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Issue Home December 9, 2003 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Many Thanks

I would like to thank all the businesses involved in purchasing the Christmas flag for Thompson Borough.

Also, all those who helped to decorate Thompson Borough with the hanging of flags and setting up of the Christmas tree.


James Delaney

Thompson Borough Mayor

The Precious Gift of Giving

To me, the month of December brightens the end of the year like a cheerful hearth fire brightens the dead of winter. I love the rituals, foods, smells and sense of connection that surround the holidays. And, like most kids, I love the gifts.

I believe that we celebrate the sacredness of life when we give each other gifts. It may be just a handkerchief or a tin of cookies or a book, but the message it carries is so much larger. A gift says, "I care about you. You and I are connected in a special way." Giving to others is like giving to ourselves, because it spreads a loving feeling in our personal worlds.

I’m writing this letter because I want to encourage you to give to charity this holiday season. The holidays are a time to remember all of our human family, not just those who are close to us. When we share with people we don’t know, we draw tighter our web of human connections. This is a gift that comes back to us many times over.

You could say that here in the United States, people get gifts all the time. Our nation is richly blessed. I’m proud to say that we’re also compassionate and generous.

As the National Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, I’ve had a chance to meet many Americans who freely give their time and money to help others. Did you know that most of the donations given to charity come from middle-income donors, not from foundations or corporations? Miracles are happening every day simply because ordinary people are sharing their gifts with other ordinary people.

Right now, charitable giving in the United States is down from previous years. There are many reasons for this, like the stock market and unemployment. But in tough times people need our help more than ever.

If you imagine that humanity is like a tree, then the gift givers are the roots that help us grow strong branches. They fuel us; they’re what keep us alive. Without them, we would slowly wither and die. Your decision to give – or not to give – ultimately affects everyone.

I hope that your holidays this year will be full of the delights of the season, most especially the precious gift of giving!


Mattie J.T. Stepanek

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mattie J.T. Stepanek, 13, is the best-selling author of five books of "Heartsongs" poetry (Hyperion Press). An outspoken advocate for peace and tolerance, he recently was honored for his humanitarian work by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mattie is affected by mitochondrial myopathy, a rare neuromuscular disease. To learn more about Mattie, visit www.mdausa.org/mattie.

We Must Never Forget

In reference to Lou Parrillo’s "NewsBeat" column dated November 19. You are correct in one respect, in my humble opinion! Congress gets to vote their own pay raises where retirees, like you and I, get what is scheduled according to the rise in inflation, cost of living or whatever the catch word is for the month! But wailing about it in the hometown newspaper is like shooting blanks at a bear!

You, if you are that upset and I believe you are, have to write/call/visit your representative in Congress about your concerns. You may get a nice letter back (and you may not) but don’t expect any action. After all, they (government employees, like Congress) are "entitled" to a raise, they are Congress! They have forgotten they work for you, not the other way around!

You go on to say, "Can you just imagine what a few billion (dollars) would do to help the poor, the destitute, and other needy people survive." In case you didn’t know, almost 70 percent of the national budget is for "entitlements"; social programs for the "poor, destitute, needy" people and a lot of our money goes to those who do not deserve to receive it; those who could earn their own way but don’t want to, don’t have to because the federal and state government "leaders" (who you may have voted for only because they are the nominees of your party) pour your money into their undeserving pockets to buy their votes!

And lastly, you say, "Our President must bring Iraq to its knees!" Wrong! Our President is trying to nip terrorism in the bud! We must fight the war on terror, no matter where in the world these murdering scum may hide and if it is in Iraq, so be it! Or, would you have us, the United States, slink away as Walter Cronkite keeps recommending; leave "another" country to be used as a base for extremists to attack our homeland; would you rather see terror attacks on Main Street, Susquehanna? Don’t scoff! It could happen! You must remember armed guards on the Starrucca Viaduct; what if "the bridge" was a target?

And, as for "Iraq standing up straight," yes, it is! But only because very brave and dedicated young men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States, Great Britain, Poland and others have made it so!

No more mass graves, no more gas attacks on the citizens of Iraq by their own leaders, no more torture chambers, no more young women, wives, daughters, sisters snatched off the street to be raped and murdered; or have you forgotten about these happenings?

I recommend that, in this age of short memory, you once again get out newspapers and magazines which reported the attacks of September 11, 2001; aircraft loaded with men, women, children and thousands of pounds of jet fuel slamming into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Look closely at the photographs of those who jumped from windows, 90 stories high to escape the flames, the bodies dropping, spinning to the ground. Now, can you remember why the armies of the free are in the Middle East? And as a result of sending young people into harm’s way, some will be wounded, some will die. This is a sad fact. But to fight terror, there is no other way.

Your generation cannot forget the fall of Poland, in 1939 or the attack on Pearl Harbor, in 1941. Nor should you. We must never forget the attack on America on September 11, 2001; we must never forget why we went to war, all over the globe. For our children and their children, we must never give up this struggle, no matter the cost.


Eugene P. Baker

Hornell, NY

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