Letters to the Editor
Give The Dead Their Due To The Editor:
This is a letter that I wrote to the New York Times over the weekend. I have no idea whether or not it will be published. I wanted to send it to you as well because in Astoria, Woodside and Long Island City there are a lot of folks who are very patriotic and I wanted everyone to know that on the World Trade Center memorial none of the ranks from the Pentagon will be included as well as a Catholic Priest listed simply by his first and last name. Al and I have been fighting for this for a very long time. I believe that people do not know this. A General died that day. He must be listed, as he is at the Pentagon memorial, by his rank. He earned this rank. Father Mychal Judge must be listed as Father before his name. We believe that all those who earned ranks and titles defining who they were must be included. This includes not only the military and the religious but also the FDNY, PAPD, NYPD and civilian titles like LLD, MD., PhD, CPA, etc. The public needs to know. This memorial is for future generations, not us. Many thanks.
To Whom It May Concern:
Most people have many roles in life. Depending upon age and interests, we are many things. What defines us in death depends upon how we die. If it was an illness, than the many interests of the person may become prominent. If it was a traumatic death, than the thing that we did either during the trauma or before the trauma might define us. For the people who were murdered on September 11, 2001, their job was a defining moment as they were innocent victims of a diabolic plot to kill Americans. The terrorists killed not only Americans, but folks from around the world. How shall we remember these innocent victims of hatred? How will strangers learn about them? This is the dilemma of the Memorial at Ground Zero. The "committee" wants only names. They have agreed to a quasi-order. They will not allow titles and ranks to be included. They will not allow ages. They will not allow the many companies to be included before the names of those who worked in that company. They are simply listing names. They have reached out to families and asked if anyone who was close to the victim should be included next to the victim but they will not explain the connection. So, the only people who will know about this connection are family members who in the next 50 or so years will themselves be dead. What will we learn about these folks as we look at their names? Nothing. We will simply read their names.
Most families are united regarding the listing of names. They want an order. They want titles and ranks. They want ages. They want the company to be at the top of the listing of those who worked for that company. They want visitors to learn about their loved ones. They want information to be imparted. Families have been fighting for this for close to 7+ years. They are frustrated because the people on the committee lost no one. They cannot understand why this should be an issue. Providing information to visitors is a good thing. It is a memorable thing. Visitors should learn as much as they can about what happened, even if they have only a short time to visit the site. Why is this an issue?
It appears that Mayor Bloomberg is the crux of the problem. He wants abstraction where the families want order. Why does he feel this way? The families want to know. Why is this a problem where there are so many real problems at Ground Zero? Families are refusing to contribute to the Memorial Fund because of this issue. Common sense needs to prevail. The families have indicated that they will contribute if this issue is solved. Why does the mayor not want to allow the military to have their rank on the memorial? Why does the mayor not want Father Mychal Judge to be listed as Father instead of Mychal Judge? Why does the Mayor not want to allow the FDNY, PAPD, NYPD and other titles as LLD, MD, CPA to be included? These titles were earned in the person's life. They defined what they did on September 11, 2001. Why should this be a problem? None of the families know.
Finally, how will Mayor Bloomberg, former Mayor Giuliani, Governor Paterson, Former Governor Pataki be listed? Are they simply going to be listed as Michael Bloomberg, Rudolph Giuliani, David Paterson and George Pataki? If they are listed at the memorial with their titles then isn't this the hierarchy that the mayor is so opposed to? These people are alive. Are they more important than those who were murdered? They can no longer speak for themselves. Do they not deserve the same treatment? It is something for all America to think about and for all of us to voice our concerns now as the names are about ready to be cast in stone. After the first name is cast then it is too late to make additions. We have enough real problems. Let us honor those who died with their proper name, rank and title.
Mother of 9/11 decedent Firefighter Christopher
A. Santora (age 23)
Others Have DiedTo The Editor:
While the focus today, tomorrow and for the next God-knows-how-many-days will be the death of a pop culture icon, while many will mourn, wail and quite literally make fools of themselves over it and while as many will speak endlessly about it, allow me, if only for a moment, to remind us all that others have died this month: others whose lives were cut short, others who leave behind loved ones and whose families will dearly miss them, families who'll suffer with much more dignity and honor than we'll be exposed to on the tube in the coming days.
Yes, it's true--we've suffered a great loss-- but forgive me while I tell you that I'm not talking about the king of pop music.
These American military members died in Iraq this month:
Sergeant Justin J. Duffy
Specialist Christopher M. Kurth
Specialist Charles D. Parrish
Lance Corporal Robert D. Ulmer
Staff Sergeant Edmond L. Lo
Sergeant Joshua W. Soto
Captain Kafele H. Sims
Specialist Chancellor A. Keesling
And these members of our U.S. Armed Forces died in Afghanistan this month:
Sergeant Jones, Ricky D.
Specialist Munguia Rivas, Rodrigo A.
Command Master Chief Petty Officer Garber,
1st Sergeant Blair, John D.
Sergeant Smith, Paul G.
Staff Sergeant Melton, Joshua
Sergeant 1st Class Dupont, Kevin A.
Specialist O'Neill, Jonathan C.
Chief Warrant Officer Richardson Jr., Ricky Specialist Silva, Eduardo S.
