Forum for June 15, 2024: Where’s the heart?

Published: 06-14-2024 4:22 PM

Where’s the heart?

As a 1953 graduate of Dartmouth College, I have enjoyed reliving that moment of my life on many occasions. I was told that during the run-up to that event that President Dickey had retreated to his remote sanctuary high in Baker Library where his painstaking synthesis of citations for honorary degrees took so long that his handlers were driven nearly crazy. Whether that time spent in isolation had anything to do with what others decided to say during the commencement cannot be known now, but Ike’s “Don’t join the bookburners” remark, flowed from a last minute decision before the ceremony while talented minds around Ike were exercising.

Since then, I have paid particular attention to such citations. I am sorry to report that the citation offered prior to Liz Cheney’s honorary degree on Sunday morning lacked a specific statement to her time as co-chair of the January 6 investigative committee. This must have been on purpose, and as such represents the absence of a substance that must be in such citations if they are to become remembered. That quality is what I call “heart.” It is important that institutions have this quality and award it appropriately. It reflects on the leadership when it does not.

O. Ross McIntyre


No sympathy for camper couple

A recent Valley News had a front page story and picture of an old camper (“ ‘Trying to run us out’ ”; May 11). I was pretty familiar with this drug haven as for awhile it was parked just outside of Hartford Village near another place these occupants had camped out for the winter. They had been camped there in tents for around four months; the trash they accumulated is still there today as a reminder of what happens when folks try to help these druggies out.

Prior to that they were just outside of Hartford Village closer to town, and the state spent around $15,000 cleaning up that pig sty. This guy receives a disability check, has enough money for drugs and cigarettes, etc. He and his girlfriend choose to be homeless.

I am asking the reporter who so disgustingly wrote the pity story and oh-poor-me mentality to please take some of her liberal friends and clean up the trash her newfound friends left by the river on Route 14. All of us that travel that road and appreciate our neighbors will be grateful when you get done with that project. In the meantime, get your facts better next time before you write stories such as these.

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Douglas Tuthill

West Hartford

Respect For Old Glory

In May, we drove through one of our favorite local towns, Norwich. It looked as beautiful as ever, but something seemed slightly different. Every utility pole had an American flag. Now this may have been the first time in recent memory that we went through Norwich, and the flags may have been there for quite some time. Or the flags reminded me of the increasing number of differences of opinion on their importance and meaning.

I was the only one in my family of four men that not serve in the military, but I was in the Boy Scouts from 1961 to 1966. I learned a lot of skills and values that were very influential in my education and career. Respect for the natural world led to my becoming a geoscientist specializing in environmental protection. I also developed a respect for the flag. The sign of this respect, a part of all Boy Scout events, was unfolding and raising the flag in the morning and lowering and folding it at sunset. It was both a patriotic and a spiritual experience. It symbolized the opportunities of a new day and the accomplishments of the day past. We also tried to protect the flag from the elements if adequate time was available. These BSA practices, are also codified in military and VA policy.

It really saddens me when I see a flag that is so ignored that it is hard to distinguish the colors, or is tattered, or is even hijacked for political purposes (has anyone seen the flags with Jesus and a crucifix?), and/or is dripping wet. Both of our family flags are still in the protective wood framed boxes with clear cases from the US Army and Air Force, which are brought out for Memorial Day, Veterans Day and July 4th.

I would ask of those to whom the flag is so important, to the point of letting it divide their community, to please respect one of the most precious symbols of our country and democracy, by giving it the attention that it deserves.

Bart Guetti

West Lebanon

We should call it ‘genocide’

Words matter, and in the present divided state of our political discourse, we need to be careful in the words we use. For example, the media often describe the conflict in Gaza as a “war.” It is not a war; it is a slaughter. Innocent people in Gaza are being killed by the thousands. They have no means to protect themselves and no way to fight back. They can either stay put and be killed or they can flee and be killed.

On the other hand, some people hesitate to use the word “genocide” in this situation. Israel was justifiably furious over the Hamas terrorist attack of Oct. 7. The Israeli government claims that Hamas militants hide among the civilian population, and so Hamas itself is responsible for the killing of Palestinians.

No. Do you imagine that if Hamas was hiding among civilians in an Israeli city that Israel would kill tens of thousands of Israeli civilians to flush out the terrorists? If the terrorists were hiding in Paris, would Israel be bombing French hospitals, schools, and churches? No. The people of Gaza are being killed because they are Palestinian. The mass killing of a targeted ethnic group fits the definition of genocide.

Those who instead use euphemisms like “regrettable civilian casualties” or “collateral damage” imply that these killings are unavoidable or justifiable. They are neither. Call it what it is — genocide.

Rob Anderegg