Letters to the editor

Posted: October 24, 2012

Purple Hearts at Fort Hood?

On Nov. 5, 2009, Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army major, opened fire on fellow service men and women who had joined together for a meeting. The result was 13 dead and 32 wounded. It was the greatest peacetime massacre of military personnel at a military base within the United States.

Although Maj. Nidal purportedly shouted “Allah Ackbar” (God is Great) before he began shooting, the FBI stated that there was no evidence of a greater terrorist plot, the Defense Department called it an “isolated” case, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that his actions were not representative of the Muslim faith. Additional facts now seem to show that Maj. Nidal did, indeed, have contacts with known terrorists and Muslims who advocated hate against the United States.

Families of the fallen and those who were wounded are calling for the administration to award these people the Purple Heart and provide them the compensation that they may be due, yet the administration’s position is that this was not a terrorist attack but only “workplace violence” and therefore does not fit the criteria. They add that to change the charges at this time would cause the entire judicial system to possibly move to a military tribunal, under different rules and would delay justice.

I am not a lawyer and the administration’s argument may be justified, but if so, I hope that when the trial is over and after a judgment has been decreed, Congress will agree that the dead and the injured are also due justice and will see that the Purple Hearts are issued, along with whatever compensation is just.

We must remember that in today’s world there is no single battlefield abroad, and we are subject to be attacked within our own borders. As such our military members should be rewarded for actions involving the enemy wherever they are engaged, and that includes here at home.

Col. D.R. Stanton, USMC (Ret.)


At it . . . again

It’s election time, the Democrats are at it again — championing causes they’ll never actually vote for. Bipartisan claims for the home folks — then they vote straight party line once they’re elected, particularly Virginia candidates for U.S. Senate (Warner, Webb, and now Kaine).

Mark Warner and Jim Webb favored National Labor Relations Board card check legislation, as ordered by the unions that control their party, even though they are senators from a right-to-work state. Does that sound like representing their constituents?

The Democrats want major cuts to defense spending, which would have serious effects on jobs in Virginia. Tim Kaine was the Democratic National Committee chairman. Do you think he would vote with the national Democratic leadership, or for the workers of Virginia?

Before the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, senators were appointed by the state legislatures. Maybe we need to repeal the 17th Amendment.

Bruce Carter


‘A lady of action’

Liz Minor has diligently served the City of Winchester as Mayor with grace, dignity and hard work. Mayor Minor has dedicated so much of her time to genuinely listening to and serving others in her key leadership role. It was a pleasure to have worked with her on City Council for eight years and it’s my honor to support Liz Minor in her re-election as mayor.

There are so many reasons why Liz Minor should be re-elected. The most important, to me, is the perspective she brings to council as the only woman. Her common sense and compassion must remain as a strong and consistent voice. I have the greatest respect for how dedicated Liz is to her job as mayor — listening, gathering information and making decisions based upon what she feels is best for the city. She is, truly, one of the most giving and considerate persons I know.

Liz Minor is a lady of action! Major initiatives and accomplishments of the city, during her time in office, are too many to list. However, to name a few: the restoration of the Handley Library; renovation and addition to Handley High School; major renovations/additions/replacement of Daniel Morgan Middle School, and Quarles Virginia Avenue-Charlotte DeHart, and Frederick Douglass elementary schools; downtown revitalization, including keeping F&M Bank (now BB&T) and the Frederick County administrative offices downtown; improvements to water/sewer/drainage and streets in many neighborhoods; balancing the ever-increasing demand for more revenue while fairly holding local taxes down as evidenced by the city’s strong bond rating; and the numerous events our mayor has attended representing Winchester in recognition of partnerships with the private sector and the state.

Speaking of attendance, Liz Minor is everywhere. In fact, I suspect she must have a twin. One must be very organized and willing to spend a lot of personal time as mayor. In addition to the many council meetings, Liz is the official ambassador of the city. Not only is she always prepared for events, but also thoroughly enjoys being there. I know that Liz attends well more than 100 functions annually.

Come Nov. 6, I hope that you will join me in re-electing Liz Minor as mayor. We need her voice, compassion and experience.

Harry S. Smith


Distrusts ‘smooth silence of elite’

I understand why the video of the Boy Scout saluting a police officer’s funeral cortege was popular to thousands of people looking for inspiration. But why did the Associated Press and The Star choose to make that idealistic gesture central to a story about the election?

Every election year, the media tell us about how nasty the campaign is, and reassure us we, like that boy, are really above all of that nastiness.

Well, this election’s “bickering” and “nastiness” are about serious topics. Millions of smart, honest, and committed people are disagreeing intensely, if sometimes overzealously, about matters that will decide our future.

I found it ironic that retired Bishop Sullivan was very briefly quoted in the article. Bishop Sullivan looks back on a long career exemplifying Jesus’ lessons. With all due respect to the boy, surely the bishop has more to teach us.

Historically, Virginia has been a state where the “big boys” have discouraged the rest of us from voting, protesting, or speaking up. They promise to take care of us, while we stay as pure – and powerless – as a child.

Whatever your political inclination, right or left or other, I hope you will not only vote, but will also be actively engaged after the election. As much as I disagree with some others in the political arena, I trust democracy and the voices of all my neighbors, no matter how angry, more than I trust the smooth silence of the elite that does not want us involved.

Larry Yates