On Veterans Day, entering the grocery store I noticed “The Star-Spangled Banner” playing. Tables were set with finger sandwiches, chips, dips, and cake was being distributed by store personnel dressed in patriotic gear.
As I shopped, the anthem kept playing on a loop. After the fourth repetition, I explained to a store employee when the anthem was playing, shouldn’t we stop our activity, remove our hats, place a hand over our heart and focus on our flag in contemplation of the service of our active and veteran servicemen and women?
The national anthem is not background music and deserves to be treated with respect instead of promoting in-store specials. As I watched football this weekend, it struck me how the veteran’s brand has become a marketing opportunity on the backs of our servicemen and women.
The intention to honor veterans is honorable. Making “The Star-Spangled Banner” into a commercial vehicle is far from honorable.
GLENN KELLY, LEANDER
Nov. 15 commentary, “What if Sutherland Springs had no ‘good guy with a gun’?”
In their editorial, Jim Henson and Joshua Blank have repeated the NRA fairy tale that a “good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun,” which is the NRA’s primary ideology of how to suppress gun violence.
Basically, they believe that armed vigilantes will protect everyone from mass murder. But that belief is totally wrong. In Sutherland Springs, the hero came too late. Where was he when the gunman was shooting up the inside of the church? The hero reacted like most anyone would have — it took him time to figure out what was going on.
Yes, someone shot back, but 26 people still died. So, the intervention probably saved the 27th life, but the shooting still occurred. Imagine how many would have died if the madman did not have a gun at all.
RONALD KOLDA, ROUND ROCK
Confederaphobia is running rampant in Austin.
University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves removed statues from the campus. Gov. Jim Hogg wasn’t even a Confederate. Austin Mayor Steve Adler boycotted and insulted veterans because he hates things Confederate. The Austin school board is changing the names of schools with ties to the Confederacy; the effort is projected to cost more than $300,000.
Some want to change the names of streets because they are named after Confederates — more wasted taxpayer money. The people advocating these actions need to go somewhere else if they don’t like the way things are.
JERRY GOODRICH, CEDAR PARK
In the short year that he has been president, Donald Trump has: engendered unprecedented divisiveness; emboldened the most petty and self-interested political strategies; injected unnecessary chaos and uncertainty into our health care system; damaged substantially American and global efforts to protect the environment; eschewed progress in consumer protection; surrendered our country’s position as the model and leader of reasonable world conduct; and turned us into the world’s pained laughing stock.
The most recent elections demonstrate that, apart from Trump’s myopic core constituency, the country is waking up. We are no longer willing to treat all of this as an inevitable and unstoppable nightmare. The Republican Party has a unique opportunity to regain its role as a responsible and influential voice in American politics. Will it rise to the occasion or succumb to the enveloping darkness that is the current administration?
PATRICK H. CANTILO, AUSTIN