Thank you for printing Tim Baker's column (Sept. 19) concerning the Walt Disney Corporation's proposed theme park in Virginia.
It is inconceivable that the placing of this park in the historic area of Virginia should even be considered.
Obviously, Disney CEO Michael Eisner has never visited this area, and since he apparently failed his history classes, he has no understanding of the sacredness and beauty of this countryside.
My husband was a Boy Scout leader and our son a Civil War re-enactor. Both have visited most of the battlefields and both have expressed what a profoundly moving experience it was. To place the park in this area is literally desecrating hallowed ground.
We have visited Disney World. There's a perfect example of what happens when Mickey Mouse takes over. It's the Sorcerer's Apprentice all over again. It just keeps growing and expanding without any control.
Drive across Route 4 in Florida, from Orlando to Tampa, and see how such an operation can trash an area, something they do not need in Virginia.
If Disney wants this park so badly, why not put it in some impoverished place -- which this area of Virginia is not -- that really needs developing?
And why aren't more Marylanders, especially the politicians, speaking out against this, or are they blinded by dollar signs, too?
Frances C. Miller
I was startled and saddened to learn that an old "friend," Congressman Clarence Long, had died. He was friend to so many, constituents and non-constituents. He has been missed from the active political scene but has always remained in the hearts and minds of everyone privileged to know him.
During the 22 years he served in the House of Representatives, on behalf of different Chinese families in his district, I often appealed to him for his interest and support in connection with immigration matters, particularly the long interminable delays in visa petitions. He was always not only very prompt in acknowledging requests for his intercessions but his communications with the State Department and American embassies abroad always contained personal and sincere interest in seeking information regarding status of the petitions, any problems which needed more clarification, documentations, as well as hope for the anxious petitioner separated from immediate relatives for so long. As soon as he received a report, he promptly forwarded this information to me and his constituents, always assuring them that if he could be of any further assistance, to call upon him without any hesitation.
Family reunifications were very, very slow in the early years of his tenure of service. We are also grateful to Congressman Long for his interest and support of liberalizing immigration laws which were in existence through the early 1960s. After years of waiting (in so many cases), as soon as he received word from the U.S. Consulate General's Office in Hong Kong that a visa had been issued, he promptly relayed this long-awaited good news to the petitioners. His staff reflected his interest in contacts with the public. Neither he nor they were ever abrupt.
No matter where you ran into him, his face always broke into a warm smile and a friendly handshake. Through the years, whenever his schedule permitted and he was in the area, he often attended Grace & St. Peter's Annual Chinese Lunar New Year Festival, smiling and shaking hands with everyone. His contributions to his constituents in time, effort, and assistance beyond the call of duty assistance, are far too great to enumerate. He has enriched the lives of all who knew him and added stature to American politics. As we say "farewell and thank you" to a dear friend and faithful public servant, we extend our deepest sympathy to all of his survivors.
Lillian Lee Kim
In another of his polemics on "family values," Cal Thomas (Sept. 14) blames the sorry state of contemporary American life in the United States for having "banned prayer . . . in our schools." How many times do he and others have to be reminded that only "state sponsored" prayer is banned? That represents a big and fundamental difference.
Mr. Thomas' child and his classmates can pray in school hallways, during study periods, at recess, lunchtime, and in the middle of a calculus exam, if they find the need.
William H. Engleman
Edward Gunts' Sept. 12 article about Fort McHenry was excellent, but I wish to make one correction. Defenders' Day refers to the Battle of North Point, which took place on Sept. 12, 1814, one day before the bombardment began. The citizens of Baltimore were so grateful to the defenders at North Point that the Battle Monument was erected a few years later at Calvert and Fayette streets. In 1851, an act was passed by the Maryland legislature making Sept. 12 an official state holiday in remembrance of the Battle of North Point.
Unfortunately, even we in Baltimore have lost sight of this distinction. Had the Battle at North Point not been fought, or had the Americans there not prevailed, the British bombardment of Fort McHenry might have been successful.
Next year, the Defenders' Day Committee located in Baltimore County, will put on its ninth annual commemoration the day before Fort McHenry's celebrations. All in the metropolitan area are invited to attend this event, which seeks to remind everyone of the reason for the holiday.
It seems to me that if you wanted to recall the liberation of Holland and the airborne operation of Sept. 17, 1994, you could do better than show a picture of a weeping British veteran at a memorial for yet another British failure, Arnhem.
The British Army was worn out and unable to fulfill Field Marshal Montgomery's ambitions in Holland, just as they had failed in Normandy and at the Falaise Pocket.
The British were two days late in reaching the 101st Airborne Division, the first division in line along the corridor that, according to Montgomery, was to open into northern Germany and end the war in the fall. Those two days led to the destruction of the 1st British Airborne Division in Arnhem.
Enough of teary British veterans remembering failures. Remember instead the successful American airborne divisions which did their best to get Montgomery's British Army over the rivers and canals of Holland but were victimized by the failure of tired, ineffective troops led by a deluded English marshal.
Gerald B. Johnston
On Sept. 19, Michael Langbaum repeats a foolish argument: "However, we do have the National Guard stationed around the state to help protect the citizenry in case of war or other emergency situations. Make no mistake, this is war and the guard should be called into action."
The National Guard (a reserve component of the Army and Air Force that can be used briefly in local emergencies by a state governor so long as the Pentagon makes no objection) is not available as such for use as auxiliary civil police.
Soldiers are not even trained for any such role.
What Mr. Langbaum has in mind is the imposition of martial rule, meaning indefinite suspension of the Constitution, especially the writ of habeas corpus.
This was last done in Baltimore by President Lincoln, and conse
quently our official state song begins: "The despot's heel is on thy shore, Maryland, my Maryland."
If martial rule seems necessary, the Pentagon will send in the Regular Army, not reservists such as National Guard troops (except as auxiliaries).
A general would take over from the governor. The judicial system would consist of courts-martial supervised by the Pentagon's judge advocate general.
Since the very purpose of martial rule is to restore the civil power as soon as possible, the military government of Hawaii stayed in power too long, during World War II, and hence got severely reprimanded by the Supreme Court
What could a state governor do beside seeking help from the Pentagon? He could ask the legislature to activate the State Guard -- the militia contemplated by the Second Amendment.
This consists of all reasonably fit male citizens between the ages of 18 and 45 who have duly provided themselves with small arms, preferably those which are militarily appropriate. And such militiamen could be trained and controlled as auxiliaries by the police.
Thus the likes of Mr. Langbaum would find themselves in the role of militiamen, helping to guard their neighbors instead of demanding that only those members of the community with uniforms in their closets make all the sacrifices and face all the dangers of the streets.
In fine, let Mr. Langbaum arm himself, join with his neighbors and help the police to guard the likes of me who did their share of shooting long ago.
Willis Case Rowe