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Letters to the Editor

July 28, 2009

Warm reception shouldn't be a surprise



To the editor:

Not so strange, the reception given to the Jason Barron family (The Herald-Mail, July 6) by the villagers of Longé sur Maire, is reminiscent of the welcome accorded Maurice Watson and the children of some of his comrades in March 2005 by the inhabitants of Andries, another of those small French villages no one has ever heard of.

Mr. Watson's B-24, on a bombing mission from England to Magdebourg in Germany in January of 1945, was disabled by German anti-aircraft fire and had to crash land in what the crew hoped would be friendly territory. It turned out to be in a region of France recently liberated by Patton's 3rd army, near the village of Andries. The crew parachuted as their plane was rapidly losing altitude. Two of the men were killed, their parachutes having failed to open. The survivors did not stay in Andries very long, being flown back to England to prepare for yet another mission. Only the end of the war on May 8, 1945, canceled a probable new flight.

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However, the French villagers did not forget the first Americans they had seen so many years ago. They decided to erect a monument to the memory of the men who participated in the liberation of France. With the help of the French Air Force, the American Embassy in Paris and the Pentagon, the village mayor was able to trace a few of the remaining veterans or their children and invited them to the unveiling ceremony. Like Jason Barron's family, Mr. Watson, his wife and some of his former comrades' children were welcomed, feted and dined for three days. A representative from the American Embassy was present as well as a high-ranking French Air Force officer when the flag covering the monument was removed to reveal the names of the 11 members of the crew. A special line at the bottom of the stone honored Sgts. Smith and Jones with the words "Let us not forget them".

Mr. Barron should not have been surprised or hurt by being treated rudely in a Paris restaurant. Go to New York and you will probably get the same reception. Big cities are not known for their gentleness. But go to Normandy, an area devastated by the fighting in the weeks following the D-Day invasion: homes destroyed, cattle killed, fields ruined, whole localities razed to the ground, yet to this day American tourists are still admired and warmly welcomed.

Jeanne Jacobs
Hagerstown




Stop the waste of money in bid process



To the editor:

I am writing in response to the story in the June 24 edition of The Herald-Mail regarding the award of the contract to improve the intersection of Dual Highway and Edgewood Drive.

This article indicates the State Highway Administration awarded this contract for an amount more than $450,000 higher than the low bid. The reason stated was because the low bidder did not meet the requirement that helps minority businesses get a portion of state contracts. This is a blatant waste of taxpayer dollars.

I work in the construction industry and regularly prepare bids for State of Maryland projects. Each set of specifications has goals for minority subcontracting. Note that I said goals, not requirements. All contracts state the bid will be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, so contractors are focused on submitting a bid using the lowest cost suppliers and subcontractors. The section of the specifications regarding minority subcontracting is virtually identical on all projects and gives very clear instructions on procedures to follow when trying to meet the minority goals as well as documentation to be provided when the goals cannot be reached. This documentation includes affidavits to certify a good faith effort to utilize minorities was made. Basically, the wording implies the intent is to make an effort to utilize minorities, but nowhere does it say that this is a priority, all that is stated is that this is a goal.

Under the O'Malley administration, the minority goals have become virtual requirements. This obviously increases the costs of projects and should outrage the taxpayer when the economy is good and incense them during our current economy. If nearly a half-million dollars is being wasted on this contract, how much is being wasted in total?

I urge all citizens to call Dels. LeRoy Myers, Andrew Serafini and Christopher Shank and state Sen. Donald Munson and request action be taken to stop the award of this and any other contract to any firm other than the low bidder and stop the waste of our money.

Gene Walkley
Sharpsburg




Who do the 'selected' officials work for?



To the editor:

How did we go from the world's richest nation to one drowning in debt and facing oblivion?

Rather than implicating the Fed and taxes, it's time to blame Congress.

Who do these "selected" officials really work for? They have the power to repeal the Federal Reserve Act and Income Tax Amendment.

Our money could be loaned into existence by the U.S. Treasury simply by printing and making bookkeeping entries to cover whatever is needed to satisfy the needs of government and commerce.

That's what the Fed does now. But they profit by the high compound interest that is attached to these loans. This interest is paid through taxes, inflation and rising cost of living. It benefits no one but the world's richest, most powerful banking families.

Local governments need money to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. Bridges, roads, schools, and water and sewer systems could provide good-paying jobs for millions and benefit local economies enormously.

No inflation, no taxes on income and property. The size of government could be reduced, while millions of new jobs created in a growing economy would give hope to all of the world's people, not just Americans.

Congress has this power, but the question remains: Who do they really work for?

David Lopoten
Hedgesville, W.Va.

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