Letters to the editor

Editor: Dear Fellow Texans, On Memorial Day, we honor the servicemen and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation. On this day – as we should every day – we express our gratitude for those heroes who have given their lives while serving in our Armed Forces. We honor their distinguished careers, their unwavering dedication, and the support of their loving families. We remember Texans like Master Sergeant Jonathan Dunbar of Austin, who was killed just months ago by a roadside bomb in Syria. He was on a mission to capture a known member of the Islamic State when he and a British service member were hit and killed. Five others were injured. Master Sgt. Dunbar is fondly remembered by childhood friends as a boy who always stood up for his sister and classmates. He carried that into adulthood in the U.S. Army, as shown by one friend’s comment that “he truly believed in fighting against evil to the point of sacrificing his own life.” His dedication showed; his list of medals and commendations ran long. Our nation depends upon the men and women, like Master Sgt. Dunbar, who volunteer to serve in our Armed Forces. And our servicemembers undoubtedly depend on their families for support. As we remember the fallen servicemen and women of the U.S. Armed Forces today, I ask you to join me in thanking the families of the fallen who have the hardest job of all in supporting the service of their loved ones and bearing the burden of their sacrifice. Master Sgt. Dunbar is survived by his wife Jolinda, teenage son Jonathan, and two young daughters, Jael and Julianna. Please keep them in your prayers. On Memorial Day, and on every day of the year, may God bless all our fallen servicemen and women and their devoted families, and may He continue to bless the United States of America. Sincerely,

John Cornyn U.S. Senator for Texas

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Editor: A recent poll showed that an incredible 59 percent of Americans are not aware of the guilty pleas and indictments from Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Indictment does not mean guilt – yet – but those who have pleaded “guilty” to various charges are indisputable. Who and when are as follows: George Papadopoulos, Trump advisor, guilty, October 30, 2017; Michael Flynn, national security advisor, guilty, December 1, 2017; Richard Pinedo, February 16, 2018, guilty of identity theft, relationship to Russia investigation is uncertain at this time; Alex van der Zwaan, Dutch lawyer, guilty, February 20, 2018; Rick Gates, Paul Manafort associate, guilty, February 23, 2018, (Manafort indicted on about 45 charges at last count.) Add to the guilty pleas at least 16 indictments against Russian individuals or entities. So, a witch hunt? Maybe in the world of lies, spin and alternative facts, but not in the real world. This stuff is important, please pay attention!

Fred Gossien Terlingua

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Editor: I attended the 67 Corridor presentations in Alpine and Marfa and I want to openly state that I wholeheartedly support increased safety on our interconnected highways through the creation of more passing lanes, greater number of safe driving signage and better sidewalks and bike lanes in our towns. If this is the goal of the 67 Corridor project then I enthusiastically support it! Before we can move forward on this we have to first get the elephant out of the room: freight truck traffic. If you remove all the “icing” out of this project, what do you have? La Entrada. And we all remember how the state and TxDoT were determined to shove that through our towns and neighborhoods without our consent. However, if we give the benefit of the doubt to this project and believe the presenter’s good intentions and request for input from citizens of the area, especially with solutions that provide the least amount of environmental impact to our home, may I present two. Neither solution is mine. The first one comes from people a lot smarter than I whom I spoke with and listened to at the Alpine and Marfa presentations. Rather than routing freight traffic through our communities, it was suggested instead to bring them up from Presidio on 67 and then bypass Marfa completely and connect with 90 going straight to Van Horn and I-10. The route is flat, can be widened as needed, and gets this issue completely off the table so long as the 67/90 Corridor is coupled with state statue requiring all freight not bound for our communities to take this 67/90 Corridor. The second solution comes from the days of La Entrada to bring all freight bound through our area to final destinations unknown on the railroad. This is the least environmentally impactful option I can think of because the tracks are already built and the freight cars already exist. Yes, we may have more trains coming through, but I would think that to be a better compromise than hundreds of freight trucks around the clock rumbling down our streets, threatening pedestrians, cyclists, and kids alike while seriously degrading our quality of life. Either solution will result in removing the danger of freight trucks completely from our communities and, if this is done first, then I can enthusiastically listen to what the promoters of the 67 Corridor have to say. Sincerely,

Amit Rangra Alpine

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Editor: “Conform or Else!” The NFL announced a  policy requiring players on the sideline to stand for national anthem, but if opposed, remain in the locker room. Ouch! The uselessness is patent. It contradicts the principle of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette,  a 1943 SCOTUS decision that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protects students from being forced to salute the American flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance in public school. Barnette is remembered for its forceful defense of free speech and constitutional rights generally as being placed “beyond the reach of majorities and officials.” At the time, it wasn’t clear the Allies would prevail. Wouldn’t that be the time for an “all hands on deck” approach to patriotism? Our enemies were opposed to our liberal, democratic way of life. Thankfully, the Supreme Court understood better than to surrender our principles in dire times! Amen, too when the Bill of Rights is understood by those who claim to LUV the original intent of the Founding Fathers. Compelled conformity is today’s Pharisees on steroids. How utterly devoid of sincerity, meaning or piety is this charade of anything remotely patriotic? Love of country? Upon what or whose debased definition? Pseudo patriotism makes a mockery of our God-given free-will. It despoils the symbolic meaning of the flag and betrays the work of those who provided us with an enlightened constitution for a new nation’s framework. A patriotic or religious act or gesture; when forced by convention, policy or law, carries less meaning than a POW’s tortured confession. It has no enduring reverence in the hearts and minds of unwilling participants much less captors gaining a news conference. Those made to participate in ‘conform or else!’ know that to be so – as do the Inquisitor Pharisees. Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah Alpine