Special women Each year, we spend Mother’s Day with special women in our lives who make sacrifices to ensure we have everything we need.

This Mother’s Day I’d like to celebrate a very special group of moms in our community. These mothers, in the Nurse-Family Partnership program, overcame incredible obstacles to become incredible moms.

All are low-income; many are young and struggling with the apprehension of having their first child. Some are working to get out of abusive situations.

Through all of that their determination to provide a better future for themselves and their children cannot be shaken. Nurse-Family Partnership is proud to provide them knowledge and skills to achieve their goals. The program is completely voluntary for moms. It pairs low-income, first-time mothers with registered nurses, who conduct in-home visits from pregnancy until their child’s second birthday.

The program has three goals: to improve pregnancy outcomes, improve child health and development, and increase economic self-sufficiency for the families involved.

These goals are being achieved here in Charleston, Colleton, Berkeley and Dorchester counties and will provide long-term benefits for our community. For that, I want to thank the program and these moms this Mother’s Day.

James Ella Collins Charleston County First Steps

Rivers Avenue North Charleston

Respect our flag Those who are displaying flags of the United States along Jedburg Road in Summerville surely intended to show support for those who fight for our freedom and safety — possibly their own family members.

Surely they did not intend to disrespect our country or our military men and women by displaying the American flag incorrectly, disarrayed, faded, and some torn.

No lights illuminate the flags when evening falls. They are not removed at sundown. Many fly from short wooden poles randomly positioned in front yards.

Our son, an Army chief warrant helicopter maintenance test pilot, is preparing once again to serve in Afghanistan. He and his comrades also have flown in Bosnia and Iraq.

This is a time of overwhelming concern as they and other military personnel leave family for another 15 months.

The pilots hover over comrades on land watching for snipers endangering soldiers on the ground. Both land personnel and pilots wonder how the other has the courage to do what they do.

Honor those serving and veterans by upgrading, installing and illuminating our nation’s flag properly.

Shirley Berardo Anthony Berardo

Schooner Bend Avenue Summerville

Act of faith In “Facts, not faith,” April 30, the writer asserts that science is not a belief system. It should be pointed out that, on the contrary, science abounds with theories, some testable, some not.

The Large Halon Collider was built as an act of faith. It may yet find what it is looking for, and I hope it does, but building it was an act of faith based on reason, in the same way that theology is based on reason.

I don’t know why some academics wander into such philosophical minefields, but the rest of us don’t need to commit intellectual suicide by following them.

John J. Thom Anna Knapp Boulevard

Mount Pleasant Crape myrtles Several accounts published in your pages recently have described the crape myrtle as a plant native to South Carolina.

According to the historical marker, sponsored by the Michaux Garden Committee of the Charleston Horticultural Society, erected at the site of the French Botanical Garden (1786-1803), the crape myrtle was introduced to these shores by André Michaux in the 18th century.

George W. Williams Tradd Street

Charleston Ominous obesity The number of Americans considered obese is expected to rise from the current 34 percent to 42 percent by the year 2030, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and discussed at Monday’s “Weight of the Nation” conference in Washington.

Diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease and other obesity-related ailments account for countless premature deaths and as much as 18 percent of the $2.6 trillion national cost of medical care.

(See www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/study-predicts-42-percent-of-americans-will-be-obese-in-2030/2012/05/07/gIQAeaDL9T_story.html)

The leading causes of obesity are consumption of fat-laden meat and dairy products and lack of exercise. This is particularly critical during childhood years, when lifestyle habits become lifelong addictions.

A five-year Oxford University study of 22,000 people, published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2006, found that those on a vegetarian or vegan diet is highly effective for weight loss.

The time has come to replace meat and dairy products in our diet with wholesome grains, vegetables and fruits and to undertake a regular exercise program. Parents should insist on healthy school lunch choices and set a good example at their own dinner table.

Jason Henning Royal Palm Boulevard