News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Misses Veterans Day parade


I read your article "Disappointment Day," and I feel bad for the veterans who feel unappreciated. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our veterans past and present for helping to make and keep this country free. So I would like to say to them now, "Thank you for all of the sacrifices you have made for us."

I have two children who attend Decatur High School and they both are in the marching band. At our Nov. 8 DHS Band Booster meeting, we discussed the Veterans Day Parade and wondered why we had not received an invitation to march in it. Our band director makes this parade a mandatory assignment for our children and it becomes part of their grade. We had a band booster parent who made several calls trying to figure out why there was no mention of a parade in the newspaper and why we had not received notice of it. We could find no information. The desk sergeant at the Decatur Police Department even went so far to say that there had never been a Veterans Day parade! Our school marched in this parade for the past three years. I know this, because my children were there, and so was I. If there was only one band that marched last year, it was Decatur High School.

On Nov. 10, I attended a veterans assembly that Decatur High School presented. Both the DHS Band and the chorus performed.

I feel very sad that the men mentioned in this article have felt disappointment in the public's involvement with Veterans Day activities. But I also want them to be made aware of the contributions from the students and faculty of Decatur High School.

Sheryl Miller


What was Sen. Shelby thinking?


The $315 million boondoggle bridge between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Gravina Island has been dubbed "The Bridge To Nowhere" because Gravina Island has a population of only 50, but it could also be called "The Bridge from Nowhere" since Ketchikan, with only 8,000 people, has no connection to any outside road network. The only way to get a car there is by ferry. And as for crossing over to the island, a ferry runs every 15 minutes in the summer and every 30 minutes in the winter. Some have alleged that, due to the proposed location of the bridge, the ferry may still be quicker than the bridge.

Sen. Tom Coburn attempted to divert funding from this poster child of Republicans who spend like drunken Democrats to instead use the funds to rebuild the hurricane-damaged I-10 bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, which serves considerably more than 8,050 people. Our senator, Richard Shelby, helped defeat it. Apparently Sen. Richard Shelby thinks it is appropriate to waste $315 million of our highway taxes for a giant bridge to and from nowhere, plus an additional $100,000 per year for maintenance.

How many of Sen. Shelby's constituents cross the Tennessee River on a regular basis? How many are frequently delayed due to accidents on the overcrowded bridges on I-65 and especially U.S. 31 at Decatur? I'll bet it's more than 8,050. And I'd also bet that a new bridge over the Tennessee River would cost considerably less than a bridge that is alleged to be nearly as long as the Golden Gate and almost 200 feet high.

The next time you're sitting in a traffic jam due to an accident on the bridge, I suggest you use that otherwise wasted time to call Sen. Shelby's office and ask him what he was thinking.

Kim Ledbetter


Animal rescue is not cheap


Everyone involved in pet rescue has heard, "Why do you charge so much? If you really wanted to find homes for abandoned animals, you would just give them away." I understand why people who have never been involved in pet rescue ask this question, but the answer is that it takes a huge amount of money to rescue animals. When an animal comes into a rescue, money is spent on neutering/spaying, vaccinations and screenings for heartworms and parasites. Veterinarian expenses for a healthy, medium-sized dog can run as high as $175, and the majority of rescued animals require additional help, such as treatments for parasites and broken bones, and the administration of antibiotics for injuries and other illnesses. During their time at the rescue, the animals also require food and water, bedding, etc. The adoption fee for each pet is intended to help cover these costs, but rescuers rarely break even.

You can buy an animal from a pet store or breeder for less money, but the animal still has to be spayed/neutered and given vaccines, which can cost more than the adoption fee. Also, most rescuers believe that if a person cannot afford the nominal adoption fee of $150-$400, then that person will be unable to afford the long-term care that animals require.

While I would like to encourage everyone to adopt his or her next pet from a rescue or shelter, be prepared to fill out an application, have your home inspected by a rescuer and pay an adoption fee. The price of adopting a neglected or abandoned pet is incomparable to the amount of love and loyalty you will be paid in return. Anyone interested in adopted can visit www.petfinder

Anna Tuggle Hodges


Team Impact may have saved lives


I would like to take this opportunity to thank those individuals responsible for bringing Team Impact into our community. With the increase in teen violence and a decrease in morality, we front-line youth workers need all the help we can get.

We are very much aware of those who are in opposition to any organized activity supporting positive choices in our schools like Team Impact. My question to those and others: If it were your child who was murdered, or committed a murder, if it were your spouse who was murdered or your child who died due to drugs or alcohol, and their lives could have been spared because they heard a positive message about hope, positive choices and encouragement, would it have mattered who delivered that message if it meant your loved one's life would be spared?

Please let us not be so quick to judge those programs that are trying to help our kids. Let us not lose the message while we argue about the messenger. To paraphrase, "The life that may be spared could be your family member."

Bruce Jones

Decatur Youth Services


Love soldiers even if you hate war


My son, Cpl. Douglas W. Mueller, left Nov. 16 from the Army base at Baumholder, Germany, for a destination somewhere in Iraq. This will be his second deployment there.

You don't necessarily have to agree with our country's involvement in Iraq but could I just remind you of this one thing? Every American soldier in Iraq is a father, mother, sister, brother, grandchild, niece or nephew, aunt or uncle. Their families love them and miss them and we pray every day that they will come home to us alive and well. They didn't create the situation they are in and I know that if they had a choice they would choose to be here at home with their families. The fact is, however, that they joined the military to protect our country and they have simply gone where the military has sent them.

So, whether you agree with our country's involvement or not, please, consider how you would feel if these soldiers were someone you loved and support them accordingly.

Dorothy C. Ryan


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