Lance Corporal Whittle, Joshua R.
Major Barnes, Rocco M.
Major Jenrette, Kevin M..
Staff Sergeant Beale, John C.
Specialist Jordan, Jeffrey W.
Specialist Griemel, Jarrett P.
Specialist Hernandez I, Roberto A.
Sergeant Obakrairur, Jasper K.
Staff Sergeant Hall, Jeffrey A..
Private 1st Class Ogden, Matthew D.
Private 1st Class Wilson, Matthew W.
Let's remember and honor this day those whose deaths are truly impacting.
God rest them and God comfort their loved ones they've left behind.
And may God use their deaths to remind us all of the shortness of our days.
Adds Flag RuleTo The Editor:
About your informative article, "Guidelines For Displaying The Flag "(July 1), Item 4 states. "No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States.
There is one exception to that guideline. The United States Flag code provides that "No other flag or pennant should be placed above or on the same level of the Flag of the United States except during church services conducted by Naval Chaplains at sea when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the navy." (NTP-12 (B)
Get Out Of UNTo The Editor:
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, expressed delight recently when the world body's General Assembly approved U.S. membership in its 47-member Human Rights Council. This UN agency's attitude toward human rights, however, is that each is granted by the UN itself and must in no way contradict the ideals of the UN. The world body's position stands in sharp contrast to the U.S. Declaration of Independence, where "unalienable rights are recognized as having been granted by our "Creator" and, therefore, cannot legitimately be canceled by any government.
There is no greater reason for the U.S. to withdraw from the UN than this basic difference. Our nation's leaders shouldn't be delighted that the UN permits a U.S. representative to be part of the world body's flawed Human Rights Council. Any American who still believes in our nation's unique philosophical base should join the growing number of patriots who want the U.S. out of the UN.
Scolds MTATo The Editor:
Now, the MTA has increased the fares on city subways and buses to $2.25 a ride, citing their ever-increasing deficit, which must now be bridged.
Was it not too long ago that the MTA had a huge budget surplus in its coffers?
What happened to all of that money? Did it suddenly disappear? Perhaps it was used to help fatten the already high salaries of the MTA Executive Board members, from the president on down the line.
It is outrageous that the people of New York City and the surrounding suburbs are being asked yet again to foot the bill. There should be an investigation as to where all of the MTA's surplus money went. Also, the MTA needs to drastically improve the service on all of its mass transit lines. As a commuting public, we deserve and demand substantial improvements in our service. Respectfully submitted,
Keep Pedicabs PedalingTo The Editor:
Recent calls for even more regulations to pedicabs [are] disappointing to those who support a cleaner environment, free enterprise and transportation alternatives.
Pedicabs are a nonpolluting form of public transportation powered by people, not polluting fossil fuels. [They] represent a pure free market service with no government subsidy. Consumers are afforded another mode of choice vs. walking, taking a bus, taxi, subway or driving.
The excuse that pedicabs contribute to traffic congestion is absurd. Hundreds of pedicabs are outnumbered by thousands of other vehicles including taxis, limousines, FedEx, UPS, delivery trucks and automobiles who take up far more space.
Pedicabs provide a great form of exercise and gainful employment for their drivers. These people are our neighbors and pay taxes, just like you and I. Consumers, including tourists, continue to patronize this service on a voluntary basis.
Everyone should read NYC Campaign Finance Board filings by NYC Councilmembers. There was a political quid-pro-quo for those who voted to limit pedicabs and by fortunate coincidence received campaign contributions from the taxi industry. Doesn't the NYC Council have more important issues to deal with than continuing trying to put a small group of brave entrepreneurs out of business?
Great Neck, New York
Hails Grads, Raps SenatorsTo The Editor:
I am very proud of the high school graduates who were chosen after a competitive exam for entrance into the service academies from our area. The young men and women are of the highest quality, both in morality and in academic achievement as well as true patriots ready and willing to serve our nation. We salute and pay tribute to these fine young Americans, the military leaders of the future.
I also am very pleased and elated to learn about the $29.1 million that the federal government gave to New York City as part of the stimulus and national recovery program to help in criminal justice, cleanup [and] law enforcement. All of these areas are vital to promoting safety, peace and clean neighborhoods in addition to giving people jobs and enhancing the quality of life as well as the economy.
I am also proud of the 114th Precinct for the decrease in certain types of crime. Despite the downturn and recession, the economic crimes have decreased. Also, I am dismayed that there is currently a hiring freeze for firefighters, police, 911 and 311 operators and EMT workers. These are first responders and vital.
We are living in dangerous times and the political nonsense that is currently occurring in the NY state senate really is jeopardizing our lives. The senators in Albany must get their act together, act like mature people and represent all of us voters and do the business at hand and pass the laws that will protect our city physically and financially. We do not need another budget or financial crisis due to the immaturity of the senators in Albany. I am glad that our governor appointed a lieutenant governor. Perhaps this would help remedy the situation.
The senators are elected by us and we can show our dismay at the ballot box on election day. By the way, these actions of these senators are giving the politicians throughout the nation a bad reputation.
We must have democracy work properly and smoothly without any stupidity, stubbornness and unwillingness to compromise.
Long Island City