Letters to the Editor

February 08, 1999

Veterans need Bartlett

To the editor:

As an Army veteran (WWII) I feel compelled to write this letter. There seem to be quite a few negative remarks tossed about lately concerning U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. I write in defense of this man. He is the best friend the veterans could possibly have in our Congress. He is ready to help them in any way he can. He fights for veterans' rights and for what is legally due them.

Let me give you an example. Last year Congress passed a multi-billion dollar highway bill, but it passed without Bartlett's vote. Why? Because part of the funding for that program came from cutting $18 million from the Veterans Administration fund. Bartlett had the guts to stand up for his convictions and for the American veterans and funding that was rightfully due them. He was chastised, he was criticized for voting against the bill. Your Tim Rowland took him to task in one of his columns without bothering to find out why Bartlett voted as he did.


I think it is time the man should get the credit he deserves and as far as I'm concerned, I hope he is re-elected again and again. We veterans need him.

John H. McCune


Wilson a home-town hero

To the editor:

February has long been Black History Month. I understand Governor Glendening has now also proclaimed Feb. 20 as "Buffalo Soldier Day."

Hagerstown and Washington County are indeed fortunate. One man, Cpl. William Othello Wilson, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, Buffalo Soldiers, is the only Washington County citizen ever to have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

His life was intriguing. From Hagerstown he somehow traveled to Minnesota, where he enlisted for five years in the cavalry. He already was apparently expert in calligraphy, riflery and horsemanship.

We do know from oral history that he was born in Chewsville, and there the history stops. What we don't know is more intriguing than what we do know. Who were his parents? He was born in 1869, and the oral history says he was raised by a white family. Someone took the time to teach him not only to write, but to do it beautifully. He was taught to read, to shoot, to ride, to be independent, to stand up for his rights, and to act in a courageous manner. Wonder who did the teaching? So far we do not know, and no records have come to light that tell us about black people in Chewsville in 1869.

William Othello Wilson died in 1928 a very respected man. Two of his daughters are still with us here in Hagerstown, and would be very proud, as would I, if the Mayor and Council, and the County Commissioners would seize this opportunity to honor a very rare personage, a Medal of Honor recipient.

Cpl. Wilson is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, the house he lived in still stands at 108 W. North St., and the "Medal of Honor Triangle" where Jonathan Street turns into Pennsylvania Avenue still yearns for recognition and visitors.

The city and county governments need not search for black history, or a Buffalo Soldier. Both are here, waiting for ceremonial activities to reach them.

Our beautiful glossy "1998 Official Visitor's Guide to Hagerstown Washington County Maryland" is also devoid of any mention of Cpl. Wilson, the Medal of Honor, Medal of Honor Triangle, Rose Hill Cemetery or the Confederate Cemetery.

Folks, it seems we have a ways to go, and this month to do it in.

Don Brown


A better song

To the editor:

It suddenly occurred to me the other day that President Clinton chose the wrong Fleetwood Mac song "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" for his campaign theme song.

Another Fleetwood Mac song "Little Lies" would have been more appropriate. Enough said?

Susan Lopez


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