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Today's Opinions

  • Thank vets, thank their families too

    Last week, I used the Opinion page to reprint a story I wrote in 2005 for the Cleveland (Tennessee) Daily Banner. The story was about William “Bill” Norwood, a former POW held captive by the North Koreans during the Korean War. This story is about his wife, Liz, that I wrote five years later in 2010.

    I want you to read this story because spouses do not get the recognition they deserve.

    --

    Liz did not know Bill before he joined the Army. She didn’t know how captivity in a North Korean prisoner of war camp affected him, but she did see how the war and being held captive by the enemy changed her neighbor and she knew being married to a former prisoner of war wouldn’t be easy.

    Her neighbor was in the same prison camp as William “Bill” Norwood. “I knew the neighbor next door and he’d been back. I didn’t have a clue I’d ever marry someone that far away, me in Kentucky and him in Tennessee. It just worked out. It was the way it was meant to be,” she said.

  • Picking trash in Levy County Part 4: Good citizens

    By Ed Emrich

    I hate trash. l know that’s a bold statement in these days of political correctness when you are not allowed to hate anything. But, really I do! I’m just being honest with you.

    My father instilled the notion in me that trash discarded by thoughtless people is wrong at a basic level and it chews up so many of our local resources to clean it up, money that could be better used to fix bridges or pave roads.

    I hate trash, but I love this area so I am willing to do something about it by safely picking trash along my road in my community in my state. It’s a monthly effort to give something back and to help keep the Nature Coast natural. But, picking trash is not for the faint of heart. It is truly disgusting what some people throw out of the windows of their vehicles or stop and dump along the road. When you pick trash, you see the seedy underbelly of society in full bloom. You see the chaotic and wasteful way that some people live ... by desensitizing or self-medicating with alcohol, tobacco, sugar, fast food and the broken dreams of a winning lottery ticket.

  • Are former Prisoners of War ever really free?

    I originally planned on writing something silly as I often do until I went to the Veterans Day luncheon Friday in the Haven Community Center. There are many things wrong with the United States of America, but there are many more things that are good and those good things far outweigh the bad.

    When the Pledge of Allegiance was spoken and the National Anthem was sung Friday, veterans with crooked backs, stood. Veterans in wheelchairs sat more erect and regardless of their condition, saluted, recited the pledge and then sung the anthem.

    The contrast between the men and women who sacrificed their health for their country and able-bodied professional football players was striking.

    I understand why they took a knee. Issues being ignored need to be addressed and talked about. However, we’re not talking about racism, police shootings, church shooting, school shootings, workplace shootings, black on black violence, white on white violence, black on white or white on black — we are only talking about the protest.

  • Was it a UFO or an Air Force refueling operation?

    Between 1952 and 1969, the U.S. Air Force conducted a study of UFO sightings known as “Project Blue Book.”

    Project Blue Book goals were to scientifically analyze UFO data and to determine if UFOs were a national security threat. In those 17 years, more than 12,000 reported UFO sightings were analyzed. Most of the “UFOs” were explained away as known aircraft or naturally occurring phenomenon.

    The project ended in 1969, when it was concluded there was nothing anomalous or dangerous about the reported UFOs and that there was no evidence that any of the UFOs were in fact extraterrestrial, according to the history website Fold3.com.

    One sighting was reported on a late Sunday night at about 10 p.m. Oct. 30, 1955, in Williston by a police officer whose name was redacted from the report. The officer was 40 years old and had attained a fifth-grade education.

    The report noted the “Source gave much thought to each question and asked and seems fairly sure of his answers. In the opinion of the investigator, source was fairly reliable.”

  • Free speech under attack in America

    I am writing this article the evening before Mr. Richard Spencer is scheduled to address an audience at the Phillips Center on the U of F Campus in Gainesville. He is billed as a white nationalist according to virtually all local mass media sources. 

    Personally, I do not support any organization where race is a prerequisite to membership. Therefore, I do not support Mr. Spencer’s National Policy Institute. Wait a minute, where is the race element in the title NPI? According to Wikipedia, ‘’the National Policy Institute is a white supremacist think tank based in Alexandria Virginia.” If Mr. Spencer is a white supremacist I will have nothing to do with him as I don’t and will not have anything to do with any race based groups, but I am uncomfortable with the double standard that is becoming very common in today’s society. Can you imagine if someone organized a Gainesville White Professionals organization? 

  • Don’t talk politics!

    Have your parents, or has someone important to you, advised you “Don’t talk politics!?” It’s one of those heated topics where most everyone has his or her own opinion, and may see talking politics as a threat, or fuel for a likely argument. But what’s the downside of keeping quiet about your own political opinions? We’re already headed towards being a more and more divided country, with today’s problems and challenges, and with all the diversity this “melting-pot” nation presents us with. So it may feel natural to hold back on your ideas or opinions, to avoid controversy, or to avoid taking sides and further dividing the nation. And we’re supposed to be a nation “by the people, and for all the people.” If we avoid discussing opposing ideas, we are likely to become less tolerant of other points of view. To be a true democracy, shouldn’t we listen to all points of view, consider them thoughtfully, and make intelligent, informed decisions? When we stop communicating well, we can’t make truly informed or wise decisions.

  • In 1967, we never thought we'd live to see the day

    About 50 years ago (1967), my 17 classmates and me who sat in Mrs. Weber’s English class were dumfounded when she suggested there were no reasons why we shouldn’t live to see the turn of the century!

    I think we all snickered a bit because it was so preposterous. There were so many reasons we shouldn’t live to see the 21st Century; first and foremost was the Vietnam War. Then there was the Mutual Assured Destruction, a military doctrine that emerged after the Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics (USSR) achieved nuclear parity with the United States. MAD reflected the idea that one country’s population could best be protected by leaving it vulnerable so long as the other side faced comparable vulnerabilities. In short: Whoever shoots first, dies second. Then, there were accidental deaths and diseases. We didn’t have a drug problem yet in my hometown, that came later after some of the boys started coming home from the war.

  • What’s in your future?

    What’s in your future? What do you have to say about it? I thought I had the rest of my life all planned out. I’d grow in my career of aerospace, defense, and satellites contract management, for the next ten years. I’d continue to accumulate wealth, then retire comfortably in the sleepy suburb of Manhattan Beach, California, and enjoy the rest of my life at the beach traveling and enjoying the warm California sun. But lo; it was not to be.

    Within one month, everything had been turned upside down and dumped out. I faced a divorce, lost my home, life savings, and most all my friends. I developed a repeating nightmare of everyone I knew crashing and dying in a giant 747 airplane. What a shock, when we find out our best laid plans can die overnight.