On this Veterans Day may we all be reminded of the sacrifices our young men and women have endured to keep this country free over the years.

Being old, its hard not to include everyone from all the past wars up to our present conflicts. But to this veteran, the past is World War II, Korea and of course Vietnam.

To you younger readers, the past will be Iraq, Afghanistan and, unfortunately, probably more in your future, though I hope not.

Remember my U.S. Marine Corps buddy’s words to me after the Chosin Reservoir disaster in Korea circa 1950: “Jack, think anybody will remember I was one of the Chosin few?” I joked to him, “You mean the ‘frozen Chosin?’ But then I got serious and said to him “How could they not! I will!”

God bless and take care of all our young men and women now serving.

Frank D. Slason, Somerville

 

Veterans Day, Nov. 11, always brings conflicting thoughts to my mind. On one hand, I think of those who have served and still serve our country. I remember their sacrifices and hardships and honor their commitment to America.

When I was a teacher, I tried to help my students understand why this was such an important holiday — not just a day off from school.

But I also remember that it used to be called Armistice Day, before the succession of wars that America has been involved in made the name Veterans Day more suitable. And that we are involved in a seemingly endless war.

One conflict leads to another. The thousands of American casualties in Iraq recede into memory with the specter of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan.

Our leaders need to hear our troubling concerns.

We elect them to represent us, after all, and they have committed our children and our tax dollars to what has become and on-going military presence.

As we honor our veterans on Nov. 11, we can take a moment to call, email or drop a postcard to our senators, representatives and President to let them know our thoughts.

Carl H. Smith, Bowdoinham

 

Promoting what is good about Maine helps jobs

The Business Saturday section of the October 22 edition of this newspaper reported that Maine’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent in September, the 18th lowest unemployment rate in the country.

Maine gained 3,000 jobs “between August and September.” Perhaps this is surprising.

Not to diminish the plight of the unemployed and the accompanying hardships of joblessness, this is a significant statistic largely unreported and ignored by state government. According to Republicans under the leadership of Gov. LePage, the Maine economy is a terrible place to do business subject to onerous regulations imposed by decades of Democratic incumbency. Maine citizens abuse the welfare system in large numbers and protect their slothful ways through an election process rife with fraud.

With cheerleaders like this who would expand, relocate, or start a business in Maine? Despite continued bad-mouthing of our state from the Blaine House it appears this is happening.

Making a case for deregulation, cutting social services restricting access to the polls, and catering to business interests would be much more difficult if the message from Republicans was that 92.5 percent employment in Maine is better than 32 other states and showing improvement. Downplaying good news is more effective to passing the Republican agenda than acknowledging signs of improvement.

There is much work to be done.

We can achieve the goal of full employment by promoting what is good about Maine, our work force and our economy while working to improve legitimate aspects of education, regulation, social services and our environment.

“Maine, the way life should be” and “Open for business” need not be mutually exclusive slogans.

Effectively combined and promoted we could improve both lifestyle and prosperity by achieving the proper balance of these conditions.

We will not get there by disparaging our image, but we might just enact the Republican agenda.

Tom Foley, Cumberland Foreside

 

We all are responsible for helping feed the hungry

The Oct. 16 column (Bill Nemitz, “York County won’t put money where mouths are”) regarding York County Shelter Programs funding stated: “The money for the agencies is sitting in the county’s budget. The commissioners simply refuse to spend it.”

And later on, it said, “Rather than spend the reinstated money, they’ve been sitting on it ever since.”

Facts:

The commissioners voted to fund the social service agencies through the end of the agencies’ fiscal years. This was a compromise position taken after the Budget Committee’s action.

As a result, most of the money has been spent.

Two of the agencies were funded through this calendar year; others were funded through Sept. 30, 2011, and the shelter was funded ($15,934) through June 30, 2011.

The column asked, “In these troubled times, who is responsible for helping to feed the hungry?”

The answer is — we all are. As individuals, we should all give what we can.

In Maine, as a home rule state, property taxes can only be appropriated by the people at town meeting. Most towns in York County give generously.

The five towns in District 5 donate many thousands annually, all through town meeting.

Now that the towns no longer need to send property tax dollars to the county for this purpose, those funds are free to be appropriated directly to the agencies.

At the meeting in Eliot where the warrant article for outside agencies was considered, several were there to present requests. The shelter was notably absent, but was funded anyway.

As a substantial corporation with more than $5 million in assets, $3 million in revenue, a $1 million fund balance and a $1.8 million payroll, the shelter has the resources to actively fund raise. They should do so in a positive manner.

Everyone should attend their town meeting, especially those who live in towns that historically give nothing, and advocate for the support of these agencies.

Gary Sinden, York County Commissioner, District 5, Eliot