I would like to commend everyone (especially Friends of the Park) and all who took part in the wonderful celebration.
It was the first time since 2004 that "Pops in the Park" was held at Wilder Tower. The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera was "the most beautiful ever." The patriotic songs bought tears to my eyes. I am a veteran, and I love my country.
The lady standing next to me said: "Why don't they play Dixie? I couldn't help but laugh. Now I am a Southern boy, but I told her: "We don't want to start another war!" Ha! That made my day. I had a wonderful time.
I met a lot of good Yankees and good Rebels, too. I couldn't help but notice that people still stand and put their hand on their heart when a patriotic song is played.
God bless America.
PHILIP OSBORNE JR., East Ridge
The national parks are, or for the most part could be, self-supporting through admission fees. Last year I visited Grand Canyon National Park. There is a $25 admission fee per car before you enter, and campers pay a fee for their campsites. Let's say 1,000 attend the park in a given day (which is probably a conservative number). That is $25,000 of revenue for that day. Are their expenses more than that in a day? Do they have to turn the lights on in the canyon? Do they have to turn the pump on to keep the Colorado River flowing? No. The parks are being used to put a face on the shutdown because it is one of the few tangible ways politicians can make citizens mistakenly jump to the conclusion: "Wow, we really need the federal government." Citizens should demand the parks be open now with a fee to enter. They are our parks not tools to be used by politicians who can't run a fiscally responsible government.
DANIEL STREET SAWYER, Signal Mountain
I have great admiration for the courage of House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican caucus in their efforts to stop Obamacare. They knew they were going against the president and his legions of sympathizers in the mainstream media. They knew they were going to be blamed for the shutdown but have taken a stand on principle against this job-killing, dependence-creating, abomination to democracy, ironically called the Affordable Care Act.
I join them in their revulsion to this existential threat to our republic, rammed down our throat by parliamentary malfeasance, and upheld by the unbelievable legal gymnastics of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. I have supported their efforts to repeal, replace, defund, and finally delay the implementation because of the long-term ramifications to our budget and social order.
I now believe the time has come to allow and insist on full implementation including the employer mandate on Jan. 1, 2014. Obama cynically implemented the best parts of the law before his re-election and has delayed the worst until after the 2014 midterms. I recently read a quote to paraphrase Ulysses S. Grant, "The best way to ensure the repeal of a bad law is to enforce it vigorously."
CRAIG THEBERGE, Hixson
I have just returned home after being out of town for a few days and thought I'd sit down and look over the last several issues of the Times Free Press. I had forgotten how laborious it has become to read through the paper since the new format changes. The majority of each page is now filled with ads. It is definitely not an easy task to find the news articles. I am sure that someone somewhere high up in your organization is convinced that this new layout works wonderfully in newspapers across the country and will revolutionize the Chattanooga news world, bring us in line with the other grand city newspapers all the while increasing advertising revenue.
I finally gave up trying to scan the pages of the last four days of the newspaper and tossed them all into the recycling bin. I have wondered the past several years if the Chattanooga Times Free Press has developed a death wish. A death wish is the only explanation that I can come up with when trying to figure out the recent actions of the newspaper.
SANDRA STUEMER, Lookout Mountain, Ga.