07-27-2017 Letters and Commentary


This old flag

is no one’s rag

Dear Editor,

Following my recent letter regarding disrespect of our American Flag at the 4th of July Parade, I was asked by some people, what’s the big deal about the flag. That it’s just intrinsic bits and pieces of cloth sewn into a geometric shape, affixed to a pole, tacked to the side of a building or lashed to a stick.

I said to them that the flag is so much more than that. The bits of cloth represent our cities and towns stitched together to form our communities, communities stitched together to form our states, our states standing row upon row, from our 1st state to our 50th.

The stripes representing the 13 original colonies calling to mind the pain and suffering they endured through the revolution to form this nation.

From the battles of Lexington and Concord to the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan this banner has been carried in some form or another. Many a Union soldier was killed carrying this standard only to be replaced by another soldier who dropped his rifle and picked up the flag.

In World War II the battle of Iwo Jima was in doubt when the Marines raised the flag atop Mount Suribachi. When the Twin Towers fell on 9/11 and the smoke cleared the flag pole from atop one of the Towers was still upright at ground zero. A flag was raised on that flagpole.

Some of us have seen this flag trampled, desecrated and spat upon.

The greatest tribute of respect that this great nation can bestow on a veteran, whether a young and strong veteran killed in battle or an elderly veteran who died in hospice care is to be draped in the loving folds of our nation’s flag in their last hour. This is a final show of respect and devotion from an indebted nation.

A bunch of intrinsic bits of cloth, I think not.

Pete Petruk, Sgt, USMC

Msgt Michigan Air National Guard (RET)

Fire Lanes around the lake

Dear Editor,

With the increase of activity on the lake, the worry is that if anyone was in need of evacuation for medical attention, would access through the Fire Lanes be an option?  Are all our Fire Lanes clear of obstructions so emergency vehicles don’t have a delay???

Who would be in charge of checking the Lanes?

I feel it’s better to be proactive on such a matter.  Who knows, it might be me who needs help!

Thanks for your attention in this matter.

Mary Grabowski

Keep Postal Carriers safe from dogs

Dear Editor,

We are asking customers to keep our Postal Carriers safe from dogs. Here are some reminders:

When a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, secure your dog in a separate room. Close that door before opening your front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows.

DO NOT take mail directly from the letter carrier in the presence of the family dog. It is viewed as a threatening gesture.

If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if it is unleashed and loose roaming the neighborhood, the owner and neighbors may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office until the pet has been restrained.

Thank you for being a responsible pet owner for the safety of all of our citizens.

Wendy Fisher, Postmaster

Watervliet 49098

How you can grow your Social Security benefits beyond retirement age

For more and more Americans, reaching retirement age no longer means the end of an active working life. Many people are choosing to work past the age of 65, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you’re willing and able, maintaining gainful employment later in life could go a long way toward ensuring a secure future for you and your family. Besides providing you with additional income to pay your bills, extending your employment or working for yourself could boost your lifetime Social Security benefits.

Here’s how: Waiting to claim your Social Security retirement benefits could increase them by up to 32 percent. To learn more about delayed retirement credits, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html.

Once you start receiving retirement benefits, we’ll automatically review your earnings record each year to determine if you’re entitled to an adjustment. When we calculate your retirement benefit amount, we use your best 35 years of earnings. We’ll increase your benefit amount if your new year of earnings is higher than one of the years we used to calculate your initial benefit amount. To see how we calculate your benefits, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf.

An increased benefit amount for yourself could mean more support for your family, too, through Social Security spousal benefits, child benefits, and survivor benefits.

We also encourage you to set up your own my Social Security account so you can verify your lifetime earnings record, check the status of an application for benefits, and manage them after you’re receiving them. You can create your personal my Social Security account today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

To forgive or not to forgive

My brother and I had worked hard building a snow fort in front of the apartments where we lived in Nuremberg. Then these older German boys came by and kicked it down. With every kick they said, “Sorry,” “Sorry,” “Sorry.” They thought it was funny. We didn’t. We built it again. They came back and kicked it down again, along with their “Sorry.” Of course, they weren’t sorry at all. We were angry about it, but we felt powerless to do anything. If we maintained that anger it would be an indication that we had never forgiven them for their bullying offenses.

