Letters to the Editor - May 29

May 29, 2011

Are we ready for the Rapture?

To the editor:

Unless you had just recently married an heir to the British throne and your head was still in a cloud, then most of us heard the news that Jesus Christ was to return on May 21 at 6 p.m. This revelation was announced by Harold Camping, a Christian radio host in Oakland, Calif., and it seems he had gathered quite a following who believed him.

The Bible clearly states that no man has knowledge of the day Christ will return, although we are given "signs of the times" preceding this event referred to as the Rapture. The Bible says Jesus will come, "As a thief in the night" and reminds us to "Watch therefore; for you know not what hour the Lord does come."

For those of us who do believe the Bible is the word of God, most were saddened by Camping's assumptions, but he also should have caused Christians everywhere to do some real thinking. What if tomorrow or the next day, maybe even a year down the road, Jesus did return in a "twinkle of an eye?"

History has had other Campings along the way, but although they jumped the gun, the facts still remain the same. Is the church prepared or are we just playing church? Even more important, are we sitting around waiting to be taken out of here or are we about God's business until Christ returns?

Are Christians walking the walk to where we could have stood before our King and Lord had Christ returned on May 21? Have we talked, acted, forgiven, not judged and loved as Jesus taught, or should we reflect on something Camping might have made millions of Christians more aware of? The question forever remains, are we ready for the Rapture?

Kate Prado

Visiting veterans were treated to fitting tribute

To the editor:

With Memorial Day fast approaching, I would like to relay a story about our veterans. I am a member of AMVETS Post 10 in Hagerstown. We got word of some veterans (World War II, Korea and Rosie the Riveters) from Illinois who were scheduled to have dinner between 5 and 7 p.m. at a local restaurant. We called the restaurant and confirmed that this was true. Post 10 asked if we could bring over the American, World War II and Korean flags.  

We set up about 5 p.m. and had a good group of AMVETS, AMVETS Riders and Marine Corps veterans. The first bus showed up about 6 p.m. They were greeted by the Marines in full dress uniform, AMVETS members and restaurant management. The reception line consisted of about 25 people. We shook hands with each and every person who got off the bus. They were welcomed to Hagerstown and thanked for their service to this great country.

It turned out to be 10 buses (200 veterans and about 100 support people). The veterans wore their appropriate hats (Marines, Army, Air Force, Navy, Airborne, etc.) Some had walkers, wheelchairs, canes; and some needed help to get around. I happened to be last in line, and a lot of the veterans had tears in their eyes. They claimed they had never had a reception like this in all their life. It was a very moving moment that will never be forgotten by anyone who was there. If you experience just one time in your life like this, you are fortunate.

They ranged in age from 84 to 97, and their trip was paid for by donations. Each caregiver with them paid their own way to be on the trip ($500 each), which took more than one year to plan. They had stopped in Shanksville, Pa., on their way to Hagerstown and were going to Washington, D.C., to see the war memorials. They will remember Hagerstown and we will remember them. A great job by our local military veterans and the restaurant. Job well done. God Bless America.

Charles Pope

Late charges send light bill skyrocketing

To the editor:

I got my light bill the other day as I always do. I opened it, and it was $700. I called the light company and they told me it was late charges. I said that I pay my bill every month. She said that I do, but these are late charges. I was told that if you don't have your money in at a certain time, you get charged.

I am 84 years old, and I never heard of this before. Do you know how hard it is to pay $700 out of a small Social Security check after you pay rent, cable, phone, insurance, lights and groceries? I paid what I could and I'm hoping they will let me pay some every month until I get it paid.

Kay Schindel

Remember those who sacrificed this Memorial Day

To the editor:

On April 26, 1866, the women of Columbus, Miss., gathered to spread flowers on the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers at Friendship Cemetery, in a heartfelt dedication for the sacrifice of these honored dead. At that time, this ceremony was called "Decoration Day."

In May of 1868, Gen. Norton P. Chipman suggested to Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic that this custom of spreading flowers on the graves of Union soldiers at periodic intervals should continue. Logan officially appointed May 30, 1868, as the date "for the purpose of strewing with flowers or other-wise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion and with the hope it will be kept up from year to year."

Memorial Day, as the celebration became known, thereafter included parades, speeches, and cookouts. But, let us not forget this is a celebration to honor those fallen heroes who unselfishly gave their very all in defense of our freedom.

When the call came out, these common citizens stepped forth and were transformed into soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen and women. They became the "good guys" who sallied forth in righteous anger to do brave battle with tyranny.

