Union Democrat staff

Pearl Harbor


To the Editor:

As the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor nears I have strong memories of that day and the events from then to the end of World War II. Comparing what's happening in our country today to that time I have to wonder what's happened to our country.

That attack pulled this country together in a way I've not seen since. Not even 9/11 had the same effect as the attack on Pearl Harbor. The term "home front" was coined to show what happened at home was critical to supporting actions on the battle fronts. It was effective. People all across the country willingly participated in a rationing program of everyday items, they recycled many things, and recycling was not done before. And everyone made an all out effort to support the war effort. There was a national cohesion, a sense of we're all Americans, not Republican, not Democrat, not Liberal, not Conservative, just Americans.

I don't wish another war, but I do wish we had that national unity today. I think we're so divided that if we had another Pearl Harbor there would be a large group who'd say that's Hawaii's problem, we're not involved, let them take care of it. What passes for acceptable behavior today is so full of vitriol toward others who don't share our view nothing seems to get done that's in the best interest of all of us.

Bill Dorffi


An army of veterans

To the Editor:

Thank you for giving Beth Barnes, Michelle McMaster, and Vicki Sides, the recognition they so richly deserve in your article on Nov. 10. Beth is currently on medical leave and it is rumored she may be retiring after having served thousands of veterans during her long career. That could mean that Michelle will be the sole representative and it is my understanding that Vicki's position is "temporary".

As you pointed out, there are about 10,000 veterans living in Tuolumne County. That is about 20 percent of the county's population and does not include the veterans immediate family. The positive impact these public servants have on the veterans they serve, and the county, is immeasurable.

When you walk into the Veteran's Service Office, you are greeted with a big smile and the outgoing personality of Vicki. She has proven to be a tremendous asset to the office and a great assistant to Michelle. Michelle does not view her position as a job, it is her passion. She takes a personal interest in every veteran who enters her office. Michelle always provides services far beyond her job description. The veterans in Tuolumne County are blessed to have Beth, Michelle, and Vicki working tirelessly ensuring they receive the benefits they have earned.

Civic leaders make patriotic speeches proclaiming their appreciation and support for veterans and those who are currently serving in the military. I sincerely hope they will honor their words, support the Veterans Affairs Office, and make Vicki's job a full time position.

Ed Martin, LCDR USN, ret.