Letters to the editor

December 27, 2003

Take time for those in need

To the editor:

I am writing about the importance of family structure in the United States to all of the people who reside here, and how important it is to improve it.

Lack of concern is a big problem and a big question. Why? For years I've seen abuse of children and the elderly, particularly.

Hunger and poor health care lead to deep worries and cause physical, mental and emotional problems. This can become a hotbed of abuse, of just being plain exhausted and not caring properly for one's own family, which leads to divorce and separation of parents.


There are millions of parents raising their children under these terrible stresses. There are millions of fathers not paying child support and not seeing their own children, leaving mothers and some fathers to raise their children alone under stress.

The elderly are often neglected by their own families. The poor and injured are left in county hospitals, sometimes long-term care, for the rest of their lives, all alone. Some more affluent elderly are left in convalescent hospitals - some good, and some terrible. They are lonely, with only staff members to care for them and cheer them up. The poor and homeless often die on the cold and inhospitable streets.

People also have problems involving social and privacy concerns. Those who have mental problems need privacy, if that is their choice, because they should not have to bear the stigma of being labeled "schizo, depressive, crazy," etc. Degrading remarks like these are cruel, can keep them from seeking help and alienate people from their own families.

A lot of people have drug and alcohol problems in all walks of life, in all economic groups. It is the same problem, though the media often paint a different picture.

All these problems and/or a combination of these problems contribute to poor communication within families, like exclusion, indifference and denial. That leads to alienation of one's own family.

Where are their families? Is there someone who can help them? Will someone take the time to be a friend? All these people need personal contact from someone who cares. Can someone spare a few hours a week of their busy lives to help?

What it gets down to is that people should appreciate families and have the compassion to at least try and help them, or contact an agency such as the Community Action Council. There are people who care.

It doesn't take time to say, "I love you" or "I care about you." You never know what will happen and what will be someone's last memory of you.

When we lose our family structure our society is easy prey for manipulation and political turmoil, which we see every day.

Yvonne Berget
Myersville, Md.

Movie was a kingmaker

To the editor:

"The Return of the King," what a double meaning - are we talking about Aragorn or Peter Jackson - perhaps the trilogy? No matter who you refer to as the king in the trilogy of JRR Tolkein, he has returned with a vengeance and passion befitting Tolkein's work.

No, I did not have a clue who Peter Jackson was three years ago, along with most of the world. Now he is probably one of the most recognized names out there with Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. And the amazing thing is, he is relatively new on the big screen.

Three years ago this month I went to see the first installment of Tolkein's work on the big screen. I went four hours early expecting fans of the trilogy to flock to opening night. I showed up at the theaters in Hagerstown, and was alone for the next three and a half hours.

We barely filled one auditorium, with most people showing up shortly before the movie. I felt like some type of fantasy nerd. A year ago, I showed up two hours early to be greeted by a handful of enthusiasts, and an hour later two auditoriums filled with fans.

Late last Tuesday night I once again showed up two hours early to find that I was late, having to park a distance away, and having to wait in line for about 20 minutes to get into the theater, even though I had already purchased tickets for the show a few days in advance. This year saw more than 800 pre-sold tickets before Tuesday night, and well over 1,000 in attendance.

Standing there in line I felt my allegiance to the first two movies should have moved me to the front, with balcony seats overlooking the theater.

Where did all these people come from? There were orcs, shire folk and a few wizards on hand dressed especially for the occasion. I looked around and wondered if all these people had just now realized what I had enjoyed as a teen-ager.

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