Ahh, summertime, and with the season also comes the July Fourth holiday, when we celebrate America’s independence and everything good about the greatest nation ever. America may have many faults, but I’d stack the land that I love up against any other nation in the world.

As summer is short in Maine, it is also a busy time of year squeezing in as many non-wintertime projects, ball games, vacations and outdoor recreational activities as possible. With the Independence Day holiday come myriad festivities, all to be crammed into an already hectic schedule.

I would like to ask everyone to take the time during the barbecues, fireworks and parades to honor the sacrifices made by so many by respectfully standing when our American flag passes gallantly by and even say a little prayer thanking Almighty God for America’s many blessings.

Dave Ricker

Wiscasset

Mainers will soon join all other Americans in celebrating the birth of the United States on the Fourth of July.

In 1776, the Founding Fathers felt compelled to explain to mankind the “causes” that impelled them toward their separation from England. They maintained that not only are all men created equal but they were also “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Unfortunately for many in this country, the fight for these “unalienable rights” didn’t end with U.S. independence. It took almost 200 years for blacks to enjoy all of those rights, and that was only after a Civil War in the 19th century, civil rights marches in the 1960s and the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act.

For women, it took the suffragettes of the early 20th century and the subsequent passage of the 19th Amendment for them to enjoy full citizenship and all their “unalienable rights.”

Now another group of Americans is asking us to fulfill the promises of the Declaration of Independence. Same-sex couples want to fully participate in the joys and benefits associated with a legally recognized marriage, thus allowing them to pursue their happiness to the same degree as everyone else.

Please do not let the ideals of July 4 be forgotten at the ballot box in November.

Gerry Langlois

Old Orchard Beach

Nemitz should write about human interest, not politics

Bill Nemitz does a great job bringing human interest stories to our attention. The stories are interesting, sometimes quite meaningful and the writing is just great. But when it comes to politics, not so good, never has been.

In the June 17 Maine Sunday Telegram (“Summers has two hats in this election”), Mr. Nemitz really crossed the line. He imagined a very unlikely scenario of a Maine U.S. Senate race recount between Charlie Summers and Angus King.

Because Mr. Summers is secretary of state and, therefore, would become involved in a recount, Mr. Nemitz wants us all to assume Mr. Summers would do something wrong in this scenario. Bottom line, Mr. Nemitz used this unlikely scenario to denigrate Charlie Summers by innuendo.

The goal was to leave us with the hanging pre-indictment of Mr. Summers long before anything real has happened. In the end, Mr. Nemitz has indicted himself, again, as an extraordinarily closed observer of politics.

There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Summers would step out of a conflict of interest in his role as secretary of state involving a recount. He would do the right thing in the unlikely scenario Mr. Nemitz uses to advance his cynical political twists.

My advice to The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram is to find a more open political commentator and contain Mr. Nemitz to the human interest stories he does so well.

Brian C. Jones

Scarborough

House should explain vote on weapon money for Israel

Since elections for all seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will take place this fall, now seems a good time to write about a bill that the current crew passed 411-2 on May 9. The bill was passed on a suspension of the rules, a procedure intended for noncontroversial bills that need little debate and a quick vote.

The May 9 bill basically gives Israel a blank check for any sum of money it wants to maintain its “qualitative military edge” over all its neighbors combined. Whatever the amount, it’s paid in addition to an $8 million daily dole, which, in a unique arrangement, gets paid in a lump sum at the beginning of each year.

The House members who vote time after time to give Israel more money and more deadly weapons seem oblivious to its attacking all its neighbors, bombing civilians and assassinating whoever it gets the urge to kill. Maybe in this year’s campaigns, they can explain how they became bought hirelings of a brute state.

Marjorie Gallace

Camden

Two Telegram writers praised for Title IX article

Kudos to the Maine Sunday Telegram and reporters Mike Lowe and Glenn Jordan for the first-rate feature on the long reach of Title IX (“Title IX 40th anniversary,” June 17). Their profiles of the alumnae of Title IX illustrate, as no special pleading could, why it matters that all young people enjoy true “equal opportunity” to play on a team, large or small, in athletics as in life.

Sylvia Kraemer

Portland

So just how firm was that East-West commitment?

If I heard correctly, on May 31 in front of 700 people in the field house of Foxcroft Academy, Peter Vigue, CEO of Cianbro, denied that Maine had a commitment to New Brunswick to build an east-west corridor through Maine (“Collision on East-West highway plan,” June 1).

But if I read correctly, the St. Croix Courier (April 3), in the story “Cianbro president sings praises of potential east-west highway,” wrote, “(Vigue) underlined the project as essential to economic growth. He also hinted at it being a commitment to New Brunswick that Maine should fulfill.”

Vigue was quoted as saying: “I believe that we in the state of Maine have a commitment to follow the commitment that was made by your premier and the New Brunswick government the rest of the way.”

He was alluding to the actions of the provincial government in twinning Highway 1 up to the border to provide a clear route for the proposed east-west highway to link up with.

He also was quoted as saying, “We’re not just talking about a road, we’re talking about a corridor … for utilities, for transportation, for communication.”

In my dictionary, a “corridor” can be read as a “strip of a state’s territory that runs through that of another” state.

To my Maine ears, this sounds like one big commitment. So why did Vigue, after telling his Canadian audience that we in Maine had such a commitment to Canada, then come to Dover-Foxcroft and deny to us that he had talked about that commitment?

Or did he just forget that he had given away the store, in a weak moment, to his Canadian listeners?

Jim Loomis

Cambridge

How come gasoline prices didn’t drop as oil prices did?

Now that crude oil prices have plummeted by more than 40 percent, to less than $80 a barrel, why are gas prices at the pump only about 15 percent lower?

Shouldn’t we be paying about a dollar less per gallon than we currently are? Just wondering.

Dennis Gervais

Portland