Forum, Aug. 6: The Great War; Sharing the Wealth; Rewriting Gaza Headlines, Neighbors Need Help

The Great War, Reconsidered

To the Editor:

Nicola Smith did a fine job in describing the many ways the Great War influenced “almost everything that happened afterward,” inviting thoughtful contributions from our community. Jim Fox interestingly pointed out that Rudyard Kipling’s history of the Irish Guards in World War I barely mentions the loss of his 18-year-old son, who was killed, missing in action at Loos in 1915. Although Kipling had been an early supporter of the war, he was, in fact, devastated by the loss, writing: “If any question why we died, Tell them, because our fathers lied.”

Roland Kuchel

West Fairlee

The War to End All ...

To the Editor:

I enjoyed your piece, “Reading the Great War” (Valley News, Aug. 1) and would like to suggest one more must-read. Although written in 1938 during the run-up to World War II, Dalton Trumbo’s novel Johnny Got His Gun tells the story of a young World War I soldier who awakens in a hospital room after being wounded by an artillery shell. Slowly he realizes he has been left without arms, without legs, without a face, eyes, mouth or tongue. Yet his mind is totally intact. He sees himself “a man who wanted only to live sent to kill a man who wanted only to live” and wants to tell the world about war.

The book is brilliant — and a nightmare. Be forewarned. (It was also made into a decent movie starring Donald Sutherland and Timothy Bottoms in 1971). It is a grim warning about patriotic wars that are fashioned by old men who are safe from the carnage. It should serve as required reading for leaders of today who are too quick to send young people to war — and those who would be the soldiers for their senseless wars.

Steven Thomas


Building Better Businesses

To the Editor:

The editorial in the Sunday Valley News, “Loyalty and Profits ... Market Basket Shared the Wealth” (Aug. 3) was a breath of fresh air. Having just moved to Hanover from a small town in Illinois, I know very little about the company and nothing about Arthur T. Demoulas, except what has been reported by the press.

The editorial and research by the Valley News has touched on a subject that needs more discussion: business, owners, managers, employees, the American dream and fairness in the work place. For the past 50 years, I have been owner and operator of small retail stores and served as a director of a locally owned bank and a privately-owned manufacturing business.

What excited me was that the editorial pointed out that business can be successful when the customer and company focus on the same values. This does not happen by accident. When a company eschews debt, operates with fewer managers and buyers, and has low employee turnover, you can be successful and make money. This is not the corporate model, the Wall Street model, but rather a traditional Main Street model.

My frustration today is that neither Congress nor the White House have any idea what makes business work. My hope is to return to an old thought by Robert K. Greenleaf, who wrote about management in his book Servant Leadership. Yes. enlightened, servant leadership in government and business can result in sharing the wealth.

Jim Baum


Rewriting Gaza Headlines

To the Editor:

Media bias is subtle; a recent example is the Valley News headline “Gaza Tunnel Threat Leaves Israelis Shaken” on Aug. 1. Why are there no alternative headlines in U.S. papers? Here are some suggestions: Israel Endangers Lives of Citizens of Gaza With Advanced Military Weapons Supplied by the U.S.; Israel Bombs Homes, Utility Systems, Hospitals and Schools, Killing Over 1,000 Non-Combatants; Israel’s Illegal Settlements in the West Bank Cause Widespread Anger Among Palestinians; Economic Blockade of Gaza Leads to Protest and Anger by Palestinian Citizens in Gaza; and lastly, Israel Violates U.N. Mandates When the Jewish State Was Set Up in 1947 by a Policy of Encroachment into Palestine.

Don’t be conned by media bias. The truth is more complicated.

Shawn M. Donovan


Your Neighbors Need Help

To the Editor:

I am writing the good people of the Upper Valley asking for your help. I am the mother of two adult children with disabilities who are active in the Upper Valley. Both graduated from Lebanon High School and are in their 40s.

They belong to a self-advocacy group called the “Upper Valley Neighbors.” They advocate for rights and needs for themselves and others through local and statewide gatherings and meetings.

Every two years there is a national meeting that brings each state together to learn from each other. This year’s national conference is in October in Oklahoma City, Okla. We have a group of members who want to attend. We have worked hard and held yard sales, craft sales, a golf-a-thon at Fore-U and other fundraisers.

Historically, the Development Disabilities Council in Concord has helped financially. Our deadline is Aug. 10, and we’ve just been informed that with budget cuts the council will not be able to help.

This is a huge blow as the cost for the conference, hotel stay and travel is approximately $2,000 each. We just don’t have enough. We’re asking for your help. Members have planned and worked hard for a year and a half to attend. It would be heartbreaking to now say: Sorry, you can’t go — there’s not enough money.

If you can help, please send a check to the “Upper Valley Neighbors,” care of John Fenley, president, 91 Hanover St., Apt. 1 Lebanon, NH 03766. There is a tax ID number upon request. Thank you and please know that you helped some deserving people.

Cheryl Mills