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This week I expect to see a big deal made in the national media about the fact that it has been 40 years since the famous Woodstock festival, Aug. 15-18, 1969. For those too young to know about this, it was a four-day event at Bethel, N.Y., (40 miles from Woodstock) showcasing what many of us thought was wrong with our society: the drug culture, irresponsible sex, anything goes, and "me" before anything else. An estimated 400,000 people attended.
Our national media gave this event a great deal of coverage, much of it quite sympathetic. Time magazine wrote of this gathering: "It may well rank as one of the significant political and sociological events of the age." It deplored the three deaths that occurred there, one from a heroin overdose. In the same article it referred to a "meaningless war in the jungles of Southeast Asia."
While Woodstock was getting this type of coverage, there was fierce fighting going on in Vietnam. We learned later that in exactly the same four-day period in Vietnam that 109 American soldiers lost their lives. This was barely reported in our media.
I had returned from Vietnam just before Woodstock. I did not understand then, and do not today, the relative value that our media places on different news. In my mind, Woodstock was a miserable footnote to our history in the '60s. The real news was that more than 500,000 brave Americans were in Vietnam trying to turn the tide of communism.
I write this to give the 109 Americans who died in Vietnam during the Woodstock festival the recognition they did not get in 1969. They were heroes, and the media barely reported it.
I see many parallels today. The press gives sparse attention to the positive things that are happening in Iraq and Afganistan. About all we get is the grim daily body count. Our brave military people are accomplishing great things and we are rarely told about them by the national media. Our military personnel are paying a great deal to defend our way of life. We need to appreciate them and be thankful.
Kudos to Lumpkin and Hall Counties for the way they are supporting our service members today. Packages are being sent, rallies are being held for our wounded warriors and support and gratitude are being expressed to our resident military personnel and to their families. Kudos also to The Dahlonega Nugget, The Times and other local newspapers for letting us know about these good things that are going on.
Again, as you hear about Woodstock, remember what you read here. One hundred nine good Americans died in Vietnam while Woodstock was going on. They are the ones we should be remembering, not the hippies of Woodstock.
Gary R. Steffey
Both sides are to blame for ugly health care fight
A pox on both political parties for the ugly turn the debate over health care reform has taken.
The Democrats tried to hurry a bill through with no debate and the Republicans are doing everything they can think of to scare the American people into believing that all changes they didn't propose are bad.
It seems ridiculous to me for President Barack Obama to claim that he will cover an additional 40 to 50 million people with health care insurance and still reduce health care costs as a part of his economic recovery plan. As a side note, who are these uninsured people?
I would also like to see the trickery of the "doughnut hole" eliminated. Tricky wording implies that the hole is from $2,700 to $4,350. It is not: Instead of it starting at $2,700, it starts at the amount of money you have paid out of pocket when your out-of-pocket costs plus the insurance company's cost reaches $2,700.
In my case, my "doughnut hole" is from $631 to $4,350. I just do not understand the need for such trickery from our government or from the pharmacy companies.
The best reform I have heard of is for all government officials to be covered by the same plans they decide is right for the American people with no trickery allowed.