November 11, 2012

Letters to the editor
Veterans fight for all of us

Veterans Day is today, Sunday, Nov. 11, and it's a chance to remind all your readers how much we owe to veterans who served, died and those now serving around the world in defense of our country.

click image to enlarge

Spc. San Pao, who served in Iraq with the Maine Army National Guard in 2004, waves from a humvee to spectators during the 2006 Veterans Day parade in Portland. “All those men and women who will serve on the tip of the spear ... We owe them everything,” a reader says.

2006 File Photo/Gregory Rec

Since its first celebration of the World War I Armistice signed on Nov. 11, the date has never been changed except when it falls on a Sunday and we celebrate it on Monday. This gives most people a three-day weekend, but how many celebrate veterans on that day? Sadly, not many, save a few military and veterans' organizations.

With the above in mind, I would ask your readers to at least take a minute to recall all those veterans you remember from the past, present and also future veterans. All those men and women who will serve on the tip of the spear. God bless them all. We owe them everything.

Frank "Smilin' Jack" Slason

Somerville

Many of the populace will soon recall the legions of soldiers and veterans as our thoughts turn to Veterans Day.

Many hidden pictures of the mind will once again haunt our memories of those who stayed. When twilight falls, I hear the call of those who stayed and fell. I think of the life they might have lived, if the sniper's bullet had missed.

On a rainy day when clouds are gray, I see the road before us lay. Those dusty roads of mud and clay. Those ghostly figures marching on, what lay ahead? What unknown force, what matter of force would determine our course?

I see Jim and Berk, who carried our "point." This morning we had shared a meal and suddenly I saw them reel, a sniper's bullet had found its mark, their journeys' end. That briefly starts, and now I'm driving down the road: a life to live today?

And then the town comes into view – with folks flourishing to and fro, and suddenly my mind has come to know, I'm home and many duties to perform. I see the kids frolicking on the lawns: I see a neighbor making hay, the sun is bright, the sky no longer gray, a place to go. I sometimes question, is this the way that Jim and Berk would go today?

I put my thoughts to rest awhile. I have a cause to cheer, for some unknown reason I must perform, a job of those who stayed: I must be brave, I must not fear. Yes, the life they left I cherish dear.

Fred Collins

U.S. Marine, retired

Westbrook

Clinging to fishing gear, milfoil easily infects lakes

Thank you for the article about the variable leaf milfoil infestation of Maine lakes ("A mission to foil the milfoil," Oct. 7). Hopefully, a sequel article will detail what and how boat inspectors (and float plane pilots) look for during inspections.

As a volunteer boat inspector I noticed two problems. First, when boats are loaded on trailers in milfoil-infested ponds, milfoil could easily become stuck between the boat and the support blocks on the trailer. This could easily be overlooked during inspections prior to launching.

Another source of infection is fishing gear. A little piece of vegetation could easily get hung up on fishing gear and end up in one's tackle box.

What do most anglers do with that little piece of "trash" when they next use their gear at a different pond? A common reaction is to discard the "trash" into the water.

The huge problem is that it only takes a small piece (the size of a pencil eraser) of variable milfoil leaf, even if it has been sitting all dried up in one's tackle box for more than a year, to come back to life when it lands in another pond. And then it multiplies and grows into the invasive problem that too many ponds and lakes have today.

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