Letters to the Editor - Sept. 8

September 08, 2011

Operation Shining Hope commemorates 9/11

To the editor:

This letter is to announce an upcoming event at the Allegany Fairgrounds in Cumberland, Md., on Sunday, Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Operation Shining Hope will have as its featured speaker, Retired 1st Lt. Clebe McClary, a U.S. Marines recon patrol leader in Vietnam in the late 1960s. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for his actions and bravery while under extreme enemy fire.

Chaplain Paul Demers, who was summoned to ground zero, will speak. Country music singer Maria Rose will perform “(We Need To Be) The RE-United States,” a song she wrote after the attacks. Autumn Avila of Hagerstown will sing the national anthem and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”

The event will be recorded by Lawrence Wilson, a disabled Vietnam veteran, and video tapes will be sold at a later date. Hats, T-shirts and car magnet also are expected to be available.

There is no charge for this event. Gates open at 6 a.m. with ceremonies to begin at 9.

Vic Ryan Jr.
Cumberland, Md.

Hats off to reporter, newspaper for 9/11 coverage

To the editor:

Kudos to Janet Heim and The Herald-Mail for the compelling and inspiring story, “Absolutely Numbing” in Sunday’s edition on “9/11.” The personal side of this tragedy is carefully revealed and sensitively described to the point where the reader simply can’t stop reading: “It’s a real gripper,” as my late journalism professor used to say.

With the media going a “bit” crazy over only the twin towers and the horrific videos of their collapse on TV, it is so refreshing to have a very personalized presentation of how this great tragedy affects an American family. I would hope that every American could read this story and forever ponder its lesson to us all.

Also, the decision to include “We Will Never Forget,” an insert with all the victims’ names, was an added plus to the front-page spread as it recognized each person who died in the horrific event. Even though most of us had no family member or neighbor who lost their life, seeing each name is a chilling reminder that our country must never gloss over the lives of innocents who perished. I shall always keep this special issue to share with my grandchildren and hopefully my great-grandchildren to remind them of the price so many of our citizens paid on that infamous day.

Thank you, Herald-Mail and Janet Heim for a job well done.  

Blanton Croft

Thanks to all for birthday celebration

To the editor:

Thank you to my friends and the Maryland Army National Guard.

How do I say thank you for such a great birthday present and the many years of service with friends?

I was invited to a private ceremony at The Dundalk Armory in August; the same month I entered the military in 1974 and the same month of my birth. I was informed that I would be giving a speech and presenting awards to fellow soldiers. It turns out that my wife and I were the ones who received awards.

My beloved wife of more than 25 years, Lisa Evans, received flowers and an award from the State of Maryland. She was graciously recognized for her assistance in supporting the families and the soldiers of our unit as they served overseas and during annual training missions. I am so very proud of my wife and her strong support of me and my fellow soldiers for so many years.

I was awarded two medals: the Army Achievement Medal and the Maryland Army National Guard’s Meritorious Medal for exceptionally meritorious service to the Maryland Army National Guard for more than 36 years. This is the Maryland National Guard’s second-highest medal.

When I wore the uniform, it was with strong pride. When there was a mission, I volunteered without hesitation. I proudly took my stand in support of Desert Storm/Desert Shield, Katrina and Rita hurricane relief efforts in New Orleans, Operation Noble Eagle/Force Protection at the Hagerstown Armory and the Hagerstown Regional Airport. In my tour of duty in Iraq, I was a heavy mobile equipment mechanic and recovery specialist (wrecker operator). I was the oldest soldier in Northern Iraq in a combative role in the brigade and one of the wrecker operators with the most missions recovering equipment in a combat zone.

I feel so honored to receive this award, and I feel so proud and so humbled to stand with you, my comrades. Like you, I’m just doing my duty as an American solider.

Thank you to everyone. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is one birthday present I’ll never forget.   

“So long as their sons preserve the spirit and appreciate the purpose of their fathers, the United States will remain invincible.”  — Confederacy president Jefferson Davis

Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Walter Evans

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