After watching television on Memorial Day — the celebrations remembering our fallen heroes and the annual Memorial Day Concert at the White House, my heart was bursting with pride. We are a blessed nation with good young men and women.
Every day headlines tell the world about our sex scandals, killing sprees, rapes and other tragedies. It looks as if our nation has no hope for a better tomorrow. Please take the time to look for the good.
I want to share one such story about a young man born and raised here in North Charleston. He has served two tours of combat, in Iraq and Afghanistan, being injured on his second by a roadside IED and watching some fellow soldiers die.
He is about to be deployed for his third tour, again to Afghanistan, but in different circumstances, as father of triplets.
The birth of your first baby is a life-changing moment. Just imagine not one but three at a time. Two boys and one little girl. What gifts from God! They left the hospital with only the two boys. The other child stayed more than a month for her heart rate to improve. All these life changes have to be hard, especially when the father knows he will leave soon.
The Army wife knows all about deployment. She survived two prior ones. But life is different with five children. She worries he may not return safely. Strong and courageous, she becomes as much a hero as her husband.
This young soldier, my grandson, Sgt. Joshua Berenzy, is every parent’s dream, a good man, in spite of being raised by a single mother after his father left them, losing his home, leaving childhood friends and moving to an apartment where they knew no one.
When he went to North Charleston High School, his mother worked to support them, but still stayed involved.
When Joshua joined NJROTC, led by Lt. Melancon, it changed his life. As a child, he loved playing soldier. He loved the rigidness of being in the military. Both his grandfathers and his maternal great-grandfather were in service. While he does not talk about war, he is a dedicated American soldier. He is one of many in the military we can all be proud of.
He is a product of Goodwin Elementary, Morningside Middle and North Charleston High schools, often described as under achieving schools with most students in single-parent homes.
Joshua is one who beat the statistics and achieved success. He is a good parent and a productive citizen.
Please pray for him, his family and all of our American heroes serving and fighting to keep our freedom here at home.
God bless America!
MARY R. MILLER
In the most expensive election ever last year, $6,285,557,223 was spent in presidential, senatorial and House elections, with $2,621,415,792 poured into the race for president alone.
Small donors (contributing $200 or less) totaled 3.7 million and gave $313 million to the Obama and Romney campaigns, while a mere 32 individuals contributed $317 million (an average of $9.9 million each) to the two presidential campaigns.
Just 0.4 percent of Americans (13,295) put up 94 percent of the money for negative campaigns run by Super PACs in 2012. Of this group, 159 individuals put up more than $1 million each, accounting for nearly 60 percent of Super PAC money.
And only five corporate right-wingers put up approximately 30 percent of all Super PAC contributions. They were Sheldon Adelson ($93.3 million), Harold Simmons ($30.9 million), Bob Perry ($23.5 million), John Ricketts ($13.1 million) and William S. Rose ($12.1 million).
A favorite right-wing fable is that corporate executives must put up big money to help counter spending by labor unions.
In the last election, however, corporations spent $2.6 billion, while labor spent $117 million, a 15-to-1 money advantage.
Results from last November’s election reveal that pouring exorbitant amounts of money into campaigns does not ensure victories.
Republicans especially need to realize that espousing policies that are anti-gay, misogynistic, anti-immigrant, anti-science and anti-progress turn off large groups of the electorate and will ensure massive election losses in future general elections.
A May 21 Post and Courier article titled “More Obama aides knew of IRS audit; Obama not told” by Julie Pace and Charles Babington of The Associated Press, states that Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff, knew in April 2013 that “an impending report was likely to say the IRS had inappropriately targeted conservative groups.” The article goes on to say that Mr. McDonough purposely did not tell President Obama about this report.
The article continued with the observation: “The decision to keep the president in the dark underscores the White House’s cautious legal approach to controversies, as well as an apparent desire by top advisors to distance Obama from troubles threatening his administration.”
