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Dell needs to learn of county's real...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Dell needs to learn of county's real issues

In response to a report giving Carroll County a "D" grade for failing to adhere to Smart Growth policies, Carroll County Commissioner Donald I. Dell is quoted as saying, "Don't we have enough problems in this county without people picking on us for all these little issues? It's pathetic."

I would like to point out what is truly pathetic: the fact that at least one of our commissioners believes overcrowded schools, diminished water supplies and clogged roads that are the result of over-development fall under the category of "little issues." This is no way to serve the residents of Carroll County.

Lisa Taddei

Mount Airy

Don't let terrorists divide Americans

The dastardly sneak attack on America on Sept. 11 has brought out a groundswell of unity, patriotism and anger. President Bush and others have rightly called for a war on those who did this, as well as on those who harbor and supply them.

Since this is going to be a long, drawn-out affair, much of the action not on TV like the Gulf War, I have been considering how we can tell if we, the civilized world, or they, the barbarians, wind up winning.

Basically, we win if two things take place. Short-term, we win if we capture, or preferably kill, Osama Bin Laden and his merry band of vermin. I don't believe the American public will accept anything less.

Long-term, we have to then, in conjunction with others, engage in the lengthy process of rooting out all terrorist groups, regardless of their cause. This means everyone, including Americans, have to stop giving any support of any kind to any group who murders innocent people anywhere in the world. If we can accomplish these two difficult goals, we'll have a safer and freer life.

They, however, can win in many different ways. Not by triumphing on the battlefield, which they can't, but in more subtle ways, using our own anger, fear and weaknesses against us.

If we decide to launch indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians, or try to permanently occupy places like Afghanistan, they win.

On the other hand, if we listen to those who suggest we "Give Peace a Chance" and do nothing, they win.

If we don't do something to tighten up our open borders, they win.

But if we let our fear get the best of us and start harming our own citizens because of their religion or the way they look, they win.

If we listen to mushy headed liberals who suggest we brought the attack on ourselves because of our support for Israel, they win.

Yet if we listen to rock-headed conservatives who believe we brought this on ourselves because our freedom allows free political thought for groups they don't like, they win.

If we become annoyed at certain restrictions such as longer waits at airports or more metal detectors at public places, they win.

By the same token, if we allow the government to destroy our constitutional rights in the name of security, they win.

If we don't support our leaders with patience and understanding, they win.

However, if we allow any politician, of any party and at any level of government, to wrap themselves in the flag and tell us to ignore all their other stupidities, past, present and future, in the name of unity, they win.

Finally, while this war is now the most important issue before us, if we forget other issues, including local ones in the county, then we have allowed Bin Laden and the other cut-throats to set the agenda of American democracy, and we've truly forgotten why we are fighting.

This won't be easy, and we'll all find ourselves coming up short at times, but I am confident, after observing the aftermath of Sept. 11, that the American spirit will prevail. God Bless America!

Frank H. Rammes

Finksburg

'Greatest generation' should inspire courage

I didn't live through Pearl Harbor. Born into the Baby Boom generation of post-World War II, I was born one year after F.D.R.'s death. But, I've heard the stories and so have we all of the "greatest generation" - the generation that defended and protected our precious liberties and preserved our freedom, so we thought, for posterity.

The images and sacrifices of that generation are known to us through books and cinema and the somber face of Tom Hanks, who never fails to ominously remind us that the "greatest generation" is leaving us now at the rate of 1,000 a day.

As a tribute to their sacrifices, a memorial is set to rise in their honor.

Our generation cannot escape the fact that history does indeed repeat itself. Twice before, we emerged from periods of wealth and prosperity only to find ourselves staring down the face of a formidable foe. World War I shook us from the excesses of the "Gilded Age," and World War II shook us from the excesses of the Roaring Twenties and a stock market gone awry.

And now, after a decade of unparalleled riches and technological triumphs that propelled more Americans than ever before into living the "American Dream," we now find ourselves far from invincible and stunningly shaken. Although storm clouds loomed on the horizon despite this prosperous decade, few seriously heeded the signs.

And now, the wolf is at the door, banging hard. The question is no longer can we keep him at bay, but can we rip him apart before he claws his way further in?

While we grieve for a world we thought our fathers had made safe for our children, ironically now the grandchildren of that "greatest generation" are facing the same ultimate sacrifice as in years past.

How bravely we commit to facing this mad menace will ultimately determine (far more than any memorial on a mall) how well we really honor the "greatest generation" and in so doing, allow them to eternally rest in peace.

Elayne Borland

New Windsor

In these days of fear, find strength within

Soon after terrorists attacked U.S. financial and military icons, there seemed to be a general consensus to retaliate against the terrorist cells responsible. If the majority of our country's population is in agreement to seek justice, we need to conduct our lives to complement this decision accordingly.

Each of us must stay informed, stay focused, stay alert, and not expect our military forces to sacrifice their safety and way of life in the name of freedom, if the rest of us aren't willing to make sacrifices in our own lives.

We need to work together to keep our economy strong enough to support the cost of justice. If fear infiltrates our lives too deeply, fear wins and so do the terrorists.

A concerted and collective effort needs to be made to resume normal activities. With heightened security nationwide, we are most likely safer now than during the time before terror exploded from terrorism on our shores.

Let's try to put things in perspective. Consider these scenarios. We could be living in Israel, where terrorism is a part of everyday life and loved ones [are] always in danger.

We could be living in Afghanistan, struggling to get our families out of harm's way only to end up in refugee camps where many of our children will succumb to disease and starvation.

We could be living in any country devoid of democracy and free spirit, no voice, no rights to choose personal courses; or, we could have been in the area at or near ground-zero of the World Trade Center ... if not killed, surviving only to face the carnage that left thousands with ... friends, family members and coworkers dead or missing ... souls shattered and faith shaken.

Yes, history shows life changes, and our way of life as we know it may be forever altered. How drastically, remains to be seen. Each of us needs to focus on ways to steel our resolve and not allow our weaknesses to overshadow our strengths. All of us have inner strength.

To promote democracy, to protect our beliefs, to build a safer world for our children and future generations, we have to look within ourselves and see if the picture we view is a picture we want placed in freedom's album for all to see and scrutinize.

Sandra Holman

Uniontown

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