We'd like to address the subject of showing proper respect for the U.S. flag. With the celebration of Independence Day upon us, we feel people need to be reminded.
Recently we stopped at a gas station on Gulf to Bay Boulevard in Clearwater. Even though we were paying at the pump, we went inside to tell the clerk that we found the condition of the American flags being flown at this business to be a disgrace.
The clerk did not seem very concerned about our complaint; and he even seemed to not understand what we were talking about. There were at least four American flags being flown at that location and all of them were either faded and/or torn and tattered. We wonder if these businesses are flying American flags out of patriotism, or solely to attract attention to their business. Either way, they should be committed to keeping them in good condition _ or not fly them at all.
This particular gas station is not alone. Unfortunately there are many more such businesses in the Tampa Bay area. Next time you drive by a business (or residence for that matter) that is flying an American Flag that is in a deteriorated condition, we invite you to stop and tell them that you feel the flag should be replaced.
God Bless America and all the freedom we enjoy that this great American flag represents, as well as being representative of many American military veterans who fought for our freedom and thousands who gave their lives to defend this country and Old Glory.
Wayne & Doreen Brett, Clearwater
Past sacrifices, future challenges
As we celebrate the Fourth of July, I am wondering what our thoughts are as we look back at previous years when we were at war.
As a veteran of World War II, I cannot forget the quarter-of-a-million wooden crosses. That's the price we Americans paid for victory in World War II.
Our flag carries the blood of many races, colors and creeds. Independence Day dawns in a world filled with uncertainties, some fears and agitators.
Our nation is being tested. Its dignity and its declaration that all people are created equal face a challenge thrown at us by alien nations. "Are people created equal?" we are asked.
Many fail to realize that many races, colors and creeds contributed to our freedom. Remember them.
Laurence L. Kirk, St. Petersburg
A right to rockets
July Fourth is the main annual event where many Americans take the time to practice the handling and detonation of explosive devices.
The event is always a reminder that the language of the Second Amendment can be applied to explosives as well as to firearms. ". . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Explosive "arms" may be increasingly important for law abiding citizens in view of the arsenals that can be used by criminals or a tyrannical government. The rockets in the "rockets' red glare" in the National Anthem were explosive devices used against the British in the War of 1812. The climax of most public fireworks displays is when the National Anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, is played.
Today, private displays of the rockets' red glare are generally illegal, though the laws are flagrantly ignored.
May your Fourth be filled with the rockets' red glare and bombs bursting in air, giving proof through the night that your flag and your freedom are still there.
Rex Curry, Tampa
Bring the troops home
Re: House votes to pull U.S. troops from Bosnia after June 1998, June 25.
The House voted on June 24 to cut off the U.S. troop deployment to Bosnia after June of 1998. Excuse me? 1998? I thought President Clinton, our righteous leader, gave his word that they would return no later than the fall of 1996.
Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot; we are not holding him to his word. What he says and what he does are two different things continually. But that's okay. It is just another little instance of a drain on our taxes. And who cares?
Well, this is one veteran who thinks our men and women stationed over there should be brought home.
Rep. Floyd Spence, R-S.C., stated in the article, "It is important that the Clinton administration be held accountable for the nation's foreign policy." Wouldn't that be refreshing?
Robert E. Guthrie, Largo
Be responsible with tax money
For several years I have become known as the commissioner who represents the taxpayer in Dunedin. When elected officials fail to bring financial problems forward for resolution, problems never get resolved and, indeed, they get worse.
It is amazing to me to read in the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune about the financial problems facing our neighboring county to the east, Hillsborough. It seems, if the articles are correct, that Hillsborough County's water system is so much in debt that it is facing the possibility of a reduced bond rating with a debt of over $5,000 per customer. This same county also has some of the highest water and sewer rates in all of Florida. It goes without saying that given this financial problem with the water system, significant improvements for water supply that may be needed in the future may be out of reach.
Is this not the same county that I read is supplying funds to build a stadium and now will jointly fund the purchase, repair and maintenance of the old Gandy Bridge span along with its partner Pinellas? My experience has shown that it is very hard to say "no" to a minority group of organized citizens with a special interest, but I suggest that in this case it would have been appropriate.
