Nation begins a new era with hope
I'm only 40 years old, but I've witnessed a few elections and inaugurations as an adult. I've been passionate about a candidate during election time, and I've been optimistic on Inauguration Day. But I have never been so excited about an Inauguration Day as I am for this one.
Like so many of us, I have so much hope and excitement in my heart as we enter this entirely new segment of our country's history, and it feels so good to be sincerely proud to be an American.
Barack Obama's term as president should change many things that have either been "broken" or just plain "wrong" with our country, including the dated attitudes and beliefs that human beings are limited by their race, religion or gender. Our country will, for the first time, be led by a very intelligent, honorable, capable and brave man who just happens to be African-American.
As we watch history unfold throughout the coming days, and as we feel this excitement, joy and optimism in our hearts, we should also reflect on the lives that were ended and those that were changed forever — all over the stupid notion that one "race" could ever be superior to another.
I can't help but think that as we also honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week, there is a very outspoken and passionate "force" over us, looking over these monumental events that we, as equals and as Americans, are being blessed with!
Cristina Fischer, Clearwater
A course correction
On this momentous occasion it should be noted how our Founding Fathers built into this country a quiet and bloodless revolution. The perfect example was this last election.
When the country gets way off the beaten path, the innate intelligence of he average voter says so at the polls. This is one of those times. It should be appreciated by all of us who will witness this at the inauguration.
Jack Levine, Palm Harbor
Airliner goes down in the Hudson
Heroic acts make all Americans proud
In less than a New York minute, the firefighters, the police and the volunteers snapped victory from the jaws of tragedy.
The captain of the plane provided a miracle, and the good people of New York finished the job.
The reward for all of the heroes is pride, success and a true sense of a job well done.
For some in New York, there is greed, a goal of power and money. Those who seek so much wealth at any cost will never enjoy the true wealth of those who risked their lives for people they had never met.
To all of the heroes, thank you for giving so much and thank you for making all of us proud to be an American on the day that a plane landed in the Hudson.
Gregory L. Allen, Largo
Airliner goes down in the Hudson
A job well done
It wasn't a miracle. No, it was professionalism. God did not need to suspend the laws of nature, because Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and his crew were on the job.
When a carpenter builds a beautiful house, it is called workmanship. When a physician or an airplane captain does their job, it is professionalism. Like Shakespeare's rose by any other name it would smell as sweet.
This is not to take anything away from Capt. Sullenberger. Rather it is a major compliment. He spent more than 30 years learning his craft and training for emergencies such as this, and when disaster reared its ugly head he took care of the problem.
John B. Mooney, Hudson
Bush, in farewell, stands by his record | Jan. 16, story
Show some respect
I continue to be amazed at the lack of respect, even downright ugly spirit, with which you report on President Bush. The man is always respectful in the way he presents himself to the public. Why couldn't you for once treat him with the respect he deserves, if for no other reason than to show respect for the office of president of the United States of America?
You describe him as "defiant'' during his farewell speech last week. I watched the entire presentation, and in no way could his manner be described as "defiant." As usual, he was courteous and sincere, qualities you apparently lack. Shame on you!
Marilyn Renner, Dunedin
Raid on trust fund hurts the neediest Jan. 14, commentary
Voting against kids
Steve Yerrid did a fine job of describing why we should not "eat our seed corn," as Lawton Chiles was fond of saying, by depleting funds set aside for our most vulnerable populations. This debate is occurring against the backdrop of a severe recession and high jobless rates which affect all of us but especially children and the elderly.
A Tampa Bay medical periodical I received last week reveals that Florida is the sixth least healthy state (Louisiana is No. 1) and our state is among those with the most severe Medicaid shortfalls, with more and more people eligible for Medicaid due to loss of jobs.
At a time when our state's infant mortality, low birthweight, child disability, uninsured children and teen pregnancy rates are rising, we risk mortgaging our future.
These measures will get noticeably worse before the next election. Then we will find out, as Tallahassee advocate Jack Levine used to say, "Who's for kids and who's just kidding?" and we will hold responsible those legislators who voted against kids.
Charles S. Mahan, Tampa
State budget cuts
I am a Canadian citizen vacationing here for a couple of months. Over the last few days I have read of the shocking cuts in budgets, particularly in education. But last Friday's letters from Florida residents protesting these cuts and one even suggesting the raising of taxes was very encouraging.
The last thing these politicians should cut is education. I suggest they visit Canada, or England or France. We pay much higher taxes but at the same time support education and medical coverage for all of our citizens. It is not a perfect system, but we strive to provide a solid education to all young people, something the legislators of Florida should seriously consider.
Gerry Ascah, Spring Hill