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.

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


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


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.

When I was a boat inspector in Nobleboro, I asked boat launchers if they would please show me their fishing gear. After I explained the purpose of my request, everybody I encountered cooperated.

Of course, another problem is that many anglers don’t use boats. All anglers and boaters need to be aware of what a little piece of “trash” or a leaf fragment can do to a pond or lake.

A little milfoil is like being a little pregnant. Post and spread the word, not variable leaf milfoil!

Jack Boak


Maine care reform bill paved way for insurers’ intrusions

As in the Oct. 7 letter to the editor by Wendy Vaughan, R.N., my partner was forced to complete an invasive, humiliating battery of tests by her employer to renew her health care insurance (“Insurer’s mandate could put her family on slippery slope”).

As part of Maine Med’s “Work On Wellness” initiative for health care, my partner and other employees were required to produce a urine sample for tobacco use, blood samples for cholesterol, glucose and body fat levels and blood pressure, as well as taking an invasive online personal questionnaire.

To renew coverage, employees also were required to answer questions about recent sexual activity, food preferences, waist measurement, leisure activities, extensive family medical history, diagnosed conditions, etc.

Like Nurse Vaughan, my partner was surprised that such testing and abuse of civil rights was legal. Nurse Vaughan was wrong to assume that this invasiveness was a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The so-called Maine health care reform bill passed last year permits insurance companies to increase rates an average of 10 percent without seeking permission from the state’s Bureau of Insurance.

In effect, this permits insurers to identify employees with higher risk factors such as age, smoking, high cholesterol, etc. and charge them as much as 20 percent more (remember, 10 percent average). This can now be accomplished without any oversight from the Bureau of Insurance.

The irony here, is the same legislators and governor who cried foul over the Affordable Care Act find nothing wrong with forcing employees across the state to produce urine and blood samples and submit to degrading questions about their sexual activity, so insurance companies can cash in on PL 90, the recently passed state health care “reform” bill.

We can do better in Maine. Write the Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333 or call them at 624-8475, and urge your legislators to support their constituents’ health care insurance and civil rights.

Steven Kelley


Despite their hatred of West, militants embrace tech tools

There is a glaring irony in the article “Militants claimed consulate attack” (Oct. 25). The article states: “… the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility (for the Benghazi attack) on Facebook and Twitter.”

I thought Islamic fundamentalism shunned Western values and modernity. Is somebody confused?

Robert Green


Army personnel helped battle great fires of 1947 

In 1947, my dad, Col. George W. Palmer, was enjoying his first assignment as commanding officer of the Harbor Defenses of Portland at Fort Williams, having returned after serving three years in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

I, age 13 that year, vividly remember his concern for those affected by “the great fires.” He ordered “his troops” to join in the fight to control and help put an end to the frightening destruction.

I remember, even as far away as Cape Elizabeth, Fort Williams was shrouded by smoke, an eerie reminder of the devastation to our south.

I feel it is an important addendum to your coverage to give credit to the Army personnel stationed at Fort Williams who tirelessly worked alongside other volunteers and played an important role in helping to control and eradicate further threat to our great state of Maine (“The week that Maine burned,” Oct. 7).

Hope Palmer Bramhall