not for creating jobs for the needy, which would help everyone? Working at a soup kitchen, I know we have many really hungry people out there, and they need jobs, or this dilemma will go on forever.
Fran Glaros-Sharp, Clearwater