Sitting here on a quiet afternoon, my thoughts go back many years. Not as a farm boy but as a young scholar in Windham.

One of the subjects that made school interesting was history — “the making of a nation.” Yes, I was very young then, but what stood out on those pages of history was the dedication of the people to this new and difficult life that they, our forefathers, saw in their vision.

It was not the military that fired the first shot heard round the world! It was folks like us who wanted a life of freedom — freedom from being governed by another nation and taxed to support that nation’s desire to own and rule the underdog.

Back then, as a young boy, I didn’t realize those demands. As I grew up and realized what it takes to support a nation, I have wondered why we who have struggled to support family and country need to support a world that has no discipline to contribute to their own welfare!

As Veterans Day draws near, I clearly see those white crosses all over the globe. Folks who fell in battle “holding high the symbol of freedom”! I, too, carried that symbol, in the battle for Iwo Jima.

I saw my comrades fall in battle, I even held them as I heard their last words about their mother and asked for the Lord’s grace.


I see them every day; today I see the images on screen and words that degrade in the media. I have a difficulty to realize these people seeking political office are going to represent me and you.

I have had dreams where some of my fallen comrades stood before me and asked, “Is this why we gave our last ounce of devotion? For a nation that refuses to pull together for a hurting people!” How would you, the guilty, answer them if you stood before them?

Just think — there are no guns pointing at you who stand in Congress. You will have a good meal and a warm bed when the door closes each night; not so, for those who gave their all. Some went down in a flaming cockpit or sank in a turbulent sea, or lost a leg and arms by mortar fire. Where is the handshake that we all knew that meant we will pull together?

Pointing fingers and offering ridicule will not heal a wounded nation! “Cooperation is the key.” Let’s open those long-ago warehouses that have stood dormant for so long, fill them with machinery to make the goods we now buy from Third World countries.

Give our unemployed a job, give them the opportunity to pay their way! Give them a reason to live. They are willing to pull their load.

Fred Collins


veteran of two wars


Professor misses the mark on federal debt obligation

In University of Southern Maine professor Susan Feiner’s commentary about why our $16 trillion national debt is not panic-worthy, she points out that $7 trillion of this is money the government has borrowed from Social Security and other federal agencies and represented by U.S. Treasury bonds (“Here’s why the national debt is not panic-worthy,” Oct. 7).

From this, she concludes that because these bonds are “in an exactly equal and offsetting amount (to the $7 trillion owed to these agencies) that nets out to zero.”

Wow! $7 trillion of our national debt eliminated. Who knew that the accumulated employee and employer contributions to Social Security and held in Social Security Trust Funds for the benefit of future beneficiaries could be wiped out just like that, that the trust funds were only an urban legend?


It would be upsetting if this were true, but of course it is nonsense. The government is absolutely obligated to make good on the Treasuries comprising Social Security Trust Funds, just as Social Security is obligated to pay that money to the beneficiaries for whom it was collected.

As is well known, the trust funds will be increasingly needed by Social Security as the baby boomers retire and the amount that Social Security becomes required to pay out in benefits exceeds contributions from current employees and employers.

Don Kopp


Legalized, taxed prostitution would help the ‘innocents’

In regards to Bill Nemitz’s column on the fallout from publishing the names of the men who patronized a prostitution ring (“Innocents, innocence will suffer from ‘the list,’” Oct. 7):


I have always believed that the best way to stop the abuse of women, and the spread of AIDS, is to legalize this time-honored profession.

The revenue that would be generated by a strict, medically controlled profession would expand our tax base to make sure no child went hungry, and make sure the elderly would no longer have to cut their medication in half.

Now Mr. Nemitz has added yet another reason for my argument. If we all work together to ensure that the Christian right wing keeps its constitutional right to control its congregations any way it pleases, but is not allowed to dictate public policies, then we as a free-thinking society would avoid such a situation as this one.

There may even be enough revenue generated to help victims who were abused as children in certain structured organizations.

Jack Freitas



To address weight problem, figure out why you’re eating

I was impressed when I read the recent article about Amanda Tyson’s success in overcoming bullying and losing weight (“Scarborough woman’s goal: Killing cruelty with kindness,” Oct. 7). Having also been bullied as an overweight teen, I know how painful it can be.

I could also relate to how Tyson turned to food for comfort. It’s something I did, too, even knowing that my weight was the main reason others ridiculed me.

This reality is something that often seems to get lost in discussions of obesity. We hear mostly about calories, portion sizes, lack of produce, too much fat and sugar, but the truth is, if we regularly eat for reasons other than hunger, we’ll gain weight. To be truly successful, we need to address why we eat, when, what and how much we do.

It sounds like Tyson learned this in the process of losing weight, as did I. My goal now is similar to hers, to share that experience in my work as a health coach and facilitator for the Am I Hungry? program, so others won’t have to learn it the hard way. I wish her all the best in doing the same, and I hope that such efforts will help in these battles.

Erica Bartlett



Private insurer responsible for controversial mandate

The letter from Wendy Vaughan, R.N., regarding her employer-based insurance requires clarification (“Insurer’s mandate could put her family on slippery slope,” Oct. 7).

The changes in her employer-based health insurance coverage have absolutely nothing to do with so-called Obamacare. This has nothing to do with the federal government or any governmental unit or agency.

The change that requires an employee tobacco-free urine test for insurance coverage choice is solely due to the internal decision by Maine Health and its affiliate medical organizations to control health care costs and, as they note, to promote a healthy work force.

Agree or disagree with Maine Health’s actions, but leave the Affordable Care Act out of it — this is the decision of a private employer that is probably self-insured, with its plans administered by a private health insurance company.

Howl if you wish, Ms. Vaughan, but at least howl at the right place — your private employer with its private, “free-market” health insurance coverage.

G. Michael Loewe


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