Honor 9/1 1 victims by improving America

Sept. 11, 2001, remains for me the day the earth stood still, and when it finally resumed its rotation, it was the end of one era and a jarring entry into a new, unpleasant one: the Terror Age.

We can honor the victims of 9/1 1 by making America the place it once was -- community-oriented, positive, free, rich in opportunity with enough faith and understanding to bridge our differences. However disparate the many factions of America could be, we could always come together to achieve a common objective for the betterment of America as a whole. America in principle appeals to the best aspect of our nature: cooperation. This is how we achieved so much in such a short time period and was, at one time, the keystone of our national character.

Today we are saddled with the detritus of 9/1 1: the corporate-government security state, ridiculously polarized politics and a seeming lack of purpose at home and abroad. We are still in Iraq, where final victory is always imminent. The rationale for launching the Iraq War continues to inspire debate to this day. We are faced with formidable challenges to our collective livelihood, the economy, that have very frightening implications, yet nobody agrees on what the problems are or how to address them.

We owe the victims of 9/1 1 and future generations a better America, and we owe the world leadership. As we celebrate the anniversary of 9/1 1, we should consider what kind of America we want and renew our commitment to the principles that made this nation great in the first place.

Patrick Sahr



We must never forget sacrifices many made

On this, the 10th anniversary of 9/1 1, political leaders of both parties will ask us to honor and reflect on the memories of the many Americans who died on that day as well as those who lost their lives serving in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They will rightfully point to the sacrifices that these Americans made on behalf of others and how we must never forget what they did for all of us.

At the same time, however, we should never forget that in the decade after 9/1 1, many of these same political leaders failed to make political sacrifices at a time when our nation desperately needed them. The unwillingness of many of these leaders to sacrifice and compromise during this summer's negotiations over raising the debt ceiling was the icing on the cake.

As an educator whose father worked on the original World Trade Center as an ironworker and whose brother, a member of the New York Police Department, sifted through the debris after 9/1 1, I will mark this anniversary by teaching my students about the ways in which Americans from all walks of life have sacrificed and continue to do so on behalf of their fellow citizens. Throughout the year, I will encourage my students to become informed, active and compassionate citizens who will act upon these ideals.

Daniel J. Nolan



God gave us strength to overcome tragedy

In time, history will show a "faithless" Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York. It was God who gave the police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, medics, social workers, chaplains and others the grace, strength and courage to serve and help at ground zero. The immense emotional chaos that existed in the hours, days and weeks after the attacks can only be overcome by a divine presence of God giving strength to so many in helping families and friends who lost loved ones.

Bloomberg's decision to not allow any clergy and first responders at the 10th anniversary memorial ceremony is a faithless act and disrespect to God and those who served at ground zero. Not only do we celebrate the loss of life, and the grieving families, but we also celebrate and remember the brave souls who gave their lives in helping, in caring and in trying to save lives at both towers.

It was God and humanity that helped our nation to overcome the great tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. On the 10th anniversary, we thank God for his presence in helping our nation to overcome and go forward. When God blesses us with miracles of hope, faith and courage in the lives of many, we show thanks, appreciation and faith to God for his blessings.

The Rev. Joseph F. Moreno

Former chaplain at ground zero Saint Lawrence Church, Buffalo


Hearts are still heavy with grief over attacks

Sept. 11, 2001, will be etched in the memory of people everywhere for generations to come.

Ten years ago today, America was rocked by the unthinkable. Terrorists crashed planes into the twin towers, the Pentagon and the ground of Pennsylvania. Like everyone else, I remember exactly where I was, and what I was doing. As we reflect on that day, our hearts are still heavy with grief remembering that thousands of innocent people were killed and injured in the attacks. We were shocked, terrified and outraged.

A beautiful song, "Where Were You" (When The World Stopped Turning) by Alan Jackson reminds us about the brevity and the uncertainty of life and what really matters.

