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Parade FlagsI would like to call to...

Parade Flags

I would like to call to the attention of your readers that Maryland will be represented in the Inauguration Day Parade today by a marching group known as the Original 27 Flags from the American Legion Dewey Lowman Post Number 109 of Halethorpe.

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This is a group of men, women and children who are members of the American Legion, the Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion who march with the 27 U.S. flags that were commissioned by the Congress of the United States since 1776.

There were 26 changes since "Old Glory" was sewn together. Robert Ford, the current Maryland American Legion adjutant, started the Original 27 Flags in 1975.

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This group is not new to the Inauguration Parade scene because it marched in the 1977 parade for Jimmy Carter.

Take note of the three most unique flags as the parade passes by. Flag one is the 13 stars and 13 stripes flag representing the 13 original colonies. Flag two is the Star-Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. It has 15 stars and 15 stripes. Flag 27 is the last flag commissioned by Congress with 50 stars and 13 stripes.

Michael J. Connelly

Catonsville

Best Students

Your Dec. 27 article decrying the preparation of the "best and brightest" U.S. students seems at odds with the little publicized results of the 33rd International Mathematical Olympiad held last July in Moscow. The United States team, composed of six high school students, finished second in competition with 52 countries.

Was this just luck or a one-time event? Hardly. The United States has competed 18 years and has always placed within the top six countries. In seven of those years, we were either first or second.

I believe that these contests, administered under strict rules and regulations and open to students nationwide, say much more about the preparation of our best students than do the ruminations of the few college professors quoted in your article.

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G. Keith Harmeyer

Timonium

Fighting Guns

Hal Riedl did a great disservice to the gun control movement in this state by his virulent and wholly unjustified attack on the records of Sens. Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski and Reps. Ben Cardin and Kweisi Mfume (Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 13).

These four legislators have been among the leaders in Congress in the fight for reasonable gun control legislation. They have each made banning assault weapons and enacting a national handgun purchase waiting period among their top priorities.

Mr. Riedl is unimpressed by their support for the waiting period law which he describes as "fatuous." Does he consider it "fatuous" that the Maryland State Police stopped over 12,000 criminals from obtaining handguns under Maryland's waiting period law? We need our legislators to fight to give police this tool everywhere in America.

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Mr. Riedl himself recognizes the importance of banning semi-automatic assault weapons, which are of use only for criminals and terrorists.

He does not mention, however, that Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes, Representatives Cardin and Mfume have all strongly supported and voted for federal assault weapons legislation.

Last year Senator Mikulski and Representatives Cardin and Mfume, who were up for re-election, all made banning assault weapons key campaign issues.

Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse and the thousands of Maryland citizens who support our effort to enact reasonable gun control measures are very proud of these four leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Vincent DeMarco

Baltimore

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The writer is executive director, Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse.

Death and Exile

In 1992, Egypt arrested 700 Muslim fundamentalists for acts of terror, i.e., killing a few tourists. In 1992, Algeria experienced violence by Muslim fundamentalists. The authorities clamped down and an unknown number of Muslim fundamentalists were killed or arrested.

The total number of Muslim fundamentalists killed by Saudi authorities has reached into the thousands. In Syria, over the years, thousands of Muslim fundamentalists were killed by the government. Other Mideast countries have similar records.

In 1992, Israel arrested 400 Muslim fundamentalists and deported them to Lebanon. It is important to note that Israel did it for the same reasons as did the other regimes cited previously. Yet, instead of killing these people Israel deported them. Guess which country was condemned by the U.N.? Guess which country is getting the bad press?

Joseph Haus

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Reisterstown

Life Trustee

Thank you for the decent way you have reported all the news about the late Alvin J. Levy, interred but never to be forgotten by all of us who honor him in death as in his abundant life.

It was my father, class of 1921, for 62 years a teacher at McDonogh School, now 89 and retired, who was the first to greet Mr. Levy when he came to all of us to begin his own McDonogh career, in 1943, three years before I, too, would graduate.

Mr. Levy had walked in from Slade Avenue (Pikesville), then rural, to our campus in a year when McDonogh still wore a uniform, still had some vestiges of her origins as a "farm school" and still (as now) judged her students for their character as much as their competence, in a solid and demanding academic milieu -- an exceptional route, then as now, to all of higher education and to all of life.

Over his more than 40 years for and with all of us at McDonogh School, Mr. Levy has been, beyond measure, friend and counsel to hundreds of McDonogh students, their families and their communities.

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Even in his retirement, he worked, as did my own father, for McDonogh's success. Some have called Mr. Levy a "landmark" -- he was more than that, and is, a "life trustee" of an exceptional school.

Mr. Levy has been, and ever shall be, our true friend and colleague, as we are his.

Paul Dawson Carre

St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Chinese Century?

Joel Kotkin, in "A Wealthier Third World" (Dec. 7), forecasts, without fear, Asian economic power. The 21st century could be the Asian century, probably the Chinese century.

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When I taught school in Thailand 40 years ago, the Chinese even then were regarded as the "Jews of Southeast Asia."

This augurs well for the world. Jews and Chinese are very much alike. Both are highly intelligent, both revere scholarship and learning, both are ambitious and energetic, and neither is really warlike but both are quick to defend their interests.

The success of Asians in America is an excellent indicator of what we can expect of Asia in the 21st century.

The Bronx School of Science, harder to get into than Harvard, was once 80 percent Jewish. It is now 40 percent Jewish, 40 percent Asian, and 20 percent everyone else.

A few years ago, the Stanford University admissions director said that if they went entirely by high school records and test scores, 40 percent of each freshman class would be Jewish and 40 percent would be Asian, mostly Chinese.

Although Jews are only 2.5 percent of our population and Asians only 2 percent, their record in our schools is truly astonishing.

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Before Hitler, Jews were less than one percent of Germany's population, yet they produced one-third of Germany's Nobel Prize winners in science.

Mr. Kotkin spells out Chinese business successes in Asia and the world. The Jewish record is well known. Our investment in Israel and the influx of well-educated Russian immigrants will soon make Israel a monster MIT in the Middle East.

Our investment and cooperation with China could make China -- and the United States -- partners that could command the world's economy.

Only one in every 500 people on this planet is Jewish, yet their contributions to mankind have been disproportionately enormous.

One of every five people on this planet is Chinese. Napoleon said China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, he said, for then she awakens, she will shake the world.

China is awake. Let's capitalize on it.

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Tom Gill

North Beach



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