Dislocated from the familiar routine of their daily lives and families, they gave this sacrifice so the world could continue to live in harmony. Too often that sacrifice was the thing dearest to them — their very lives — so that we could continue to live in peace and freedom.

There is a line in an old Irish folk song, "The Bold Fenian Men," which aptly fits America's men and women who served so courageously. The line goes: "We'll maybe have great men, but we'll never have better."

Remember these common citizens, who gave their all for each and every one of us, as you celebrate this Memorial Day.

Paul H. Inskeep, 211-806
Maryland Correctional Training Center

Harold Camping simply dusted off an old scare story

To the editor:

End of Times??? There was no apocalypse May 21. Did I miss something?

These prophecies are easier to disregard if one is not a Christian. I now understand that the apocalypse has been postponed until October. We'll see!

I toured Megiddo (a.k.a. Armageddon) when visiting Israel in 1999. It was a real community 3,000 years ago and it is a real tourist site today, with its own fascinating archaeological dig and a souvenir shop. Obviously, the location has a history painstakingly assembled by the scientists who analyzed every ancient piece of garbage preserved by dry climate and time.  Armageddon does exist. (Look up Megiddo on Google Maps.)

Here's one Jewish guy's opinion about a prophecy from Middle Eastern lore and literature. This end of times prediction sounds like an ancient pundit trying to frighten his political enemies into joining his cult or, at the least, paying protection (baksheesh) from God Almighty. In those days, most folks had multiple religious affiliations — just in case one deity proved impotent, you could pull a competitive amulet off the shelf and be good to go.

Harold Camping, the most recent purveyor of apocalypse-in-our-time, has dusted off the old scare story and stamped it with a new expiration date, neatly packaged to sell to the gullible. The Bible is infinitely usable in that fashion. Just ask yourself: Does Camping earn his living telling how to secure the Rapture? Don't give away your BMW and, as one of the Sunday talking heads put it, "Don't stop flossing!"

M. Douglas Becker

Commissioner issues apology for actions at meeting

To the editor:

If I have offended anyone, please accept my apology. The May 23 regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners was charged with energy by the number of people gathered to hear the discussion of the county's FY2012 Capital Improvement Plan budget. Two projects contained within the budget — a new Senior Center and the extension of Yale Drive — were of very high interest to those attending the meeting and advocating for or against those projects. The discussion was convoluted yet productive, and ended with the CIP budget passing. Most of the people left.

A bit later in the meeting, the Yale Drive project was introduced for discussion. The project, as a separate issue, was not on the agenda. What jumped in my mind was the absence of folks who came to hear the Commissioners discuss the road project but left because our agenda did not give them notice to stay for further discussion once the CIP budget was concluded. Yale Drive was on the project list within the CIP budget and available for discussion at that time. Although not an expert, I had a strong sense that we were wandering into a potential violation of the Sunshine Law. The Open Meetings Act Manual of 2010 states the need in " ... securing the public's right to know public business," and that " ... a public body shall give reasonable advance notice of the session." In practice, that means following the agenda unless there is a compelling reason to change.

If I have offended anyone with my suggestion to place the Yale Drive project discussion on a future agenda to allow adequate public notice, please forgive me. I hope all interested parties will attend to hear any further discussions. Keep the email, snail mail and phone calls coming. All points of view are welcome and encouraged.

Ruth Anne Callaham

North Hagerstown's 'True Grit' honoree is a fine young man

To the editor:

When I saw the "True Grit" awards, I was elated to see Mark Keats received the award for North Hagerstown High School.

I first met Mark while he was standing outside South Hagerstown High School's gymnasium. He had a sports program, and as I walked by he looked up and said, "Hi." I was helping my daughter's junior class get set up for the prom. I ran some errands, and when I came back Mark was still there. I asked him if he was a senior and if he was going to the prom. He said yes to both and that he was very excited for the prom. When we were leaving, Mark said goodbye to Lauren, and she was surprised that he knew her name. I asked my daughter if she knew him, and she said she had seen him at sports events and her volleyball games.

The next time we saw Mark was at the North/South lacrosse game at North Hagerstown High School. Lauren and I noticed him on the field. At the end of the game, we saw him and I asked him his name, and he said Mark. We told Mark our names and he repeated them back to us. Of course, I asked him where he went to school and he said North. All along, I thought he was a student at South. I asked him if he had gone to the prom and he said not yet, but he was still excited. I told him to have a good time and to take care.

I want to let Mark's parents or guardians know what a wonderful job they have done in raising such a wonderful young man.

You really have to talk to Mark to understand.

Anna Fahrney

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