Refusing to forgive, even when the offenses are real is very unhealthy. It can lead to physical, social, and spiritual trouble. Physically, the associated anger causes stress. We have enough stress without adding to our misery by tying ourselves in knots maintaining additional offenses. Sooner or later it will reflect in an “angry countenance,” an unhappy face. Remember how your mom would tell you if you made faces, it would get stuck that way? That really happens to unforgiving people.

Socially, angry people cripple themselves, becoming defensive in relationships at every level. The trust factor has been eroded. The “fool-me-once-your-bad-fool-me-twice-my-bad” attitude dominates… counterproductive.

But the most serious consequence of an unforgiving attitude is spiritual. In the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6) we find, “Forgive us our debts (or trespasses), as we forgive our debtors (or trespassers against us).” Aren’t we asking God to treat us like we treat others? Jesus then told the disciples that if we forgive others their offenses against us, we will be forgiven our offenses against God. If not, forget it. You remain unforgiven yourself. Not a good situation.

So whatever it is, let it go. Stop being angry and begin to enjoy the freedom of forgiveness.

DOWN MEMORY LANE (1950 Watervliet Main Street)… Richard (Dick) O’Hara dropped me a line recently, writing, “I am a former resident and graduated from Watervliet High school in 1943. I went into the Marine Corp in 1944, returned in 1946 and married local girl Genevieve Pitcher. I was part owner of Haxson Dairy, the former Watervliet Creamery.

“I was reminiscing and thought y’all might find an interest in the 1950 Main Street business merchants. I did this several years ago and just recently ran across this list of businesses.”

On the West side starting at U.S. 12 (Red Arrow Highway)… Del Crain’s Phillips 66 Service, Ritz Theatre/Badt Furniture, and Pere Marquette Depot.

Haxson Dairy Store, Smith Realty-Ice Cream, Midget Restaurant, U.S. Post Office, Stan Monroe Drug Store (Fama), Alfing’s Grocery Store, Pierce Rooming House, Boston Store, and Faulkner’s 5 & 10.

Leverton’s Royal Blue Grocery, Nilsen Jewelers, Brule’s Barber Shop, Dalgleish Doctors’ Office, Brownies Restaurant, Empty, Ridgeway Grocery Store, Doctor Gunn’s Office, Van Horn house, Percy Lewis house, Watervliet Hospital, and Watervliet Paper Mill.

On the East Side from Red Arrow… Don Old’s Sinclair Station, King’s Garage, Tuka’s Ice Cream Parlor, Watervliet Record, Beverly Lumber, and RR tracks.

Curtis Farm Bureau, Elderly Widow’s home, Rogel Motors, Hutchins’ Drug Store, 1st National Bank, Jones Hardware, Pierce Garage Standard Oil, Tacy Barber Shop, Dr. McNabb Office, and Lewis Drug Store.

Lew Willis Restaurant, Robbins’ Paint Store, Nelson Garage, Dr. Brown’s Office, Osgood Electric, Dr. Reed’s Office, Thompson Plumbing, Black Cat Bar, Pflugradt Bakery, and Bridges Chevrolet.

“I was on the Watervliet Fire Department for nine year and for old times’ sake I am including the names (on the roster) as of 1950.”

Shon Bridges, Chief; Elliot Spreen, Asst. Chief; Duff Lottridge, Lieutenant; Whitey Selters, Lieutenant; Harold Peirce, Custodian; Charlie Smith, Mechanic/Driver; Red Leverton, Driver; Ollie Turner, Specialty Driver; Paul Muth, Driver; Dick O’Hara’ Tanker Driver; Doug Warman, Firefighter; Max McNees, Firefighter; Leo McNees, Firefighter; Donnie McNees, Firefighter; Jim Dunham, Firefighter; and Tom O’Hara, Hydrant Man.

“Firemen were paid $3.00 per hour and were paid once a year, three weeks before Christmas.

“I love the Tri-City Record, even though it takes a week or more to arrive in Denton, Texas.

“Y’all be safe. Remain vigilant. Stay in the fight to save America. Semper Fi.”

Richard F. O’Hara

Thanks Dick for sharing your memories.

I hope this trip down memory lane sparked more from other Tri-City Record readers.  Send them to me here at the Record.

My contact information and address is at the bottom of this page.


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