As we are approaching Memorial Day, many things come to mind. First of all, let’s remember all those who gave their lives to protect our nation in all the conflicts since the American Revolution where we fought for our freedom. Let us also salute all our brave men and women who are now serving today to protect these freedoms as they serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to serving in other parts of the world.
Secondly, what comes to mind is the war against terrorism, something which has changed our nation since the attack upon us on 9-11. It is something that must be rooted out, but also we must find the root causes so that it will not take more human lives. I find myself thinking as we approach Memorial Day, what does it mean to me to be an American?
The answer comes to me and becomes crystal clear and that is the pride in being in a country that allows us our personal freedom and the ability to speak our minds. We may not have the best system, but it is still the greatest in the world.
This freedom does not come without a price, it comes with great sacrifice and devotion to duty. Like former President John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” We have a great opportunity to do for others by volunteering our time to various organizations and also our local churches or temples, wherever there is a need.
We should also volunteer our time and money to the political party of our choice, all this I believe will make America stronger. Remember, we are the people our forefathers spoke of, for America is all about us the people and we need to get involved to truly make America better.
Also, go out on Memorial Day and be part of all that is going on that day including attending parades in our communities and cheering our service men and women and all those who serve well in our community, like EMTs, firemen and policemen who protect us and also try to save our lives.
Remember this also—be all you can be by serving your community.
Frederick Bedell Jr.,
A vote in the House for the withdrawal of the United States from the 148-member World Trade Organization will be held by early June. Five years ago, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) urged his colleagues to support a similar move to take our nation out of this United Nations affiliated pact. Sad to say, this measure was defeated.
Since 2000, when Congress refused to protect the independence of our nation by withdrawing from the WTO, the Geneva, Switzerland-based group has issued rulings against our nation in matters regarding oil importation, cotton subsidies, steel tariffs, even the purchase of bananas. When the WTO threatened to initiate a boycott against United States products because of our tax laws, our leaders altered the laws. The bottom line objection to the WTO is that it is an attack on our national sovereignty, a steppingstone to world government.
Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) lists those who favor remaining in the pact as the “largest multinational corporations in the world, Wall Street, the administration and all the editorial writers in America at all the major papers.”
All members of Congress should be urged to vote yes on H.J. Res. 27, the proposal to have the United States withdraw from the WTO.
The health care system is getting out of control for retired people, workers and there are a lot of people without health care. I hope our elected officials will read this article and maybe we can get an answer.
Do elected officials get free health care, I would love to get an answer from somebody in Washington, D.C.
If it is true, something should be done. Everybody should do their part. I feel our local papers should find out about this. We depend on you to enlighten us.
It is with both a sense of pride and grave concern that we, the Queens Olympic Committee, are taking our issues on the New York City 2012 Olympic bid directly to the IOC in Switzerland.
The pride is in the fact that as New Yorkers we wholeheartedly support our great city’s efforts to be host to the 2012 Olympiad. New York offers unparalleled opportunities for staging one of the greatest Olympic Games of all times. We would be honored to host the games and we are sure our city will more than do honor to the spirit and greatness of the Olympic movement. New York City is one of the only “world-class” cities to have never hosted an Olympics. It is time for New York—home of the United Nations and the whole world’s “second home” to light the Olympic torch.
The QOC is an organization of citizens located in the Borough of Queens (New York’s largest land-area borough with a population of over 2 million residents) and the most ethnically diverse borough of the city of New York and the United States, but with its multitude of nationalities from every place on earth, it is surely the most truly international place on the planet.
Queens played host to the world as the location of New York’s two great international expositions—the 1939-40 and the 1964-65 World’s Fairs. The site of those two historic events (which combined drew over 100 million visitors including presidents, royalty, popes and artists, industries and cultures from around the globe) also served as the first home of the United Nations (1946-50) and it was there—at Flushing Meadows—where the International Declaration of Human Rights was established. Today, Flushing Meadows is a great 1,258-acre park in the very geographic and population center of New York City. The name Flushing Meadows is probably most recognizable today around the world as the home to the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, one of the world’s premier sporting events and New York’s most prestigious annual athletic event attracting visitors and television viewers worldwide.