How can responsible elected officials move forward with more expense if the most critical government function of water supply is not resolved? The political answer, of course, is that these are separate funds and therefore accounted for separately. My experience is that an agency that is not frugal with one fund is also not frugal with all funds. Adding debt and expense to any fund further obligates the overall finances of the agency.
I suggest to our friends to the east that they do some strategic planning and fix their current financial problems before they add more financial obligations to the stack. It may not be too late to reconsider the long-term economic consequences to the taxpayers of both counties.
Tom Osborne, city commissioner, Dunedin
A job for the parents
Thank you, Elijah Gosier, for your column of June 28: If home has no lessons, curfew has no remedy.
The burden does fall on the parents _ the home. Let us begin.
Amanda Freehling, Dunedin
Comics and political correctness
Re: "Gen. Halftrack' to do an about-face, by Howard Troxler, June 26.
Your report on Mort Walker, the cartoonist of "Beetle Bailey," was interesting from several points of view.
+ You chose to self-censor and take this cartoon away from us several years ago. It was one that we thoroughly enjoyed. We have been making a survey among some women as to whether they found Gen. Halftrack insulting. All reported, "No, he is dumb." Anyone concerned about his "harassment," "ogling," etc., is obviously as stupid as the general. No man has objected to Beetle Bailey getting the heck beaten out of him by the sergeant since, most of the time, he deserved it. What is the matter with people who want to make an issue out of everything regarding gender?
Did you ever think of doing some research as to whether readers find your comics funny? Did you ever think about asking us how we felt about your treatment of the Sunday section? Why do you have to wait for complaints like this?
Outside and inside the comic pages, we are tired of newspapers redesigning life to fit their view of political correctness. The Russians tried this. It was called "socialist realism." That meant telling things the way they were supposed to be, not the way they really were. Look where it got them.
Also, one final thought: You've got a columnist who is affiliated with the American Civil Liberties Union. That organization is against censorship. It fights restrictions on pornography. How about asking Robyn Blumner to do a column telling us why your deciding to take out "Beetle Bailey" because you "found it to be objectionable" is not censorship?
Earl and Arlene Ditmars, Dunedin
Put "Bleachers' out to pasture
I'd like to add my vote to the others who have written or called concerning Steve Moore's cartoon "In the Bleachers." Admittedly, I was disappointed when Don Addis stopped drawing "Bent Offerings," and I know that his is a hard act to follow.
I do believe that I have kept an open mind (I have learned to really like "Pickles") and given "Bleachers" a fair chance; however, I no longer will bother even glancing in that corner as I consider it a waste of my time.
Please, find something better than this cartoon!
Ernie South, Largo
Lawmakers are the real target
Re: Trudeau steps over the line, letter, June 30.
The letter writer misses the entire point of Garry Trudeau's humor. In the "Doonesbury" strip cited, Trudeau is poking fun at our Congress, not an unfortunate soul with a dreadful disease. Just think how ludicrous it is for a member of the House of Representatives to be in such a state of memory loss and no one notices! Only her absent and dysfunctional family is aware of the problem. The joke is on the Congress, not Lacy.
Bob Spainhower, Safety Harbor
Bonkers over Beanie Babies
Re: The comic strip "Marvin," by Tom Armstrong, June 23.
Pssst! It isn't only the kids who are causing riots in the stores over the ever-popular "Beanie Babies." Grown women are also causing riots, though they have not been contained only to the stores.
"Beanie mania" has given birth to a new kind of "chaser" out on the road. Some women have actually chased UPS trucks, in hot pursuit of those hard-to-find "Beanie Babies."
As Harry Caray would say, "Holy cow!"
JoAnn Frank, Clearwater
Of a different bent
I don't get the fuss over Don Addis' "Bent Offerings."
It was about as funny as "Family Circle" or "Snuffy Smith." It never once gave me even a slight chuckle or smile.
Scott Hannen, Clearwater
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