People’s column

Destroyer crew deserves credit

Editor, OBSERVER:

I have just returned from a trip to Vietnam and have been reading about a conflict that I knew very little about. In a book named “American Boys” by Louise Esola, I learned of the sinking of an American destroyer named the USS Frank E. Evans, which was sliced in half by an Australian aircraft carrier off the shore of Vietnam. The destroyer had been supporting our troops in Vietnam by shelling strategic areas. Seventy-four sailors were killed in this operation. Because they were offshore, their names were never included on the Viet Nam memorial in Washington. This group included three brothers – whatever happened to the resolution that brothers could not serve on the same ship after the Sullivan brothers died in World War II?

One of the boys who died, Terry Lee Henderson, was from Westfield.

A Vietnam veteran performed a song in Mayville on May 16 honoring shipmates who died in the collision. The venue for his song, “Recognition” was Big Inlet Brewing, one of the owners being Randy Henderson, brother of Terry Lee, who died in the collision.

The problem seems to be that this ship was not actually in the “Area of Operation,” however, they were supporting the troops who were in that area.

I urge you to write your congresspersons in Albany and Washington to correct this injustice. The names of those boys must be added to the memorial!

KATHRYN JOHNSON,

Brocton

Plastic ban needs support

Editor, OBSERVER:

Earth Day is annual holiday designated to support environmental protection. Imagine my surprise and dismay to see comments from three local elected Republican officials criticizing the New York state plastic bag ban. None of the three quoted officials seem to grasp extent of damage caused by plastic bags. Litter is one of the many problems but it goes well beyond “a plastic bag floating down the street.”

The EPA estimates that 80% of plastic found in oceans begins as land-based trash which is single use plastic. Unless we take steps now, in 30 years there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish.

Recycling plastic is not necessarily a solution as the market has been slow to develop uses for recycled plastic. And plastic does not biodegrade so plastic put in a landfill stays plastic in a landfill.

It is a mystery why not one of the politicians quoted suggested keeping reusable bags in your car. It seems a simple solution — always available, nothing for landfill and no added expense to either the store or the consumer.

JOANNE KELLEY,

Fredonia

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