A Stark reminder of sacrifice
Although the anniversary of one of the worst disasters in U.S. Navy history passed this month largely unobserved, the near-sinking of the USS Stark off the coast of Saudi Arabia in 1987 killed 37 sailors and wounded 21 others. Two Exocet missiles fired by an Iraqi fighter jet had slammed into the Stark hull. In what was surely a night of hell forever seared into their psyches, crewmembers fought gallantly to extinguish the inferno that consumed their ship and threatened to send her to a watery grave. The Stark listed back to port and somehow survived.
The tragedy occurred during the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq, said to claim more than one million lives. The United States, naturally, had to pick a side - and it went with Iraq, whose brutal dictator our government eventually would go to war with twice, sacrificing billions of dollars and thousands of brave souls to topple him.
Saddam Hussein said he was sorry that his military mistook the Stark for an Iranian tanker. Although a U.S. guided-missile frigate and an Iranian tanker are about as similar in appearance as Christie Brinkley and Chris Christie, Hussein's apology was accepted and all was forgotten. But we Navy veterans will always remember - and so should all Americans.
Vin Morabito, Scranton, MorabitoV@lackawannacounty.org
Disregard for free-speech rights
The Associated Press phone records case was not about keeping Americans safe, as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told Congress. The Central Intelligence Agency already had prevented an alleged al-Qaeda plane bombing plot. The seizing of AP reporters' phone records was about finding the sources of a story on how the bombing was prevented. It was a leak investigation. Even if that investigation were justified - which it was not - there was no excuse for the Justice Department not going to federal court and being compelled to justify a subpoena. Holder should resign.
Dave Lindorff, Maple Glen, firstname.lastname@example.org
School tax hikes are palatable
Where I teach, my students will lose their counselor, secretary, and five teachers. Our student body of roughly 400 will remain the same, or grow. So I'm happy to pay a few extra cents per drink to help fill the funding void left by Harrisburg policies. My friends are, too. Mayor Nutter should be applauded for putting education first - before the alcohol and tobacco lobbies that he will enrage with his tax proposals.
Kathleen Melville, Philadelphia, email@example.com
No retiring from lives of prayer
Thank you for the article on the nuns' retirement home, Camilla Hall - a facility affectionately known as the powerhouse of prayer ("Camilla Hall undergoing $19 million renovation," May 14). Its remarkable residents have retired from teaching but continue in their vocations by storming heaven with constant prayers for family, benefactors, and the world. Whenever I visit this special place, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary never fail to inspire me with their constant attitude of joyful love in the service of the Lord and his mother, Mary. They bless us by their presence in our lives.