Veterans Day is approaching, and what do we do about it? Well, a few dedicated people meet, pray and acknowledge what our veterans have done for all of us.

That being said, it is becoming just another holiday celebrated by the masses not for our veterans, but to give most a day off — if their bosses let them have it. I won’t chastise them for that, but I wish people would remember those who have gone before us, as those who come after us will also hopefully be remembered.

So remember on Nov. 11 to honor all veterans who served their country. If not for them, we would be speaking German or Japanese. I had the honor of serving with the finest people this country has ever produced. And to our adversaries, beware!

Frank D. Slason

Somerville

Cutler’s China ties worth praise, not unfair criticism

As a member of the Maine Democratic Party, I was offended by its recent mailing criticizing independent candidate Eliot Cutler for his involvement with China.

China is Maine’s third-largest trading partner, there are many Mainers with interests in China, and a Maine delegation in China was featured on the front page of a recent New York Times.

For the past decade, I have organized and conducted seminars for some 400 Maine K-12 teachers, bringing the study of China, Japan and Korea into their classrooms.

Maine benefits when its political leaders promote our interests in the “world beyond the water’s edge.”

Matthew M. Gardner Jr.

Education Chairman, World Affairs Council of Maine

and former Director of Asian Studies, Georgetown University

Yarmouth

CMP not forthcoming about ‘smart meter’ efffects

The Oct. 2 article, “Smart meters are safe, says CMP,” implies that there is a lack of hard evidence that the electromagnetic fields produced by smart meters have an effect on humans. This is simply untrue.

There are hundreds of studies published in respected scientific journals that clearly show such effects do exist. The link between childhood leukemia and EMF exposure is particularly strong, and it is not unlikely that a crib could be positioned a few feet or less from a smart meter. Is this the “junk science” to which Dr. Dora Mills, the state’s director of public health, refers? Surely not.

But if indeed distorted or fabricated information ends up getting “virally transmitted through the Internet,” perhaps this is because CMP is not forthcoming about the project, to say the least. Installation of these meters has already begun in Portland, and CMP has made no announcement to this effect in the form of correspondence with its customers.

Although general information about the installation is posted on the CMP website, who would know to look for it if not for being tipped off by a “viral” e-mail? If the meters are so safe, so environmentally and economically beneficial, why not publicize them openly? What’s with all the secrecy?

Could it be because these meters have met with such resistance in other states, some banning them entirely? It is very kind of CMP to offer to hire a consultant to review the available evidence in response to their customers’ concerns, though it’s not difficult to imagine what the conclusions of such a review would be.

Helena Merglova

Portland

Constitutional concerns are in everyone’s ballpark

Jonah Goldberg’s Oct. 2 column, “Who interprets the Constitution?” is absolutely spot-on.

The Constitution is not just another set of laws. Laws constrain the actions of men; the Constitution provides the framework for (and in that sense, constrains) the government: What type of government (a republic), how organized (executive, legislative, judicial branches), etc.

To Mr. Goldberg’s point, those who craft and pass laws — legislators — should be the first line of defense of the Constitution. They have, after all, taken an oath to preserve, protect and defend it.

But when — as, increasingly, they seem wont to do — they fail in that duty and pass legislation that is outside the bounds of the Constitution, the second line of defense lies with the veto power of the executive branch.

When the executive fails in his sworn duty and signs such a measure into law, only then does the Constitution’s final bulwark, the judiciary, get involved. But it shouldn’t have to get to that point. Legislators who write and pass, and executives who approve, laws that they should realize (if they would read the Constitution) are outside the bounds of the Constitution, are the ones at fault here.

Examples of this inability or unwillingness to read and understand the Constitution (“Congress shall make no law ” ) unfortunately abound. Two recent examples include District of Columbia vs. Heller, and McDonald vs. Chicago, two rulings upholding the rights plainly recognized by the Second Amendment.

It is costly, inefficient and fundamentally wrong for legislators — at all levels of government — to blithely assert that the constitutionality of their handiwork is best left up to the courts. That stance is a terrible abdication of their responsibilities and sworn duty.

Russell Frank

Gorham

Latin’s a lingua franca that opens many doors

I very much appreciated the recent article by Kelley Bouchard on the topic of “Livening up a dead language,” and am delighted that at least one Portland school offers substantial Latin and even some Greek.

I was brought up in the United Kingdom (many years ago) and began Latin at age 9; by age 15, Latin and Ancient Greek were my major subjects. (My school had three streams: mathematics and science, modern languages, and classics. Our classics stream was much the smallest and somewhat despised by others, but we were proud of it!) We still studied English, of course, and later added a little German and economics.

Latin is a major source of the English language and the major source of French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. It helps us understand the structure of language and meanings of words. Greek is more beautiful but Latin is more powerful. Latin is still important, and yes, it can be fun!

Michael C. Luton

Portland