Letters for July 28-August 2, 2006
Long Walk on a Short Pier
Can you just, uh, goose him a little? Great investigative reporting. I would imagine Mayor Quack feels you have given him an industrial-strength enema ("Mayor Al Quacks Up," Bob Norman, July 20). Now give him some high-colonic therapy and maybe he will resign.
Memories of Alex
The heat was more than a weather front: The events that occurred on August 25, 2004, are important to clarify ("Matchhead," Sam Eifling, July 13). Close to 25 minutes passed between when the Marines arrived and the fire occurred. Carlos was told [of his son's death] in the front yard of our home on a humid, 95-degree day. Had a chaplain been on-site, I know that my Catholic-raised husband would have had a very different response.
The lives of all military families are full of worry while their loved ones are on deployment. Bad habits develop in the midst of this anxiety: too much news-watching, sleepless nights, extreme sadness at the reporting of the casualties of war. Having met so many other military and Gold Star families, we know such reactions are commonplace. Carlos' reaction at the news of Alex's death came on top of the boiling inside he felt from worry. The powerlessness was more than he could bear.
There is one other reason Carlos and I do the work we do: Alex wanted us to. One of his favorite songs was Three Doors Down's "Love Me When I'm Gone." He would often say "Don't forget me" or "Tell everyone I love them." Alex is out of the game. Carlos and I are not. A good Marine never lets his buddies stay behind. This father and step-ma will not stop until all of Alex's buddies are home at last. It's what Alex would have wanted.
If you are interested in donating to the Alexander Arredondo scholarship fund, please send a check to Blue Hills Regional and Technical High School (write "Arredondo scholarship" on the memo line). Our goal is to collect enough donations so this scholarship fund will continue long after we do.
Doing something about it: Sam Eifling's feature article about Carlos Arredondo, the father of the young Marine killed in combat in Iraq, thoughtfully and respectfully portrays a man who is emotionally incapacitated and as alive as anyone you've ever seen.
The "emotional incapacitation" of Gold Star military families such as the Arredondos and the Luceys does not keep them from courageously honoring their sons' lives by making us recognize their horrific and premature deaths Alexander Arredondo's from a combat injury (possibly preventable had he been issued a better helmet), Jeffrey Lucey's from suicide (following denial of treatment by the Veterans Administration for his acute post-traumatic stress disorder).
What about the rest of us? The majority of Americans oppose the war, but passively. More of us need to become active protesters, to join the Arredondos and the Luceys on the streets and in the offices of our elected officials. Are we not morally incapacitated if we do not?
Grief, straight up and neat: Your Sam Eifling is one heck of a fine writer, letting the reader feel the anguish of a horribly wounded father without any hint of mawkish sentimentality or resentment or grandstanding. Kudos.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Support the troops by bringing them home: I am a Republican and a Vietnam veteran who opposes the war in Iraq. I was deeply moved by Sam Eifling's story. The contemporaneous media coverage of Carlos Arredondo and his reaction to his son Alex's death was incomplete at best and generally sensationalized.
The death of a child is the worst thing that anyone can go through and merits a very big pass regarding subsequent behavior. Carlos' later efforts to honor his son are appropriate and admirable.
On the other hand, the attitude of Richard Perle (and all the other bloodthirsty noncombatants of the Bush administration) toward Carlos and the many Americans who oppose this war is disgraceful. To equate opposition to the war with a lack of pride in, and respect for, those fighting it is only one of many bogus tactics used by men who can't or won't admit that Iraq and Vietnam are disturbingly similar.
This war will end when the American people have seen enough flag-draped coffins. To that end, we need many more Carlos Arredondos, Cindy Sheehans, and thousands of other Gold Star families to remind us of its human cost.
Enough to make strong men weep: Wow... what a powerful, heartbreaking story "Matchhead" was. Sam Eifling's words moved me to tears. I'd like to thank him for his talents.
New Times published two stories recently about Donald Trump's Fort Lauderdale development project, a hotel-condo currently under construction. The first article, "Pimp My Arena" (May 4), reported on the special access Trump condo owners would receive to BankAtlantic Center, an arena paid for in part by taxpayer funds. The second article, "Chump Tower" (June 22), questioned the wisdom of Trump's involvement in five South Florida condo projects at a time when condo sales are flagging. In each story, reference was made to the presence of Melania Knauss-Trump, Donald Trump's wife, at a marketing party for the condo tower held on April 14. This woman was actually Senada Adzem, vice president of marketing for Bayrock Group, the developer building the hotel. Melania Knauss-Trump was not in attendance.
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