Respect real meaning of Memorial Day

Re: the May 23. article “Memorial Day events.”

I was surprised with the lack of respect our fallen heroes receive on Memorial Day.

Other than the American Legion, Amvets, the VFW, a few cemeteries and a University of Arizona event that was it.

I personally think it means more than grilling hamburgers and hot dogs.

These young men and women gave the ultimate for us to make this day a party out of what should have been a peaceful day of graditude for our fallen.

But for those that honored the day, thank you for remembering the real Memorial Day.

David Stewart

Retired, Tucson

Teacher leaves a legacy of influence

Re: May 23 article “A half-century of advice: Swaim always there for Wildcat athletes.”

I would like to thank Greg Hansen for his well-written piece on Donna Swaim.

Donna has also been a living legend among her humanities students. She has taught thousands of us over the last 50 years the importance of humanities in our daily lives, and how the threads of our unique lives bond us together into a wonderful tapestry on this shared earth.

Somehow Donna has come to know each of her students individually in an effortless and magical way. You did not have to be a college basketball star to be important to Donna. Some of her most influential work was done within the prison system.

If Donna were to have a single legacy, it would be that every student she taught would count her as the finest and most influential teacher in their lives. She is still teaching me 35 years after taking her classes.

Michael Duperret

Student of Donna Swaim’s, Tucson

Underfunded CPS asked to do impossible

Re: the May 25 editorial “A clean slate on child welfare: Let’s get it right.”

The piece was right on target in saying the state legislature effectively failed “to protect and care for neglected and abused children.”

A severely underfunded Child Protective Services was asked to do the impossible. Cases assigned to workers were two-thirds above the national standards. Pay was stagnant, paperwork beyond burdensome; technology outdated or nonexistent. Already significantly overburdened, their funds were cut by nearly one-third during the recession, which shows you once again, when it comes to the poor and disadvantaged, Republican pols have little sympathy.

The blame for the thousands of uninvestigated cases lies not with the scapegoated CPS workers, but with the state Legislature, plain and simple.

Governor Brewer has realized the folly of her ways and, to her credit, is trying to make amends. Let’s hope the state Legislature follows suit.

Phineas Anderson

Retired school administrator, Tucson

Climate researchers not driven by money

Re: May 26 letter “‘Climate change’ reeks of politics.”

Darrel Thayne has convinced himself that the thousands of scientists worldwide who are documenting the effects of global climate change are all mercenaries, bending their research to get funding.

I’m sure Thayne won’t believe me, but as a former program officer at the National Science Foundation, I can assure that that’s not how research funding works. Reviewers evaluating research proposals look for well-designed research plans on significant topics and for evidence that the researcher is well-prepared to undertake the work, not for predetermined conclusions about the results of the research.

In fact, if there are any financial incentives in this business, they are in the opposite direction. Riches far beyond what any funding agency could provide would flow from a grateful fossil-fuels industry to any scientist who could conclusively demonstrate that global climate change isn’t happening, or at least isn’t caused by human activity. So far nobody has managed to claim that prize.

Paul Chapin

Retired, Tucson

VA problems don’t apply to Tucson

I firmly believe it would be a grave error to ask Erik Shinseki to resign at this time as head of the VA. He is the only one who is completely aware of the procedures in running the VA hospitals. Let him straighten out the problems first and then if the President feels he is unqualified to be in charge, ask him to resign.

The problems at the VA concern certain facilities. There are many others that perform professionally and with excellent results. My experience with the Tucson VA is one of the best I have ever had. The doctors, nurses and staff are exceptional. My care given by these people is the best there is. They have taken excellent care of me, guided my health care with professionalism and consideration.

The doctors and staff literally saved my life when I had a massive heart attack while hiking in Madera Canyon. Without actions of the Green Valley Fire Department and the wonderful care I received at the Tucson VA, I would not be here today. The best decision I have ever made since moving to Arizona was registering with the Tucson VA.

John Brant

Retired, Green Valley

Pope encourages much-needed peace

Re: the May 26 article “Pope expresses support for Palestinians on visit.”

I was heartened by the front page article on the pope’s visit to the Holy Land.

I agree with Pope Francis that the long-standing hostilities must cease, and that both sides must make sacrifices to create two states with internationally recognized borders. I hope and pray that both (the Israeli and Palestinian) presidents will be accompanied on their Vatican visit by moderate clerics who will join this prayerful dialog — a dialog that will pave the way to peace between both nations.

John Newport

Author and speaker, Tucson