As I sat on a chair in front of the All Veterans Memorial on the Court House lawn on June 14 and thought about the meaning of our flag, I was ashamed at the number of us who remember what it is about our flag that is so important to everyone.
That flag is the symbol of our freedom, of speech of religion, of liberty and all the other freedoms you can think of. Would you change places with anyone in Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, or Mexico? No, of course not. So why not spend a few minutes of your oh-so-precious time and honor our flag by being present when presented to the public in glorious fashion on Flag Day?
The Brainerd Elks Lodge No. 615 has been conducting a Flag Day Ceremony for years with the help of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Marine Corps League and others including the Auxiliary of these organizations, on the 14th of June each year as has been ordered by the Grand Lodge of the Order of Elks.
It is the most impressive ceremony honoring our flag and should be attended by thousands of people not just the few who feel they want to, because they know the ones who are conducting the ceremony.
As a past Exalted ruler of the Brainerd Elks Lodge, I felt I needed to let the public know about the very impressive program that we Elks have for honoring our flag. We must have neglected our duty in not letting you all know about our annual Flag Day Ceremony but we will keep you advised next year in time to attend this ceremony which will leave you with a better feeling about our flag and our country.
Arrogance, bloodshed and lies
I fail to see why a recent writer is so impressed by George W. Bush's "inspirational" leadership. I am not inspired by the fact that in Afghanistan, the "U.S.-backed government is still fighting off an insurgency by Taliban rebels and their al-Qaida allies." (June 11 Brainerd Dispatch)
I am not inspired by the fact that the "aborted assault on Fallujah is widely seen as a mistake that cost the United States support among Iraqis and left Fallujah a rebel safe-haven." Nor am I inspired by the abusive torture of American prisoners of war in Iraq.
I'm not inspired by the wholesale squandering of Allied support (see "Bush says he doesn't expect new NATO troops in Iraq").
I'm not inspired by the Bush administration's spin-doctoring and just plain lies about the facts, such as weapons of mass destruction that never turned up, and "understating the number of terror attacks" since Sept. 11, 2001.
Meanwhile, on the domestic front, Bush is telling us hes going to reduce the budget deficit and theres no plan to reinstate the draft. However, theres evidence that bills to reinstate the draft are ready to be voted in right after the November election. And government agencies are being told to plan for further Draconian budget cuts (source: Brainerd Dispatch).
I am just not inspired by arrogance, bloodshed, and lies.
Patricia W. Scott
Buses and taxis
Brainerd's Mayor, James Wallin, would have the citizens believe that the transportation committee's task is to examine and recommend those issues which best serve our citizens whether it is pertaining to bus service or taxi service based on the comments he offered in his Open Forum letter on May 29.
Council President Dehen stated "the Transportation Advisory Committee has no authority over the Brainerd Area Taxi service" and TAC Chairman Mary Koep supported this statement.
I said there has never been discussion concerning the operation of the Taxi service at any TAC meeting. Discussion of the taxi during a TAC meeting is only when Mr. Hoskins complains that the city bus is hurting his business.
The mayor asked "what has the transportation committee implemented to assure our citizens that we will continue to have this service?"
The TAC directed the transit department to give the taxi's phone number when service is requested of the bus it can't provide. The TAC also implemented double fares for same-day service to discourage the frequency of this and at the same time thinking it might increase the taxi's business. The TAC hasn't implemented much except to prevent the bus service in Brainerd from offering too much service like expanding the hours or offering weekend service just to protect the taxi.
Apparently the mayor isn't aware of these implementations and it's interesting the mayor never addressed the comments Mr. Hoskins made at the last TAC meeting which were completely self-serving.
Mr. Hoskins blames the bus when he claims his business is suffering and it's time he start looking at other areas of how his business is being managed before he constantly points his finger at the city bus.
What group does Mr. Hoskins represent and whose best interest is he looking out for?
Minnesota budget cuts
I read recently that the Minnesota Gang Strike Task Force will cease operation at the end of this month due to insufficient funding.
According to outgoing task force Commander Ron Ryan the majority of new gang activity is taking place in greater Minnesota. Here in the Brainerd lakes area we will no doubt witness another example of just what Gov. Pawlenty stands for ... budget cuts in our schools, poorly maintained roads, and now more crime. Minnesotans who support this "No New Taxes" policy are surely getting more than they bargained for.
K. C. Moore
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