This is an especially troubling approach by senior advisors surrounding President Obama.
How do they expect the president to make informed and effective decisions and recommendations if he does not have access to all relevant information?
This approach, not keeping the commander informed, would be a court martial offense in the military.
Additionally, not informing the commander of all known critical information related to a military mission could lead to increased loss of life and potential mission failure.
Americans will respect our leaders who acknowledge when they have failed and then take decisive action to correct their failings.
We will not respect leaders who will not take responsibility for their failings and accept accountability for the consequences.
Martin S. Ryan
Oyster Bay Drive
A toxic brew
Our legislators, in a desperate effort to align themselves with the Tea Party, seem to have confused a couple of important radical ideas.
The Tea Party movement here in South Carolina, as per their own mission statement, is committed to “holding tax-and-spend politicians accountable.”
Yet people like Sen. Lindsey Graham and his ostensible challenger for the 2014 primary, state Sen. Lee Bright, R-Anderson, seem to think the trick to winning Tea Party support is to attack women’s freedoms.
We can count on Sen. Bright to waste our tax dollars each year writing legislation to force women to maintain unwanted pregnancies, but lately Sen. Graham has jumped on that bandwagon.
Sen. Graham’s twist on the theme is to make sure that federal health insurance coverage paid for by women’s tax dollars denies women the right to abortion coverage, to which they would be entitled if the funds were not doled out by the federal government.
If your health insurance comes from federal funding, your congressmen will determine what is covered, and if you are a woman who has decided that you need an abortion, Sen. Lindsey Graham has decided that you will just have to pay for it yourself. Or carry the pregnancy to term.
Both he and Sen. Bright are offering us a police state that would monitor doctors and control women to make certain that all pregnancies come to term.
Meanwhile, they claim they are watching our pursestrings when they vote against programs that would improve the health of pregnant women, as well as reduce the shameful rate of infant mortality in the state and the country.
Not only are the voting records of both men contradictory to their own stated goals, they also contradict the goals of the Tea Party movement.
Not only will legislation to monitor women’s reproductive care crush individual freedom, it will do so at a cost to taxpayers, who will have to foot the bill for legislation which creates new criminals.
Agnes F. Pomata, Ph.D.
Fox Fire Road
A plan for Burke
A May 30 letter titled “A fix for Burke” claimed that we should not lose Burke High School as a public neighborhood peninsula high school because it has a great tradition. I suggest that the reason to maintain a high school should not be based on tradition but on the ability of the school to educate children.
Burke consistently fails to educate children. Based on the last five years, 34 percent of the entering ninth grade class can read only at a fourth grade level or lower. Burke has an on-time graduation rate of only 59 percent. Burke will continue to fail as long as it continues to receive students who cannot read. Reading skills are fundamental to all aspects of education and the ability to become a productive citizen.
Burke will survive only when it shows that it can educate the children it receives. For this to happen, the school board, the Charleston County School District and the community must institute a comprehensive early childhood education program starting in pre-K and continuing in each grade through the elementary and middle schools that feed students to Burke. Many early childhood education programs have proven successful. Charleston should examine and learn from them.
I find Brian Hicks’ June 4 column dealing with remembrance and the Civil War lacking in perspective and its author lacking in sensitivity.
Not 60 days ago, two U.S. sailors who perished in the wreck of the USS Monitor were buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Their bodies were entombed when the ship went down in 1862. I can assure Mr. Hicks we remember.
How clever of him to snarkily comment on the intelligence of his fellow citizens, particularly when at least one of the sailors may have been from the state of New York.
Your style manual also comes into question. I am sure there are numerous racial, ethnic and religious code words your manual absolutely forbids. Mr. Hicks’ smarmy use of the term “Yankee” is egregious. I am looking forward to a link to Mr. Hicks’ column in which he will fall on a sword for his poor taste.
James B. Ronan II
Fellow of the Company of Military Historians
Swaying Branch Lane