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Letters to the Editor

May 27, 2003

French have much to offer



To the editor:

Many residents of Hagerstown have been quite vocal about thwarting efforts for Hagerstown to be a sister city with Saumur because the French government did not support the United States' war in Iraq.

It is time for Americans to abolish their bitter sentiments about Chirac's refusal to support the war and appreciate the culture his country has to offer. It is ludicrous to claim that the French are ungrateful for America's involvement in both world wars. France has given more to this country than Americans are willing to acknowledge: Profitable trade, Louisiana, the Statue of Liberty, and support after Sept. 11.

The French, as well as Americans, have the right to protest any government decision they feel is wrong or unjust. As a country that has suffered war's ruin within its own borders, France has every right not to support President Bush. Even so, Chirac stated that if nuclear weapons were found or Hussein initiated biological warfare, France would undoubtedly take up arms against Iraq.

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France is one of the United States' oldest allies and to sabotage our relationship with the French would be a terrible mistake.

Those who form alliances are permitted to have disagreements; this does not mean that they must part ways. The U.S. and Hagerstown need to take the time to understand France's views. France's past history, system of government and culture give the French an entirely different and unique perspective on states of affairs. This mini-culture war only underscores the need for cross-cultural understanding.

Many Americans have reacted negatively without trying to understand why the French were as opposed to the war as they were.

The United States, despite its abounding constitutional rights, has always struggled with understanding and learning from the differences of others. Today, tolerance is one of the most severely ignored issues this country faces.

Therefore, the chance to be educated in respect to the culture of a foreign city and understand its differences should be recognized as a potential means to grow as a town. France is an old country that has a rich heritage and culture that is of great value.

Many Americans make the assumption that our society is too technologically advanced and rich to learn anything from other countries, while the United States could learn so much from foreign culture and tradition. Hagerstown's German sister city, Wesel, brings German students to Hagerstown so that young people here may learn about German culture.

The same exchange could be practiced with Saumur. Students who cannot afford to travel to France could at least have some of France brought to them. Having Hagerstown become a sister city to Saumur would be one of the most beneficial decisions made by Mayor Breichner and the City Council.

The French IV and V AP class

Williamsport High School

Poor behavior on the mound



To the editor:

After reading the article about the South Hagerstown vs. Southern Garrett baseball game, I felt a need to share my opinion. The sports reporter did well by staying neutral and reporting the statistics. Bravo for good journalism!

I am writing about the behavior of the child on the pitcher's mound for the local team. I say child because he is under 18, and "young man" would lead you to believe he acts like an adult. The conduct that was allowed was shameful to the game of baseball and the Hagerstown community.

The parents, coaches, and umpires should be ashamed to allow that kind of behavior. It takes away from the enjoyment of all sports for players and spectators.

This person has set an example. One not to follow. I hope Hagerstown is better represented at future ballgames.

Ellen Barnard

Bloomington, Md.

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