To the Editor:
On Feb. 24, a Vietnam War veteran died at Corinth. The family requested a full honor military funeral, taps and a 21-gun salute, which was denied because a soldier had to have served as least 20 years to be entitled to a full honor military burial, which this vet never had.
A local funeral director and the writer of this letter both called the U.S. Army base at Ft. McClellan, Ala., were given the above reason and advised all the Army could do would be to send a couple of soldiers to present a flag to the next of kin. What an undeserved government cutback. The veterans service office at Corinth also called the veterans service office at Jackson to verify. This is now military policy. Not to furnish full military honors for a vet unless they served at least 20 years service.
In my opinion, our lawmakers and decision makers in Washington D.C. need to get their priorities in order. At least give a veteran the honor he or she earned and deserves for placing their lives on the line to protect this great country of ours, a free country we would not have if they had failed to respond when duty called them to fight for their and our country. Career and some veterans 17 years of age won our victories. Some served three years, some served 30 years. They all deserve the same honors.
W.O. Romine Jr.
On every cigarette package, a warning is printed saying that smoking may be hazardous to one's health. There are reams of printed matter warning of the dangers of smoking. There have been so numerous T.V. programs and radio talk shows aired time and time again telling of the dangers of smoking that the public is well informed. No gun is pointed at anyone to make them smoke. If a person chooses to smoke, that is his/her affair not the government's. People are prone to blame someone or something for their actions if the consequences are unfavorable. The companies that manufacture cigarettes are not to blame. Nor are the producers of alcoholic beverages responsible for alcoholics or wrecks or criminal acts. It is the responsibility of each person to accept the responsibility of his/her actions. Laws forbidding the sale of these habit-forming drugs to children should be strictly enforced. It is wrong to fine the manufacturer when it is solely the choice of the individual.
Lois Ann H. Borden
published, corected, clarified 3/11
To the Editor:
February was Black History Month. I don't have any recollection at this time as to when it began, but maybe it is just what we Americans need, a month to focus in on the contributions blacks have made in the development of this country. I grew up at a time when there was no black history and the only record of blacks in our history books that I studied was a reminder from the historians that we blacks were descendants of slaves, written in a manner that gave black students an inferiority complex. So history books to me were just another reading book to develop my reading skill.
It was after I had spent three years in the South Pacific as a member of America's fighting forces before I met, literally, the historian Carter Godwin Woodson, who opened my eyes and mind to the great role that my ancestors played in making America great, and I couldn't stop reading. From Negro history I learned that in 1492, 27 years before the first blacks (20) were brought to America, a black man, Pedro Alonzo Nina, navigated the Nina, one of Columbus's ships on his voyage to America. I learned that Crispus Atticus, a black man, was the first to give his life in the American Revolution. I learned that 5,000 blacks served in the Continental Army. I learned that Gabriel Presser and Jack Bowler and Denmark Vessey in 1800 and Nat Turner in 1831 led blacks in insurrections against their white masters, liberating my mind from the depressing spirit that I got from studying American history that blacks were happy being slaves under their masters. I learned about Fredrick Douglas, a runaway slave, the Dr. Martin L. King of the 1800s, and Harriet Tubman, the 29-year-old runaway slave woman who was a conductor on the Underground Railroad and who made repeated trips back down south to bring 300 other slaves to freedom, and served in the Union Army. I learned of Benjamin Banneker, a black scientist and mathematician, and Phillis Wheatley, a young African-born woman who was a famous poetess of New England. I learned that 179,000 blacks fought in the Civil War in which 39,000 died in that war.
This is but a small bit of black history I learned during my undergraduate studies and that is the reason why I am proud to be a descendent of slaves. When pursuing a graduate degree at one of our prestigious universities, my professor asked the class, "Why do we not have black history in our high schools and higher institutions of learning?" One of my white classmates quickly pointed out that there were not any records. I just as quickly introduced him to Mr. Woodson, the black historian. Black History Month is a good start, but to me, it is a cop-out, and until black history is made a part of our scholastic curriculum, we cannot fully appreciate February, Black History Month.
My family and I have been living in Tupelo for almost five years. We like Tupelo and its people and enjoy living here. But there is one thing I can't get used to and that is the disregard of traffic rules. For instance, dangerously passing on two-lane highways, not using signals and making left turns in front of signs indicating No Left Turn. The New Yorker in me can't help but honk.
However, the one thing that I find very upsetting is seeing children who are not in a car seat or buckled up. This morning on the way to Sunday School, I saw something that sent my Italian temper soaring. There was a white truck in front of me with a 5- or 6-year-old boy in the bed of the truck constantly leaning over the side talking to his mother who was driving. I was outraged. Don't these parents realize they're putting their children in extreme danger?
I was in a head-on collision many years ago and hit the windshield. My face was so badly cut up that my mother didn't recognize me.
Several years ago I lost my daughter after a long illness, not because I was too lazy to buckle her up. Losing a child is a devastating experience. So parents, please buckle up your children and keep them safe. Remember, a child is the most precious gift God can give us.
