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Tragedy brought out best of Chattanooga says an appreciative WWII, Korean War vet

As a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, I want to express my appreciation for our mayor, police chief, sheriff and all those who serve under them for their outstanding service during this terrible tragedy that hit our city. I am proud to live in Chattanooga these past 45 years. There are many others who served, and the world now knows why we were selected as an outstanding city.

To all of those who lost loved ones, our prayers go out to you and your families. We will never forget the sacrifice of your loved ones and your family. God bless all of you.

Rev. Tom Crews

Vet bowled over by patriotism

On July 24, I came to Chattanooga from Memphis with a dozen friends to participate in the funeral of Sgt. David Wyatt, USMC, one of the five service members killed on July 16. 

As an active member of the Patriot Guard Riders we were invited to participate. To the family of Sgt. Wyatt, I offer my deepest condolences for your loss, along with my thanks and appreciation for inviting us. 

To the people of Chattanooga, I was amazed at the outpouring of patriotism, love and support for this family. Many of you braved the heat to line the streets and pay homage to this hero. It was truly an awe-inspiring display, and I thank you, Chattanooga. 

You have a wonderful city, and although this visit was my first, I can assure you it will not be my last.

Matthew M. Stauch, Oakland, Tenn. 

Remove Jackson from $20 bill

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment mentioned in the "Democrats begin debate about Jackson's Legacy" report in Wednesday's Times Free Press. 

If we apply the same standards to Andrew Jackson we are now applying to Nathan Bedford Forrest, Jackson's picture will be removed from the $20 bill. Jackson was not only a slave owner, but it has been written that he was a cruel one. 

He had Indian slaves/employees working for him in the White House during his tenure as president, and I have read that he also treated them without respect. 

It can justifiably be argued that Jackson was the worst racist to ever be president. He was also the instigator in the forced removal of the Cherokees and other Indian tribes from their homelands in the Southeast to Oklahoma. 

If we want to put Harriett Tubman, or any number of deserving black Americans (George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, among others), on currency, the $20 bill is just the place to do it.

Johnny Parks, Ringgold, Ga.

Proud Southerner defends flag

David Cook's commentaries are usually thoughtful and are always well written. I greatly admire his ability to use the English language with persuasive effect. However, I find his column on "surrendering" the Confederate flag to be needlessly demeaning. It nearly suggests that all Southerners who support flying the Confederate battle flag are knuckle-dragging racists. The column only adds to the feelings of mistrust and anger that have exploded over the flag issue.

I proudly identify as a Southerner. I consider myself to be a liberal politically, though I take the opposite view on some issues. I am a strong supporter of the individual's right to keep and bear arms. And I support the flying of the Confederate flag in public places, including government buildings and cemeteries. 

To me, the Confederate flag honors the courage of thousands of Confederate soldiers who fought to protect their homes and families. My family was divided by the Civil War. My East Tennessee ancestors fought for the North; my Middle Tennessee ancestors fought for the South. I wish to see the flags of both flying publicly to recognize the loyalties and sacrifices of both.

Phil Smith, Soddy-Daisy

Editorial full of 'junk opinion'

Regarding the July 7 Free Press "Junk Science" editorial about bees:

" The problem is, the number of hives in Europe is increasing, and the number of bees lost annually is unchanged, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations."This is disingenuous, as on further reading, in the fourth paragraph titled Trends, "Every continent, except for Antarctica, has reports of pollinator declines in at least one region/country. The losses of pollination services have been well documented in many specific instances." (There are no bees in the Antarctic.)

"In the United States, honeybees in general and the number of honey-producing hives specifically, are increasing, according to the Department of Agriculture." I would suggest the opinion writer research the usda website about honeybee and hive numbers, as the USDA disagrees. 

The writer needs to be careful about his statements, otherwise he may be regarded as having "junk opinions."

Bob Hulse, Lookout Mountain, Tenn. 

Why is Islam so protected?

The article "Four misconceptions about the Chattanooga shooting" (July 23) neglected to report the biggest misconception: denying Abdulazeez was radicalized before the attacks and that he is just a "homegrown violent extremist." From all appearances, both the press and FBI have whitewashed earlier stances where he was reported as a terrorist. 

Don't think people don't see the spin tactics of politically correct voodoo when the said murderer is compared to Dylann Roof, who is continuously referred to as a racist white supremacist. 

It's implied these killings must be permitted as a cost absorbed by a free and open society. Meanwhile, hostile measures continue to be taken across the United States to rid us of this so-called wicked banner, the Confederate flag, which has caused so many to commit sin in the name of hate. 

All the while, the Army warns recruiters to report armed citizens, fearing some associate with activist groups or militias but not this one. This is the sacred cow of political correctness. Why is it that the religion of Islam must be protected at any cost? 

Stacy M. Griffin, Evensville, Tenn.

How can we avoid 'lone wolves'?

As I have talked with other Chattanoogans over the past 10 days, I have struggled with how to deal with my feelings toward the Muslim community. As Americans, we take pride in our young people who volunteer to train and serve our country to protect us in times of war and in times of peace. 

With the rise of the Islamic State and the threat it poses to our way of life and our very lives, how do we go about our daily business knowing there are Muslims in our community who may mean us harm? How can we feel safe again knowing we provided a haven for the shooter as he attended college here then, supposedly, became a "lone wolf" who punched us in the gut.

It is time to call this evil out for what it is: On July 16, five of our finest young American men were slaughtered by a radical Islamic terrorist. Period.

Linda A. Grounds

If you don't like it, you can leave it

In response to a Monday letter to the editor. A typical Yankee mindset. The flag is my "heritage" and my ancestors didn't own slaves. The Emancipation Proclamation wasn't enacted until Jan. 1, 1863. Why not in 1861? The Morrill Tariff Act —and taxing the Southern states 80 percent over it — was the final straw. Maybe the letter writer should move back up North if he doesn't like our flag and our heritage.

Steve Marcrom, Cookeville, Tenn.

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