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Letters to the Editor

August 24, 2010

What is wrong with an honorable retirement?



To the editor:

Don Munson is running for office again. He now says that he has "never, ever even considered" retirement, but a review of the Herald-Mail archives reveals that almost two decades ago he said that he wanted "another 20 years."

Everyone out this way, me included, loves Don. He has been a great legislator for over 35 years. Don has knocked on countless doors. He has helped thousands of constituents. He has never forgotten that he represented Washington County. However, he also is 72 years old. I, myself, am 71 years old and want to offer a few thoughts about advancing age. It wears you down. It really does. That endurance that once let me work hard all day today and then get up ready to go again tomorrow is not always there. The sharpness that once refused to let a single point go unanswered can dull now and then. Stairs are higher, stores further away, groceries much heavier, hearing not so keen, and, yes, voting more complicated.

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And the memory ... well, I don't want to publicly proclaim to the world that my memory is not what it used to be, but if Don is as honest as I have always thought him, he will fess up that an old man's memory can be embarrassing now and then.

There is an impressive young man running against Don. I'm going to risk offending both men by saying that I see Chris Shank as a much younger version of Don. Chris knocks on countless doors. He listens well. He is always ready to represent his constituents, both as a group, and as individuals with a problem. There is a spring to his step and he is willing, when need be, to take on the old interests that have smugly ruled Annapolis far too long. If Chris wins this election, I foresee new respect flowing out to Washington County. I foresee the old boys thinking twice before stiffing Western Maryland again when they consider that a powerful new member of the Senate could be around for the next few decades.

In a perfect world, I see Don thinking more kindly of the idea of an honorable retirement. He has fought the good fight. He has no need to prove anything to anybody. He has represented the county so well for so many years that I would like to think that he knows deep down that allowing a similar-thinking younger man to take the reins is a very good idea. I see Don as stepping into an important new role as an elder statesman, a member of the "council of elders," as it were. And I definitely see a new young member of the Senate picking up the phone often to get rock-solid advice from a man who knows Maryland politics so very well and who also knows that age dictates when it is time to retire.

Rex Harrill
Hagerstown




Krauthammer column was right on target



To the editor:

Charles Krauthammer's Sunday, Aug. 15, opinion piece ( "Proposed mosque: Build it anywhere but ground zero," page A8) was right on target. Thanks to The Herald-Mail, it can be read and reread as a rational and moral defense of the sacred ground we now refer to as ground zero in New York City.

Building an Islamic mosque within a stone's throw of this hallowed site is a slap in the face to all Americans who witnessed the greatest mass murder in American history on Sept. 11.

When no Christian or Jewish buildings are permitted in many Islamic countries, i.e., Saudi Arabia to name a major one, it really brings to the forefront a question about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's reasoning process. What ever was he thinking to even seek a New York City building permit to build so near our sacred ground? Doesn't he have any sensitivity toward our culture? Our sense of loss and mourning? Our sense of respect for innocent Americans and other nationals who were slain by his own Islamic brothers?

Granted, no rational-thinking American would argue that freedom of worship should be denied Muslims. We have no problem with a mosque being built for worship, as America has long honored the Bill of Rights and hopefully will live by these rights forever. Rather, it's a location issue, pure and simple. Erecting a mosque now, while at the same time completing the World Trade Center memorial in close proximity, is offensive and unacceptable.

Thank you, Herald-Mail and Charles Krauthammer, for such an erudite piece of editorial work. Keep it coming.

Blanton Croft
Hagerstown

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