On behalf of Sav-A-Life of Tupelo Inc. I would like to extend our thanks to Dr. John Armistead for his March 2 article featuring our ministry. His review was both fair and compassionate. However, for the purpose of clarification, I would like to offer the following additional information regarding the statistical data included in the article.
While it was accurately stated that we saw 311 clients last year and that 88 babies were born to our clients last year, I must point out that only 127 of those 311 clients were pregnant. In addition, many of the babies born in 1995 were born to clients seen in 1994. This interpretation of our statistics more accurately reflects the fact that most of our clients, when presented with the truth, choose life.
In addition, because evangelism undergirds all of our areas of ministry outreach, I would like to add that of the 63 clients who were not already professing Christians, 19 prayed to receive Christ last year.
Again, I am deeply grateful for Dr. Armistead's coverage of our ministry and his sensitive treatment of our clients.
Sav-A-Life of Tupelo Inc.
To the Editor:
In a recent column Bill Minor alleged that Mississippi Home Corp. does business with the bond underwriting firm of George K. Baum & Co. solely because of the supposed influence of Andy Taggart. The truth is that Baum has worked for Mississippi Home Corp. since 1990 back when Ray Mabus was the governor, Andy Taggart was a lawyer, and Kirk Fordice was a bridge contractor in Vicksburg.
In fact, in 1993 as part of a successful effort to cut the cost of issuing bonds, Mississippi Home Corp. requested competitive proposals from a dozen underwriters. Baum got the work because that firm submitted the most innovative and cost-effective proposal.
The truth is that Baum never hired Mr. Taggart to lobby Mississippi Home Corp., and Mr. Minor knows that. On Sept. 11, 1995, David Lail, a native Mississippian who is a top Baum manager, wrote Mississippi Home Corp. that "we are not involved with Andy or members of his firm on any matters related to the Mississippi Home Corp."
Mr. Minor boasted in his column that he had a copy of that letter, but of course he neglected to quote the portion that did not fit his version of the "facts."
Mr. Minor attempted to avoid the inconvenient truth by using a report that Baum had filed with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board in 1995. In that report Baum erroneously stated that Mr. Taggart's firm had dealt with Mississippi Home Corp. concerning a bond issue.
Recognizing the mistake, Mr. Lail also wrote in his September 1995 letter to Mississippi Home Corp. that he would amend the report "to note specifically that we have no business relationship with Andy's firm regarding any matters with Mississippi Home Corp."
Once again, Mr. Minor chose not to quote that portion of the letter.
Finally, to add insult to injury, Mr. Minor mistakenly blamed Mississippi Home Corp. for adding to the state's bonded indebtedness. The truth is that Mississippi Home Corp. is not a state agency, and its bonds are not obligations of the State of Mississippi.
Mississippi Home Corp. sells revenue bonds and then uses that money to make home purchase loans to low and moderate income Mississippians. Those homebuyers pay off the bonds as they pay back their loans.
The real story is that since 1992 Mississippi Home Corp. has helped over 3,400 Mississippi families buy homes while at the same time cutting the cost of issuing bonds in half. I invite Mr. Minor to write about that good news in a future column. I would be happy to help him with the facts.
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Mississippi Home Corp.
I want to report a heroic deed of one of your rural carriers, Robert Stone, 1524 Carter Road, Thaxton, on the night of March 1 as he made his deliveries.
About 2:30 a.m. I was awakened by someone pounding on our door. I peeped out the window, our outdoor light illuminating a pickup near our carport, and the thought popped into my head that it was the carrier, who probably had car trouble. I called and asked who it was, and he answered that he was the Journal carrier and that our well house was on fire. I looked out and saw flames coming from the top of the structure. I immediately opened the door and he asked if there was available water at the well house. My husband had disconnected the water due to the tank having burst during the recent cold spell, so the nearest water supply was a hydrant just off the carport. Robert filled two large buckets, rushed down to the well house and threw water on the fire. He made three trips carrying water before the fire was extinguished. My husband, who is a heart patient, was unable to help, and neither was I. After the fire was out, Robert calmly continued his route of delivering your papers.
I want to publicly thank Robert for his kindness and ask you to commend him for going beyond his duty, to help a couple who could do nothing themselves.
Mrs. W.E. Sewell
clarified, corrected, published, abridged 3/8
Like Sen. Lott and Sen. Cochran "we all drink from wells we did not dig." Please remember to give thanks to all proper givers. In the past, Jamie Whitten's office announced all expenditures for his district through the lauds of a democratic press (Civics 101) "only House of Representatives can grant and sign the check."
First District was spotlighted nationally by freshman U.S. representative Roger Wicker. Selected by his peers president of the class, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Appalachian Committee, Agriculture Committee. Remembered needs of this district. Ask. Granted. Passed. Signed the check for Union County's water well. He has been active in the farm bill. Working with Pontotoc County for religious freedom. Watching him this past year on C-Span, P.B.S, etc., his manners, knowledge, integrity came shining through. Our district was well represented by this fine young man. Our promise keeper gives me a feeling that perhaps once again the 70 have been sent out in our young freshmen. His true humble spirit came through as he did not challenge the press announcement of his name omission in the press. Thank you, Roger Wicker, for our new well that with God's help will come sweet water for life.
Rose Marie Williams