We (QOC) would be honored and proud to provide the spectacular and singularly most compelling and attractive site for the 2012 Olympic Stadium if New York is awarded the 2012 Games. Queens is already the proposed home for the Olympic Village and a number of other venues in New York’s innovative and attractive bid. In the center of Flushing Meadows is probably the finest symbol for an Olympics, the huge stainless steel globe called the Unisphere, built for the ’64-’65 World’s Fair, and today surrounded by a network of shaded walkways and fountains. It serves as a modern-day symbol of welcome to the millions arriving at Queens’ two great airports, LaGuardia and JFK International, and the ethnic diversity of Queens and New York.
That is the pride we have and the expectation that the IOC will include New York in the list of finalist candidates for the 2012 Games when you meet on July 6th. We regret, however, that we must now express the part of our grave concern that the organizers of New York’s 2012 Olympic bid are making a massive—we’ll use the word “Olympian” error—with regard to the single most important and critical component of their proposal, the main Olympic Stadium. They have chosen and are almost blindly pushing a path that will doom New York’s chances when the IOC analyzes and decides on the final choice next year. The IOC has wisely made controlling the “cost and complexity” of Olympic bids one of your highest priorities. The current New York bid (mostly innovative and compelling) when it comes to the stadium, however, is so costly, so complex, so unpopular, that it is already beginning to cause such controversy in this city that it makes an event designed to promote world harmony so unpopular in its own host community, as to make the whole Olympics in New York a farce and an international embarrassment.
It is with great regret that we, as New Yorkers, are being forced by the NYC2012 organizers to take this case directly to the IOC. But it is critical for you in your final judgment to do the best thing for the Olympic movement. And as New Yorkers we at the QOC feel it is our obligation to wake up the city’s planners to the ultimate folly of their plan for a monstrous stadium on the West Side of Manhattan—a cost-busting urban planning nightmare that not one elected official from its community supports. Every neighborhood and community group opposes it. The community board (the most grass roots level of governmental representation in the city) opposes it. The New York Times, Newsday, the New York Observer and a host of other newspapers throughout the city are against it. The Broadway theater owners oppose it, one of New York’s principal tourism industries. In short, New Yorkers are for the Olympics. But they are vigorously opposed to the arrogant, misguided plan for the central stadium.
So we are speaking out to you in the hope that—while you will keep open New York’s bid for 2012—that the New York Olympic folly will end before it is too late. We are not opposing the event in the “not in our backyard” syndrome. On the contrary, the QOC is saying yes—we want it in our backyard! We have the perfect site, specifically an 80-acre site at Willets Point in Queens directly adjacent to Flushing Meadows, the U.S. Open and Shea Stadium. An area encircled by a multitude of existing highways, mass transit and waterways. An underutilized piece of valuable New York City property that is just waiting to serve. A site that will save New York’s Olympic bid—literally—billions of dollars, countless community protests, opposition and lawsuits. In short, a site that is a proven Host—and Home—to the World.
We are coming back to Europe in July, before your meeting, to present to you a detailed and comprehensive report detailing the fatal flaws of NY’s present stadium plan, a detailed expose of the problems of the financing, the vigorous community, civic, governmental and media opposition. But we will also present the other picture. How New York still has time to reverse its present collision course to failure and turn around the 2012 dream of a New York Olympics and go with the plan that will win our city the gold.
We look forward to presenting our report to you and the press in Europe, the U.S. and the international media and appreciate your consideration of it. We also congratulate you on your efforts to reform and improve the Olympics—a goal we hope New York will eventually prove to be a leader and partner to you.
David Oats, chairman Queens Olympic Committee,
(Editor’s note: This letter was sent to the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland and hand-delivered by Greg Godfrey of Forest Hills.)