There was everything; perfect weather, Civil War re-enactors from around the country, including Gettysburg, battle scenes, a court martial, a real old time religious service, a tour of the camp where tents were set up with artifacts of the Civil War, and men dressed as Yanks and Rebs, and a doctor's tent where the crude instruments of the era were used to tend the wounds and sever infected arms and legs. A Drum and Fife group of the 20th Maine brought lively music and toe tapping to those present.
There was everything, except only a handful of local residents in attendance. Why?
Is it because we take for granted what is nearby with the attitude, "We can see it anytime?"
I remember when I was a teacher in a local school asking my students "How many of you have been to Niagara Falls?" Not one hand went up. When I was a youngster living on Long Island, my mother took me by train to New York City to see the Rocketts perform at Radio City Music Hall, however we never went out to the Statue of Liberty.
Here was an opportunity for our children to witness a live history lesson. Also, how many of our politicians, policemen and firemen were there?
Happily I saw city Mayor Anthony J. Dolce and his family enjoying the events.
Next year, transportation should be provided to seniors living at home or in a facility. They would enjoy the events as they themselves are a part of past history.
ROSAMOND GILLESPIE BURNS,
Making safety a priority
Let's take a look back in time back in the 1970s. Almost each village and city had their own law enforcement agency. Crime rates were very low.
Since that time, many villages have opted out of having their own police departments, to which now only six or seven do. The crime rate has risen through the roof and what has the county executive and County Legislature done about it?
County Executive Greg Edwards evidently doesn't care about our public safety at the rate he has cut the Sherriff's Department. Response time in places that don't have their own police department is around 45 minutes to an hour. Is this acceptable? Not hardly.
Is it the police department's fault? Not at all, seeing how positions have been eliminated and even with help from the state police. And worse, the county legislature has no problem with this either except they want to keep cutting it further than Mr. Edwards.
The second part of public safety is maintaining county roads. It was just a short two years ago that the county didn't have the funds to plow and salt roads during the winter. Is this acceptable as well?
According to the county legislature and Mr. Edwards, it is. Both have no problem cutting funding for public safety but at the same time have no problem raising property taxes through the roof.
Change in leadership and direction is a must. Is the candidate you are backing in the county executive race doing or saying anything about it? I may have missed forcing a primary by a few signatures, but it hasn't stopped me from trying to get on the ballot via independent petition. If you are a registered voter who hasn't signed a petition, I urge you to sign my petition for county executive.
Public safety is a priority in my candidacy, not a "what if."
EDWARD KURTZ Jr.,