Letters: We have food, other benefits because previous generation cared; History shows us war (and lawlessness) must be avoided

We have food, other benefits because previous generation cared

Kat Helms’ Jan. 25 column, “The politics of food,” took me back to the time of post-1930s Depression followed by the ending of the war defeating Hitler and his Nazi ilk, and celebrating an upturn in the economy, jobs and my first-generation, American-born parents, melting me into a Finnish-Ukranian second-generation American kid whose staunchly union-believing father fought for better wages and working conditions and quality public school education and public libraries and whose mother, a homemaker and community volunteer, piled my plate high with meat, potatoes and other vegetables paired with her delicious homemade bread and platters offering second helpings, topped always with homemade deserts, because, well, I needed to clean my plate because “the people in India are starving, Johnny.”

Needless to say, my winning a letter in high school wrestling in the heavyweight class did not help to convince me that I should change my eating habits. For the longest time, I looked at my wife’s awesome cooking not as a delectable delight of her artistry, but as something to devour like a starved bear coming out of hibernation in the spring.


My dear sweet friend of 54 years finally got through to me and took me to walking 5 miles most days with her, nudging me to take just one more step and then another and to conquer my pain from being too many pounds overweight, and now I am approaching losing upwards of 50 pounds because she tells me that at our being 77 years old, she still is not tired of me (well, not as tired of me as some others may be) and wants us to enjoy many more years together. Imagine that!

Over the years I have learned from her that it’s not the quantity of the food, but the quality, presentation and ambience.

I truly enjoy her five-star dishes (but eat only the calories she says I should have) presented at every meal on real china with real glasses and real silverware. And, yes, I encourage her in her artistry by clearing the table, seeing to it that the dishes and pots and pans and the kitchen are cleaned without her lifting a finger. But when you get right down to the politics of food at our age, we can enjoy our years now because, thanks to my father and his generation thinking of their children, we have Social Security and a pension to provide us with food-purchasing power, medicare and supplemental health insurance which provide access to excellent care and providers, all of which most conservatives don’t want to recognize.

John D. Witiak

Union Bridge

History shows us war (and lawlessness) must be avoided

At this time, impeachment (and removal) is needed so that war can be avoided. Our country needs diplomats, ambassadors, and our allies. This president toys with pushing the world toward war. History shows that war works badly. Our planet needs to function as a world. We do not need another Hitler-like ruler.

In 1850, my grandfather’s paternal grandmother left Germany and brought her four sons to America. They were immigrants. Many of us have similar stories. George, Martin, Adam, and Philip were no longer safe in their homeland.

In 1862, young Philip joined the Union army which stood against slavery or racism. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of the Wilderness. He never returned home. To honor that first Philip, two of his brothers named their next child Philip. One of them was my grandfather, Philip Bitzel.

When America could no longer put off joining WW1 President Wilson asked for 800 men to join the service of this country in 1917. My uncle Fred is one of that group listed in the statehouse as newly enlisted men for that war .

After Pearl Harbor happened, my cousin Fred, as a very young man, went to serve his country. In the battle of Iwo Jima a grenade landed on his body. He seldom complained though he spent most of his life on crutches. Finally that war was over in 1945. We ought not forget the price many have paid in the not-too-distant past.

History is a thing we all share in one way or another. It is time to rely more on using our laws for the good of all. No one can be allowed to be lawless, especially not our president.

Katherine Fisher Shaw

Union Bridge