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Letters to the editor - 1/6/02

January 06, 2003

Keep up with military history



To the editor:


The movie "We Were Soldiers" came out on video recently and I finally got a chance to see it. It is the true story of the first battle of the Vietnam War. There is an excellent website that provide additional detailed background to this story at http://www.click2flicks.com/we_were_soldiers/we_were_soldiers.htm

The movie didn't stay long in local theaters - at least, that I noticed. I guess the lessons of Vietnam are now dull and boring and outdated; something of another time and generation. After all, we have since had shiny, high-tech military successes in Desert Storm and Afghanistan (though that story is still unfolding) which push Vietnam into the dim background of time. Unfortunately, the scourge of war remains unchanged.

To the tribute to the leadership of the US military, much was learned from the experiences of Vietnam, lessons which were the basis of later military successes. One excellent book regarding this is "Into the Storm" by General Fred Franks.

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"We Were Soldiers," along with a string of other increasingly accurate and realistic movies provide stunning insight into the realities of combat and as well as the challenges of our nation's leadership of the 1960s. When these movies and books are all put together into a larger understanding, they teach us lessons of that era which we, as a nation, must never, ever forget...even as we're collectively contemplating further "adventures" in Iraq and elsewhere. These lessons have come at a very high price.

I hope you will take a few hours to see this movie and others. Take time, as well, to read a few of many, many great books of those two decades. Do it as a civic duty to those selfless people who served our nation in those times. I'll leave it to someone else to enumerate the best material that tells the stories.

Finally, there is a brief but unforgettable poem which was on a brochure that was part of the 50th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. It was written by David J. Phillips, an airborne infantryman with the 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, who jumped into Normandy early on the morning of June 6, 1944.

"We have only died in vain if you believe so; You must decide the wisdom of our choice, By the world which you shall build upon our headstones, And the everlasting truths which have your voice.

"Though dead, we are not heroes yet, nor can be, Till the living by their lives which are the tools, Carve us the epitaphs of wise men, And give us not the epitaphs of fools."

God bless America!

Don Hoffman

Hagerstown




Hospital is great



To the editor:


When you are ill and need to be hospitalized, choose the Washington County Hospital where the service is outstanding.

The doctors and nurses are extremely nice - so caring, so friendly, so "patient." Although everybody is very busy, they all work well together, including the nurses' assistants. And the food is not bad either! When the time came for me to go home, I reluctantly left a place of great beauty and tender loving care.

Thilde M. Bonefas

Hagerstown




They don't know what they've missed



To the editor:


There is a generation now that never heard of Hoot Gibson or a rumble seat, who never tasted homemade root beer or a cornsilk cigarette, never heard of Omaha Beach or Tarawa, can't imagine gas rationing, care little about digging may apple root or making rabbit traps and never chased an ice truck for the chips.

They never had a haircut with hand-powered clippers, never wore a mustard poultice on their chest, never cranked an automobile, never sent a penny postcard, carried a bucket of coal, chewed roof tar, felt a Depression or hitched up a horse.

Hasn't life been good to us old-timers?

Arthur P. Keifer

Boonsboro

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