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Letters to the editor - 7/9/03

July 09, 2003

Ancestors were hardly 'insignificant'


To the editor:

In reference to the proposed relocation of the Wachtel/Stine cemetery ("Remains from cemetery on landfill property will be excavated, reburied," Tara Reilly, June 20 Daily Mail), I respectfully disagree with Mr. Stine's contention that the cemetery should not be moved.

Although there are numerous euphemisms for waste/trash depositories - "landfill" is one of them - the bottom line is that I desire that my ancestors not be buried in a "garbage dump."

I do agree with Stine that the remains, when exhumed, should be buried at St. Paul's cemetery. Two of the four generations of my ancestors who lived on the Wachtel/Kretzer farm are currently buried there; it makes sense that we bury their ancestors at St. Paul's also.

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Also, from an admittedly parochial viewpoint, I was distressed to see my ancestors described as "historically insignificant" by the 1996 Joseph Hopkins Associates archaeological report. My great great great grandfather, John Wachtel, purchased part of what is now the Forty-West Landfill in 1797.

This "historically insignificant" ancestor fought in and was wounded during the Revolutionary War. Future generations of my ancestors lived on the Wachtel/Kretzer farm until it was sold after my great grandfather, George Kretzer, died in 1913.

As David Wiles, president of the Clear Spring District Historical Association said in his excellent articles in the End of Summer 2000 issue of "Used to Be," "Washington County was founded by now-forgotten people who will forever remain true local pioneer heroes."

Most were not buried in fancy graveyards. Their names were not recorded among our county's most famous.

And they were not historically insignificant.

I thank the Washington County Commissioners, County Deputy Chief Engineer Robert Slocum and Director of Solid Waste Bob Davenport for their continuing interest and sensitivity to ensure that my ancestors are reinterred at St. Paul's Church with as little disturbance as possible.

I also look forward to being an active participant in the archaeological operations.

C. Kenneth Clopper
Clear Spring




WMD has worn out its welcome


To the editor:

With the kind permission of the editorial staff I would like to mention what is arguably the ugliest expression now in vogue in the U.S.A. Let me assure you this is primarily for educational purposes and not just to shock or disgust any readers.

Concerned parents, however, may want to stop their children from reading beyond this point. So here goes - brace yourselves for "Weaponsofmassdestruction!"

Whew, I said it. Give me a moment to collect myself. Seriously though, is there any other expression that has been more overused? It's no different than anything else: If you hear it, eat it, say it or do it too often it becomes tiresome, ineffectual...boring.

It's like the great song that is overplayed on the radio, or the person who swears so often the profanity has no shock value.

There are, unfortunately, more sober reasons why the use of this term is bothersome. When the expression first started being used, I wondered what new weapon the mad scientists had thought up this time - perhaps a death ray or whatnot. Imagine my chagrin upon learning that WMDs basically stood for the same old garden variety death and destruction that's been around for ages.

Armies used mustard gas in World War I; and the A-bomb, the granddaddy of them all, was first and last used on people by the U.S. almost 60 years ago. And the thousands of bombs the U.S. - there I go again - has dropped on Iraq and Afghanistan would readily qualify. It makes you think the expression is the work of some political spin doctor who wanted something old to sound new and thereby more frightening.

If so, he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. The great irony here is that while the media and the politicians keep using the term to keep the fear whipped up, the only people using WMDs are Americans. Saddam not only didn't use them against us during this latest skirmish, they apparently are not even in existence there.

And 9/11 didn't involve any, unless you consider jetliners as weapons. Unfortunately, the killing continues in Iraq even without WMDs being deployed. What a tragedy. The greatest military power in the world, having brought much of its might to bear on a weak country, with these results: Widespread destruction, loss of innocent life, more hatred toward the U.S., and still the killing goes on. Meanwhile we are leading a peace mission between Israel and Palestine. Go figure.

Hopefully Bush will start taking his own advice. Until then, all you guys searching for you-know-whats in Iraq, come home. The WMDs are here. Or go to any of the six other nations that have A-bombs. It is, and has been, a dangerous world for quite some time. We just got used to it. All we need to do now is come up with a new meaning for WMD. How about War Makers are Dumb?

Dan Wallace
Williamsport




Consider a school board run


To the editor:

Although the last school board election in Washington County was held eight months ago, it is time for prospective candidates for the 2004 election to begin making decisions. The primary election will be held in March 2004 if more than eight people file.

I encourage all people in the county with an interest in school issues to consider running for a seat on the board. The filing deadline with the election board is in December. It is a known fact that the monetary compensation does not fairly compensate for the number of hours required in serving on the board.

Once again, consider getting involved.

Meredith Fouche
Funkstown

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