News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, JUNE 19, 2005


Scouting numbers difficult to ascertain


Thank you for bringing to light the current problems of the Boy Scouts of America and the American Civil Liberties Union. The ongoing litigation between these non-profit organizations has done little to improve the BSA program.

I have been a life-long member of the BSA in my youth and as an adult volunteer for the last 25 years. I have questioned the membership rolls of the Greater Alabama Council Boy Scouts of America since last year. I was the training chairman for the Arrowhead District (Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence counties) for the last five years. I was responsible for all adult and unit training.

I constantly asked the professionals for a list of the units and adult volunteers for whom I was to provide training. I never received the information. At the end of 2004, Arrowhead District official numbers showed 126 units in our district, 2,700 youth and 500 adult volunteers.

The numbers from May 2005 show only 56 units, 1,100 youth and 300 adults. The council figures show we are down by 147 units in a 22-county, 14-district council.

It is hard to believe our district has only 10 percent of the units and members of the council but account for 41 percent of the reduction. This reduction is not even close to what will be shown in the near future. There is not one unit or member in our district or council included in these reduction numbers that are there due to the ACLU.

The loss is due to volunteers who are asking questions about the numbers reported by the professional scouters. My 25-year membership was revoked by the council executive committee. They did not allow me due process of a personal representation of anonymous allegations on my personal character.

Maybe I'm the one who needs the ACLU.

Thomas T. Willis, DMD


Returning troops deserve recognition


Shame! Shame! The lack of both print and TV coverage of the welcome home celebration for our troops June 11 in Huntsville is shameful! What a disservice all the media did to these soldiers! Although the weather wasn't ideal and the crowd wasn't huge, they still deserved better.

Although most have made the transition back into civilian life, the physical and emotional sacrifices they made will live with them forever. They deserve our respect and gratitude for a job well done. My heart goes out to the mother in Eva who was not as fortunate as I to have her son come home safely. Remember, if not for soldiers like these, we would not be breathing the free air that we all too often take for granted.

To all of the soldiers who have returned home, thank you! For all those still deployed, I pray for their safe return home.

Wanda Davis


Weather forecasts usually correct


This is in response to the June 15 article "Most in poll say weather forecasts not reliable."

I'm a weather enthusiast and enjoy attempting to forecast weather. Forecasts are rarely all-out wrong within five days. I don't recall any time when any TV or National Weather Service forecast called for a rainy day and it was sunny all day instead.

It is more difficult to display a weather forecast in a way that people reading will understand, especially during the summertime when storms pop up in the heat of the day. They are usually isolated and affect only a few people, so what does the meteorologist say for a forecast?

If you tell people there is a chance of rain and they get none, they will think you're wrong, even though some people in the area saw rain. Forecast errors occur, but generally, weather forecasts from reliable sources are reliable.

The Weather Channel has computer-generated forecasts, and sometimes they are not clear on how isolated storms will be during the summertime, confusing viewers. The best sources include the National Weather Service, local TV stations and newspapers. If people don't understand the forecasts they see, they will think the forecasts are unreliable.

Zach Pearce


Confederate Army diverse in make-up


Today, politically correct society teaches us to be horrified at the thought of a Confederate soldiers memorial. It has been widely taught that the only people who fought for the Confederacy were white Southern males protecting their property. This is a revisionist historical approach and, of course, is completely incorrect.

The Southern army was composed of a pluralistic people of many ethnic groups. There were the Scotch-Irish from Ireland and Scotland who inhabited the Southeastern states. The Irish, also from Ireland, enlisted from Georgia and South Carolina. The French who inhabited the deltas of Louisiana and Alabama came from France and French Canada. Jewish men from all the Southern states had migrated to the South from Europe and fought for the Confederacy. There were the descendants of the Spanish who joined from Florida, Texas and the New Mexico Territory. A company of women ran the Georgia Home Guard around Savannah and fought against Sherman's invasion.

There was a large enrollment from the five civilized tribes (the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole). The wealthy descendants of the British colonists comprised about 2 percent of the Confederate Army.

Another group of enlistees was the free black African males who fought by choice for the Confederacy. Gen. Robert E. Lee had requested 300,000 more male slaves to fight for their freedom as early as 1863. Jefferson Davis, however, would not agree to those terms until April 1865, which was too late to stop the Confederacy's defeat.

The majority of these people composed a group of about 98 percent of the Confederate Army and owned no slaves. Therefore, the next time a so-called politically correct person tells you he opposes a Confederate soldiers memorial, you can answer him by saying, "Just which group do you oppose?"

Phillip M. Chenault


Boxer was inspiration for a generation


During the Great Depression, people who had once prospered were faced with eviction notices and empty stomachs. Banks failed and thousands upon thousands of people lost all they had saved. It became the era of "Mister, can you spare a dime."

By the early 1930s, the Depression was still showing its effects. James J. Braddock, a once up-and-coming pugilist, and his family, were welfare recipients. He became one of the biggest underdogs in and out of the ring. But in 1934, Braddock scored two stunning victories and was then posted as the No. 1 contender for the World Boxing Heavyweight Championship.

There was one problem: The man who held the boxing title had one of the hardest right hands in boxing history and had a killer instinct as big as Mount Everest.

Max Baer, outside the ring, was an amiable clown. Inside the ring, he threw caution to the winds and wouldn't think twice about punching an opponent when he was stone-cold out. It was publicized that Baer had killed two opponents in the ring.

On June 13, 1935, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Braddock entered the ring a 15-1 underdog. Baer entered the ring underestimating his challenger. It proved to be his mistake. After 15 rounds, James Braddock, in a workmanlike performance, won the World Heavyweight Championship in a unanimous decision. The underdogs of the nation stood up and cheered. Hands down, it's still one of the biggest upsets in history.

James Braddock was the Cinderella man who won the glass slipper and inspired a Depression-weary nation.

Jimmy Robinson


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