Letters to the editor - 4/25/03

April 25, 2003

Who's the enemy?

To the editor:

I find it ironic that "Hagerstown and veterans' officials" think of rejecting a possible relationship with Saumaur, a town in the Western part of France. Was there such reluctance to welcome Wesel as a Sister City, a town located in a country that was America's enemy during World War II?

Certainly "we lost a lot of people" in France but was it the French army that decimated the Ranger Commandos of Col. James Rudder of the First American Division at Pointe du Hoc? Was it French guns that took aim at the paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions at Sainte Mere Eglise on D-Day? Was it French soldiers who executed American prisoners of war during the Battle of the Bulge?

If arms drops succeeded in the French countryside prior to the invasion, arms destined to the French underground who transmitted to London the location of German positions, do you think the selfless activities of those Resistants would not have resulted in their execution had they been discovered? You should read the story of 1st Lt. Larry Grauerholz of the American 337th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group (The Retired Officer-June 2001).


When he crash-landed in France in January 1944, it was the combined efforts of villagers who gave him and his navigator food and a place to rest until false identification papers were printed by a local shopkeeper, then guided them on their way to the next town and eventually to the Spanish border where another member of the Resistance saw them across to freedom. Every year, the former pilot and some of the other 640 flyers that were thus rescued retrace what they call "the freedom trail" with many of the local townspeople who helped them those many years ago.

Two of my professors were arrested and deported for being members of such a rescue team. One never came bacak. Were the railroad workers who sabotaged the train tracks in order to keep the German army from rushing reinforcements to the front at the risk of their lives, were these men German? Are you sure that some of the Wesel citizens are not sons of the German soldiers who faced your fathers or the aged veterans who fought in France, Germany, Italy, or even North Africa?

Including its Jewish citizens deported and murdered in the camps and the people of the Resistance, France lost 60,000 non-combatants, 10,000 not accounted for. They include 90 inhabitants of Tulle, not far from Limoges, hung from the lamp posts of the city on June 8, 1944 and the 66 citizens of Argenton sur Creuse shot on June 9, 1944 (including the entire police force) by an S.S. battalion trying to avoid being cut off from its retreating army.

Now, we have a French president difficult to deal with. Many American journalists, as well as a number of Americans, do not find our own president an easy man to face either. Should the problems of two governments deny the opportunity for two cities and their residents to discover cultural ties and exchange views and friendship?

If we can welcome Japanese and Germans by the planeload, when their countries caused many casualties among our servicemen, certainly friendship with a French city that welcomed our GIs, can only benefit Hagerstown and open a dialogue that is much needed. Let's not be petty.

Mrs. Harold H. Jacobs

Good people

To the editor:

Pastor John Miller of Faith Christian Fellowship in Williamsport sums up the situation in Iraq wonderfully.

His words of wisdom couldn't be stated clearer.

Pastor John is indeed a minister of God. My husband and I have listened to him tell it like it is sermons that he has delivered.

No sugar coating or feel good sermons in his church.

Thank you, Pastor John, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to state God's truths.

May God bless you.

An another subject I wish to thank the caring person who accidentally hit and killed our neighbor's cat Saturday night (April 12) and was so kind as to stop and lay the cat on the curb and cover him with a shirt.

It's refreshing in today's society to know of such kindness toward an animal.

Rosa Lee Meyers

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