D-Day MemoriesMy husband, a retired colonel, and...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

D-Day Memories

My husband, a retired colonel, and a friend have just returned from Europe where they spent a few days in England going to the places where my husband had trained and supervised the training of troops for D-Day in 1944.

The remainder of the trip was spent in France, where they visited the D-Day landing beaches and nearby cemeteries.

At each of these, there were commemorative ceremonies, and my husband was seated on the platform. Before one of these began, a French colonel saw him the audience and came up to him. When he saw that my husband had been awarded the Croix de Guerre, he insisted that he sit on the platform and that he belonged with the honorees.

At each service, the British and French television and print press were represented, and a BBC reporter interviewed him at length. Conspicuous in their absence were the American media.

The trip was one of memories and great satisfaction. Most gratifying of all was the tremendous outpouring of thanks and gratitude everywhere by the French people for the part the United States played in rescuing them from their Nazi oppressors.

Jane Hutzler Wolf

Baltimore

School Prayer

Your editorial on June 17 spoke of the enduring power of the ban on prayer in school. The tone of the article would lead one to believe that this is a decided issue that has not been recently changed. This is untrue.

School prayer is not dead. Individuals may pray any time that they want to. But prayer time, per se, is not given. Teachers, as agents of the state, may not lead prayer.

Commencement prayers have been affirmed by the Supreme Court as long as they are student-led and student-initiated.

Prayer is speech and has been recognized by the high court as deserving legal protection as such.

The Supreme Court recently let stand a lower court ruling that permitted high school students to vote for commencement prayer by a simple majority of the graduating class.

God has not been exiled from the public forum, and prayer in school is not a dead issue.

David P. Gilmore

Glen Burnie

Insensitive System

During the past school year, the Baltimore County Board of Education and its superintendent considered the very emotional issue related to inclusion of special-needs students into regular classrooms and schools, a process typically known as mainstreaming.

Unfortunately, Superintendent Stuart Berger and Board Chairman Rosalie Hellman have exacerbated a very delicate and emotional issue by their failure to display sensitivity to the concerns of parents, teachers and students.

Furthermore, the failure to have an inclusive process which would provide open and full debate has turned the matter into a debacle.

It is very disappointing to me, as a resident of Baltimore County, as a father of children who attended Baltimore County public schools and as a grandfather with a grandchild attending a Baltimore County public school, to witness an emotional explosion which is neglecting to address the most important issue, that being what is in the best interest of our children.

Melvin A. Steinberg

Annapolis

The writer is the lieutenant governor of Maryland.

Role Models

I was rather surprised by Gemma Hoskins' condemnation of professional ball players in her June 12 letter. It seems to me that teachers and athletes actually have a lot in common.

Both groups work only a part of the year. Both are controlled by unions. And both have an influence on our youth, frequently being held up as role models.

While the Orioles and the Mariners certainly deserve reprimands for their actions, they are not the only groups that don't always present a desirable public image to our youth.

Take, for example, public school teachers on strike, refusing to work or applying the work-to-rule concept. These actions certainly don't show teachers in a positive light or help them maintain an appearance of role models. And do unions ever really pay any fines for their members' actions?

I find teachers' attitudes toward money (strikes) an insult to the citizens who pay their wages, and hardly professional.

Our children deserve a major-league roster of teachers. It is certainly more difficult to find out information about a teacher's training and ability than it is to look up a baseball player's history of accomplishments. Which is more important? How about some baseball cards on teachers?

I also find it less than reassuring when Ms. Hoskins states, "It appears that educators can no longer be comfortable holding sports figures up to their students as individuals to follow and emulate."

I wouldn't want athletes presented to my children as role models at any time. I certainly have to agree with Charles Barkley and Nike when they say that you find your role models in your parents and not in athletes.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

GOP vs. Democrats on Deficit Reduction

After reading your June 24 lead editorial about "The Republican Nyet," I am convinced you just don't get it. George Bush went along in 1990 with a $500 billion deficit reduction bill that is no different than what we are doing now, and that went down to defeat.

This bill is no different from what the Republicans agreed to with the Democrats then, and look at the deficit today.

Incidentally, two years from now, be sure to let us know how much the deficit has been reduced.

Joseph H. Cutchin Jr.

Salisbury

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Your editorial "The Republican Nyet" was based upon assumptions and premises which, on closer inspection, seem quite problematic.

The editorial states that President Bush lost his re-election bid because of his "mindless" anti-tax pledge. Making such a pledge was not Bush's mistake -- breaking it was.

By signing onto the 1990 budget deal with congressional Democrats at a time when the economy was especially vulnerable, Bush did immutable damage to the electoral coalition of Republicans and independents who brought him to victory in 1988.

If -- as you prescribe -- congressional Republicans followed a similar path, they would likely sacrifice some of the anti-Clinton momentum which fueled the recent Republican victory in Texas, and which could bring the GOP back to power if the Democratic economic plan fails.

You also seem to have developed a new definition for the term "gridlock." Two years ago, the term was used to describe the inevitable conflict which resulted from a Congress and a presidency controlled by different parties.

Now it seems to refer to any time congressional Republicans dare to challenge the will of the majority Democrats -- something which is the right and the duty of any opposition party.

You also criticize the Democrats for failing to solicit Republican support, observing that this will only bring them "the privilege of taking full blame for anything that goes wrong in a shaky economy."

That the two parties are rallying around their rival budgetary proposals is in fact a great thing, for it might finally introduce an element of accountability into a system which has been plagued by political finger-pointing for the past 25 years.

It is true that the Democrats control both elected branches of government. But exit polls taken on election night revealed that most voters preferred fewer services and lower taxes to more services and higher taxes. The budget battle which is going on in Congress is quite refreshing, for it marks a struggle between two differing political ideologies. The American people can only benefit from such a contest, for on election day they will be able to make a clear-cut judgment as to who "won" and who "lost."

Richard J. Cross

Timonium

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I am truly incredulous at the ridiculous assertions made in the editorial of June 24. In the twisted logic of The Sun, Republican senators should throw their votes in with the Democrats so that the blame can be spread evenly when the tax package proves to stifle economic growth.

Bad law is bad law. This plan is virtually identical to the 1990 budget deal. As usual, Congress did not control spending as promised and the deficit went sky high. Why now should we believe the same tripe that Congress will actually make the cuts promised?

Maybe the Republicans learned that trusting the Democrats is like trusting used car salesmen. What's the big deal anyway? Gridlock is over since the Democrats control all the halls of power.

Richard Pais

Bel Air

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