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Letters: Loyalty was to state first during Civil War; why do Taneytown police need automatic weapons? | READER COMMENTARY

Loyalty was to state first during Civil War

In response to the July 2 letter to the editor, “Lee, Confederate generals traitors,” by James G. Hirtle, Mr. Hirtle has seemingly fallen into a time trap by judging the actions of historical figures and events in modern-day terms rather than in the context of the “then day.”

I will not quibble with Mr. Hirtle’s definition of “traitor,” but what he has missed is “back in the day” most Americans gave their first loyalty to their state rather than to the country. The late author Shelby Foote perhaps best noted that prior to the Civil War, the United States was referred to in pluralistic terms. Following the war, the United States because a singular noun, one united country.

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Interestingly, the educational thrust of West Point was to produce officers trained in the skills of a civil engineer, the goal being competent leadership for the expansion of the country, i.e., builders of roads, bridges, railroads, towns. Any serious military training was secondary and almost accidental. Many Confederate general officers were West Point graduates, but most of the Confederate officers were lawyers, businessmen, shop owners ... men with leadership skills if not military training.

It may surprise Mr. Hirtle to learn that Maryland, a state that did not secede, furnished the Confederate army with 14 general officers and the Navy with three flag officers, including the only full admiral. Additionally, Marylanders led at one time the Confederate Marine Corps, the Secret Service, the Provost Service and the military department of Richmond. Many prominent Maryland medical doctors and clergy went “south.”

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It is impossible to know exactly how many Marylanders served in the Confederate military while 7,500 to 12,000 in a conservative figure, many entertain something in the 15,000 to 20,000 range as realistic. At one time, the Historical Society of Maryland estimated the figure to be in the 30,000 to 32,000 range. These counts are compromised because many Marylanders joined units other than those defined as Maryland units.

The bottom line for Mr. Hirtle, Robert E. Lee and the men of the Confederacy believed they were not fighting against the United States but were fighting for their country, the Confederate States of America. This feeling was so strong that some units refused to participate in the Maryland campaign, which led to the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam to some) stating they joined to fight for their country, not invade each other.

G. Leamon Martin Jr.

Westminster

Honor the anthem, the flag, this country

I am writing in reference to the national anthem issue. The national anthem was dedicated to and for this country of the United States of America. The American flag, the beautiful symbol of this great country.

When the national anthem is sung or played at any event in the USA, it needs to be honored. The tradition of people stand shows respect and honor for this country’s flag and the country itself. When anyone kneels at the occasion of the national anthem being performed, that person shows disgrace and disrespect for himself or herself, plus to the even, to the flag and, most of all, dishonor to this country.

Most people have issues of something in life, but the national anthem is not the time or place to produce issues. Stand for you flag. Stand for this country, the USA. God bless.

Jim Brewer

Sykesville

Why do Taneytown police need automatic weapons?

In a recent column, Taneytown councilmember Joe Vigiotti wrote that overseeing the police “is one of the most important things I have done in my life.” I agree.

So I would like him to explain why he approved the Taneytown police force’s stockpile of submachine guns. Does he expect them to be used against the 7,000 Taneytown residents “handcrafted by God”? Or is he afraid so many Baltimore gunmen will attack Taneytown that the tiny police force will require automatic weapons to keep them out?

Vigliotti is a self-proclaimed right-to-lifer. So how does he justify, as part of the government of his town, arming police with weapons designed for mass slaughter?

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Harry Eager

Sykesville

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