Lifting of Embargo Aided Live POWs -- for Now
I recently attended the annual meeting of the National Alliance of Families, held in Crystal City, Va. There were many guest speakers and activists and all spoke of intelligence on live American POWs -- Bill Legro, Sen. Bob Smith, Mike Van Atta, former Rep. Bill Hendon, Maj. Mark Smith, Ret. to name a few. I, however, will comment on the remarks of Mike Van Atta and retired Maj. Mark Smith, because I know first-hand of their dedication and credibility on this issue.
Mr. Van Atta has been sending search teams into Southeast Asia to gather information on live POWs. Many of those who have participated in those teams are from Maryland.
As a team leader and "Live POW Lobby" member, I have direct knowledge of Mr. Van Atta's initiatives. Of the teams sent into Southeast Asia, all but one have returned with information on live POWs.
The most compelling intelligence, however, was provided by Mark Smith. He has been living in Bangkok since 1986. Mark is a former POW and was released during Operation Homecoming in 1973. He was forced out of the military when he refused to be silent over intelligence that showed that American POWs were still being held from the Korean and Vietnam wars.
What Mark shared with the families was his intelligence information showing that the Vietnamese are still holding 572 Americans as POWs. That information was given to him by a NVA military general. The prisoners have been moved into Laos and are being guarded by three divisions of NVA troops. And although the military was ordered to eliminate the POW problem, they refused to execute the prisoners.
Although I, like many others, did not support the lifting of the trade embargo, it does appear that it had, at least for now, a positive effect on the lives of the POWs.
The point that I am trying to make is American POWs remain
held captive. They are not only from the Vietnam War, but from World War II, Korea and the Cold War.
To those of us involved in this issue, public apathy and our government's lack of sincerity toward bringing them home, is our nation's greatest disgrace. . . .
Rick Will Sr.
A Bartlett Fan
On July 16, I was greatly privileged to attend a "thankyou" awards dinner in Westminster given to honor Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-6th. As a member of the audience, I went there to add my applause for a dedicated legislator, but instead found myself inspired and encouraged by his brief "thank you" speech.
He chose to emphasize two words in our Pledge of Allegiance. "The Republic for which it stands" and "One nation under God," as the basis for what he thinks is good and appropriate government.
Congressman Bartlett firmly believes in truly representative government, one much smaller in size, devoid of waste and excesses, and, above all, one of truth and trust. He sounds like a modern-day Patrick Henry.
He rightly prides himself on his full adherence to his commitments, and takes a certain delight in his reputation as a "maverick" who continues to fully support the Constitution of the United States as the only real basis for our form of government. Very refreshing.
The voters of Garrett, Allegheny, Washington, Frederick, Howard and Carroll counties should walk a little taller, hold their heads a little higher for having elected such a man to represent them in Washington. I am only sorry that my location does not allow me to vote for him. He sets a great example for what we need in our government. . . .
Fred C. Lange
New Windsor Rec Programs
As president of the New Windsor Rec Council, I would like to respond to the June 26 article entitled, "Mothers organize fun-filled day for New Windsor youth."
Currently, we have almost 300 children participating in our baseball/softball program, with activities six days a week. The New Windsor Rec Council recognizes that our programs are not for everyone in the community. However, we continue to develop programs that are not sports-oriented.
We had plans for a three-week summer playground. However, due to state regulations, the program was canceled for this year. (Any program longer then a week must be certified. We didn't have enough time to receive certification.) . . . The New Windsor Rec Council meets the last Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at New Windsor Middle School. Regular meetings have been canceled for the summer. The next meeting will be held on Aug. 29. The meetings are open to all members of the community. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 635-2916.
Kevin G. Null