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Sept. 16 Letters to the Editor

Tolerance and sense

I’ll never forget where I was and what I was doing when the horrible news reached me on Sept. 11, 2001.

What have we learned from this tragedy? Do we yet know the difference between tolerance and common sense? I wonder because of the recent controversy over building a mosque within a couple hundred feet of ground zero.

I don’t hate Muslims, but I certainly hate what the extremist, terrorist Muslims have been doing to us for years, 9-11 being the most egregious. In my opinion, erecting an “Islamic Center” that close to where the twin towers once stood would cause far more pain for all of us.

Those who want this mosque show a complete lack of sensitivity, and going ahead with it would be a slap in the face to our country. I believe it would be comparable to erecting a monument to Timothy McVeigh next to the site where the federal building once stood in Oklahoma City.

We must recognize who our enemies are and not reward them for what they’ve done to us. This isn’t hatred but simply good, common sense. Common sense says that we should be able to disagree with someone without being accused of being hateful or racist. If we’re not careful, we’ll “politically correct” ourselves right out of our freedoms and our sovereignty.

I long to see America remain the strongest and greatest nation ever, and I’ll do my part to make sure that happens. We must never be afraid to stand up for what’s right!

Rosalie Welch-Johnson



Bog walk reborn

As most know, the Orono Bog Boardwalk was heavily damaged by vandals over Labor Day weekend. Our first reaction was shock and anger and then sadness that someone could do such a thing.

In the days after the crime, a group of regular boardwalk volunteers and other community members have repaired most of the damage. Under the direction of our maintenance supervisor, Phil Locke, they have done a wonderful job. Volunteers fixed 18 broken deck boards and seven railings, reattached six interpretative stations, cleaned up the cabin and repaired the splintered door jam, straightened metal signs, reconstructed four benches and completed other important repairs.

The Bangor Daily News — through its stories and the excellent photos by John Clarke Russ — and local television and radio stations have done a fantastic job in telling the story.

The outpouring of community support has been tremendous.

Monetary contributions from Bangor Savings Bank and many others and the offers of help from so many have shown that the boardwalk is a treasured resource in our community.

The boardwalk reopened Sept. 9. The boardwalk management team, volunteer staff and our student intern thank the community for their outpouring of support. We look forward to seeing you at the boardwalk.

Jim Bird

Orono Bog Boardwalk Director



A proposed speech

Right now, we are sorely in need of leadership from our president. If I may be so bold, here is a statement I believe the president should make, soon.

“Starting today, the policy of the United States of America will be to respect Islam and renounce terrorism. Just as we do not attribute the racism of the Ku Klux Klan to Christianity, we will not attribute the terrorism of al-Qaida or the Taliban to Islam. Just as we do not call the KKK a Christian hate group, we will not call al-Qaida or the Taliban or any other such group Islamic terrorists. Just as we do not use the expression ‘Christian racism,’ we will not use the expression ‘Islamic terrorism.’

“We will continue to recognize that some terrorists use elements of Islam for their purposes. What we will not do is assume that terrorism is somehow inherent to Islam itself. We will not treat every follower of Islam as a potential terrorist, just as we do not treat every Christian as a potential violent racist. People are innocent until proven guilty, and if they are found guilty, it will be on account of their actions, not their religious associations.

“The American way is not merely tolerance of religion, it is freedom of religion. We will respect Islam. And, we renounce terrorism. We will neither condone nor practice terrorism.”

When the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero became an issue, President Barack Obama missed an opportunity to speak about this with courageous leadership. Maybe it’s not too late.

Rev. David Paul Henry



Maine can do better

I recently heard on the news that Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage said that if he were governor when President Barack Obama vacationed in our state this past summer, that he would have told him to “get out of my state.”

I feel this type of disrespect borders on hatred and bigotry. There are four other candidates running for our state’s highest office this November.

I urge all Mainers to think seriously before casting their vote on Nov. 2. Maine can do better.

Stan Short

Bar Harbor


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