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Letters to the Editor

June 16, 2009

Blues Fest was an amazing weekend



To the editor:

Wow. I don't know what was more amazing at Blues Fest 2009 - hearing top-notch national and regional musicians at our Saturday "Downtown House Party" - culminating in an absolutely stellar set by The Derek Trucks Band before our largest-ever festival audience - or the realization our community, teaming together, produced such an amazing weekend filled with fellowship, children's activities and even learning opportunities.

As I watched Derek and his band perform from my privileged vantage point behind the stage, with Little Heiskell and the City Hall clock tower in the background of my view, I kept saying, "Pinch me, I think I'm dreaming." I literally could have been pushed over by a feather. Such was my personal exhilaration and sense of wonder. Truly, the happy ending of my favorite folk tale from childhood, "Stone Soup," was playing out before my very eyes.

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Shortly before Blues Fest began, a phrase entered our national consciousness - "It takes a village." Even though it later perhaps became overused and/or the source of late-night comedic references, on reflection, that phrase accurately describes the phenomenon that has become Blues Fest.

Together, as a community, as a "village," we co-create Blues Fest. Together, by volunteering our time, spirit, energy, courteous behavior and resources, we have spawned an event that positively reflects on our local government, area businesses, our rich community amenities and the friendliness of our townsfolk. Together, we have made something once thought improbable into a stunningly successful reality - a nationally recognized blues festival in, of all places, Hagerstown, Maryland.

In a way, Blues Fest is to Hagerstown what Mardi Gras is to New Orleans - an annual ritual where we come together to celebrate our community's uniqueness and diversity amidst a musical party. To me, it seems fitting Blues Fest is an official function of the City of Hagerstown, albeit one ably assisted by our all-volunteer organizing committee known as "Team Blues Fest," because it is our collective community that produces Blues Fest.

Since letters to the editor are length-restricted, and because there are many more people and organizations who need proper thanks than can be allowed here, we will have to ask you to visit the "Blogs" tab of our event Web site (www.blues-fest.org) for a complete, unedited version of this letter. While visiting the Web site, you can also relive happy memories of Blues Fest 2009 at our photo gallery.

Right now, we honestly don't know how we will ever top Blues Fest 2009. Rest assured, though, that will be our personal challenge.

Please take a moment to mark your calendar now for the first weekend after next Memorial Day - June 3-6, 2010 - when we'll assemble for Blues Fest 15. Until then, keep celebrating the beautiful rainbow cast by the combination of our community's collective spirit of volunteerism and America's national music, the blues.

Thank you for your participation, for responsibly enjoying yourselves and for making out-of-towners feel so welcome.

Carl W. Disque
founder/event chair
Western Maryland Blues Fest




Killing cannot be justified in our sanctuaries



To the editor:

Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary defines the word "sanctuary":

1. A holy or sacred place.

2. The most sacred part of a place in a sacred structure.

3. A place of refuge, asylum; also, immunity.

In our society, there has always existed two such places - through tradition and/or natural genesis - that, until recent times, have been inviolable.

The first and, again, until recent times, was the mother's womb. The phrase "you are as safe as if you were in your mother's womb" now belongs to the ages.

This, and many other aspects of our civilization, has been removed by an ever-evolving pragmatic ideology, something that could be dubbed the "Pied Piper Syndrome."

Now, we are seeing the second place of sanctuary - our places of worship - also falling victim to the "me can do anything me wants to" line of thought.

Killing, however done, cannot be justified in either of these two places.

Recently, we have seen a man gunned down, supposedly for his profession and, to some, his misuse of its Hippocratic oath, in his church.

Some might think, quite correctly, "How horrible!"

Some might think that, quite incorrectly, "He got what he deserved!"

And then, there are those who are aware of the exquisite irony - however this individual's activities are perceived - of the relationship of the fate of both sanctuaries.

Harold Edward Wills
Hagerstown




Obama's term might outlast the country



To the editor:

We have "dumbed down" our society so much that the only thing we believe is what we view on the magic TV tube.

Our president "bails out" the banks with megamillions of our tax money and tells us that we will all have to make sacrifices to suffer through these rough times. Our grandchildren and their children will be paying with their tax dollars.

Now, the banks are paying back millions of dollars and we are advised that the money is going into the general fund. This leaves us with no tax relief. Isn't this called money laundering? Doesn't money laundering come under the racketeering statutes?

Gee, this is only the first five months. We have at least three and a half years left. At this rate, the term will most likely outlast the country.

Jack Hinton
Westminster, Md.

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