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Ceremony was a heartfelt tribute
As a substitute teacher, I felt lucky to be at Olympia High School on the day they had their Veterans Day program. The quality of the program was remarkable.
I found out that it was conceived and produced by Caitlin Cusack, a senior at Olympia High School, as her culminating project.
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Members of the Civil Air Patrol color guard posted the colors in a true military manner — one of the best I’ve had the honor to witness. The students who narrated veterans’ experiences did so very well with a demeanor that fit the occasion.
And the wind ensemble of the school band, under the direction of Scott Pierson, superbly performed several very appropriate pieces, including the Star Spangled Banner.
For me, the tone and subject matter of the program did real justice in honoring veterans and projecting their patriotism. I think the proof of its effectiveness was in how the attending students were truly respectful during the entire program.
Thank you, Caitlin, for orchestrating such an uplifting program.
JOE CASTONGUAY, USAF VETERAN, Olympia
Abolish the death penalty
A recent article in The Olympian adds more information to show that the death penalty is not working.
We want laws that protect us from violent crime. We want trials that are fair and just for all those involved. Continuing to use the death penalty makes these aims difficult or impossible.
The courts are burdened by a complexity of laws that make death penalty terribly expensive. And in the end the sentence is almost always life in prison without parole. Eighteen of 22 death penalty sentences have been reversed by higher courts due to errors.
Why not abolish the death penalty and use the millions saved to raise healthy children, prevent crime, and help crime victims?
The Washington State Supreme Court justices, the national and state bar associations, and the influential American Law Institute are backing away from trying to repair the death penalty.
Judges and lawyers cannot fix something that is fundamentally flawed. Their efforts so far have made things worse.
They now defer to citizens and their representatives to deal with the problem.
It is up to us to become aware of the damage that the death penalty does to our society and let our legislators know about it.
ROZANNE RANTS, Chairwoman, Olympia Committee for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Portland park shows value of waterfront
As a part-time Portland resident, I appreciated reporter John Dodge’s story about his recent weekend in its downtown. Although I don’t really know the great pubs, I do love shopping, dining and spending time in Portland’s downtown center that is only a few blocks away from Tom McCall Park.
If you’ve not visited that park yourself, you may have noticed it while driving south through Portland on Interstate 5. Look to your right, and you’ll see nearly two miles of beautiful green waterfront. It’s the site for many of Portland’s festivals; more importantly, it’s a place to walk, play, contemplate, and to regard the bordering Willamette River and Mt. Hood in the distance. It’s an oasis in a bustling downtown.
In the story, Dodge wrote that 35 years ago, the planners of Portland had the “good sense to replace a riverside freeway with a 22-block-long waterfront park.”
Well, actually I know that it took more than good sense. It took the passionate will of a very determined group of planners and enlightened city leadership to literally move that freeway and save that land for Portland’s best future.
In the November election, Olympians convincingly repudiated last year’s City Council isthmus decision. I urge our city and state leaders not to hand over our waterfront, and our historic views, to developers. We need high density housing downtown, but just not there. Please do the hard thing, the right thing. Please fight to save those spaces for all of us.
KRIS GODDARD, Olympia