Crisis, tragedy and death have a way of bringing us to our knees and turning our hearts toward God. After 9/1 1, our nation turned to God in prayer with a new intensity. There was a surge in religious activity. Prayer services were held across America; millions came together to pray. Church attendance increased; everyone was more loving and kind.

Time has a way of healing the human spirit. America has a newfound strength, but we can never forget all we have lost. As a nation, we must never forget that we are "one nation under God." We must persevere and continue to rebuild America on a solid foundation, our trust in God.

Donna M. Kogut



Golfer should have been barred for life

I'm shocked that we still have people who get their thrills torturing and killing defenseless animals. When Bob Artis decided to beat a 22-pound snapping turtle to death with a golf club at a local country club, was it some kind of Rambo macho thing or was he just bored with the game? Whatever the reason, the turtle, who was probably just trying to get a better spot in the sun, paid a senseless price.

I understand Fox Valley Country Club suspended him for 30 days. It should have been for life. This incident is proof positive that being a member of a country club doesn't make you any better than anyone else and tragically, in this case, much worse.

Vic Rioli



Snapping turtle was a welcome resident

With regard to the Clarence man who sought to vent his anger and frustration on an unfortunate snapping turtle that crossed his path on Aug. 17, what saddens me the most is not the blatant animal cruelty, but the fact that this species takes 15 to 20 years to mature and is faced with increasingly more dangerous journeys due to habitat destruction. Snapping turtles' normal life span is up to 40 years. They rarely leave the water except for the female to lay eggs, often crossing busy roads in order to reach nesting sites and, contrary to public belief, will avoid humans in the water. Their only source of defense is to snap at an aggressor because unlike other turtles, they are unable to withdraw in their shell due to their large size.

Because of people like Bob Artis, who feel it necessary to eliminate these misunderstood reptiles, as well as all the challenges that they face, snapping turtles have already become a species of special concern in Ontario, Canada. My understanding is that the Fox Valley snapping turtle was a welcome resident at the country club for numerous years and will be missed by members and staff alike. It is so sad that this poor creature didn't have a chance.

Clarissa Harison



Diocese spinning truth regarding St. Adalbert

While claiming the Diocese of Buffalo is simply following the orders of the Vatican in keeping St. Adalbert Basilica open only for rare special occasions, it's too bad diocesan P.R. man Kevin Keenan selectively quoted the Vatican's letter regarding the matter. Yes, the Vatican's letter said that its ruling meant St. Adalbert "remained a place of worship, accessible to the faithful, but does not imply that Holy Mass needs to be celebrated there on a weekly basis." But the very next sentence of that letter says, "Decisions such as those regarding the scope of sacred use of the church, times when the church should be open, etc. remain at the discretion of the local ordinary."

So the Diocese of Buffalo is responsible; it has the power to determine if we can have regular Mass and it has the power to work with us to set up a plan that can give the merged parishes of St. Adalbert and St. John Kanty the best chance for success. Instead the diocese is twisting the truth and conveniently leaving out important information that contradicts its flawed interpretation of the matter.

The parishioners and friends of St. Adalbert simply want to find a way to keep the basilica open for worship -- as the Vatican has said it must be -- while giving the merged parish the best chance to be successful for years to come. But it's hard to have an honest conversation when the diocese is more interested in half-truths and spin than in a real dialogue.

Ted Kniazuk



Thomas was fired for incompetence

I read with disgust the extensive coverage given to fired commissioner of human resources Karla Thomas, who earned $91,374 a year for her proven incompetence. A princely sum!

Due process was accorded her in the matter, but apparently this woman doesn't plan to go away. I urge her to include the education and experience she brought to her jobs -- Water Authority included -- in her next rant. Perhaps then she would not be considered just another disgruntled political hack. My only question until then is why she wasn't fired sooner.

Marita O'Brien



Politicians putting party before people

In the lexicon of politics, is "team player" code for "I will do whatever the party bosses tell me"?

Barbara A. Hanavan