Veterans deserve to be honored now

As one of the individuals who contributed "grandiloquently" toward a relative's name being inscribed on the Lackawanna Veterans Memorial wall, I take tremendous offense to a Sept. 26 letter. My Great Uncle Edward Grzybek, whose name is inscribed on the wall, did not want me to put his name up. At a cousin's wedding, he pointedly asked me, "Why do you want to put my name on there?"

Considering that he had purposely lied about his age and "accidentally" covered his infected left eye to pass the eye exam just to enlist after the attack at Pearl Harbor, and considering that he was in the seventh wave of infantry to hit Omaha Beach on D-Day and fought in the Battle of the Bulge and the drive into France, I told him, "Because it would be an honor." He nodded and said, "OK."

I would love to have the writer hear my uncle's story of how he captured two German soldiers in Paris, who asked him to cook them breakfast not knowing who he was.

Personally, I told everyone at the time that the cost (a whopping $100 that went toward the memorial's cost) wasn't a factor to me. Honoring someone who served during a dark time in history while he was still around to be honored? That was important. I believe that that was the principle drive that Tom Hanks was referring to when pushing for the National World War II Memorial in Washington: to honor those who served while they could still appreciate it.

I sincerely believe that we can "preserve remembrance" or "keep remembrance alive" even if the person we are remembering is still around at the time.

Richard R. Charlap Jr., D.D.S.



Too many adults set bad example for kids

As a mother and a Williamsville North graduate, I am so very saddened by the death of Jamey Rodemeyer. This young man needed help, and despite his parents' best efforts, Jamey just didn't see any other solution to his pain.

The media have been calling it a preventable death. So true. The media have called upon the adults to step up and protect our children by getting serious about stopping bullying. The local radio stations and newspapers have sounded the call to come together and help our children by putting a stop of bullying.

But on Sept. 23, my sadness was almost overpowered by my disbelief at what I heard on a local radio station, on every edition of its headline news. The story made fun of one of the Buffalo Bills for his exuberant reaction to a touchdown. I am not a football fan, so I don't pretend to know the details, but I was stunned to hear the story. The player's enthusiastic screams of delight were played over and over, while the announcer and his fellow players made comments about how "girly" he sounded.

So let me understand this: Bullying is wrong. Bullying is dangerous. Talking about someone in a disparaging way is disrespectful. But it's OK for adults to do it? It's OK for our children to hear their parents publicly ridicule a football player? The player who is being publicly ridiculed is not supposed to feel bad because "we're just having fun?" If that's not bullying, what is?

If the adults are truly going to try to stop our children from treating people disrespectfully, maybe they ought to start by looking at their own behavior.

Kathleen Ganz



Death penalty is not 'barbaric anachronism'

In light of global protests, candlelight vigils and calls for clemency from the world's most oversized intellects, including former President Jimmy Carter and Kim Kardashian, a justly convicted cop killer was executed 22 years after the murder of Officer Mark MacPhail. In the days prior, The News joined the campaign to try to get Troy Davis' conviction overturned by shifting the story from a Georgia courtroom to a media newsroom. Though unsuccessful in saving Davis' life, the media were successful in adding to the widespread distrust of the justice system.

In 1989, a jury of seven blacks and five whites convicted Davis of murder. The state presented 34 witnesses against Davis, not nine as continuously reported. Davis called five witnesses and testified on his own behalf. It is true that the bulk of evidence against Davis was eyewitness testimony. This tends to happen when you shoot somebody in a busy Burger King parking lot. And despite media hysterics concerning recanted testimony, only two recantations actually revealed anything of value. However, those affidavits were later discounted by the court because of the defendant's own refusal to allow the individuals to testify at a post-trial evidentiary hearing.

The editorials by Leonard Pitts, Clarence Page and Eugene Robinson this past week collectively embraced Davis' story to exemplify all that is apparently wrong with the death penalty in the United States. Far from being a "barbaric anachronism," the death penalty is the deliberate, rational act of a civilized society protecting itself from violent predators, i.e. the people you do not want living in your neighborhood. What is barbaric about being arraigned, formally charged, tried, convicted by a jury, having that conviction upheld on appeal and then being executed in a far gentler manner than the victim? Just ask Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Paul Tripi

Town of Tonawanda


Infrastructure program would revive economy

Recently former President Bill Clinton was interviewed with regard to moving the economy forward. He said a bipartisan approach was needed. Right on, but the Republican/tea party advocates have simply refused to cooperate on anything. President Obama's recent proposals were condemned by the opposition.

Our former president did indicate there are trillions of dollars untouched in banks and corporate treasuries. How do we bring some of this to help economically? The way, I believe, is for our government to start an extensive infrastructure program. Such a program would be useful all over the United States, for the jobs it would create, as well as the good it would accomplish. Money would flow all over our nation. This, in turn, would create opportunities for new business, which in turn, would yield investment in new business and make the banks happy to make loans.

We can't do everything needed to help, but jobs are the trigger to start us going quicker in the right direction. I realize we are involved in a global economy, but at this juncture we should worry about and do something about us in the United States. Obama doesn't need a bipartisan approach to start such a program. Let's do it.

Harold Meyers

East Amherst