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Mailbag: Thanks to veterans' fight for freedom

June 14, 2010

I rarely speak publicly about my military experience in Vietnam because I feel lucky to be one of the soldiers who returned home in one piece and in sound mind.

I was in my early 20s, naive and fresh out of college, when I volunteered for the Army. The politicians called Vietnam a "conflict," but to the soldiers on the ground it was "war." When talking about the war I would say to family and friends that I was a "lover" and never a soldier. When I was discharged, there was no military for me and my comrades-in-arms, as it was just best to blend into society and move on with one's life. I was one of the lucky ones able to make the transition. I knew, on the other hand, many soldiers who came home with limbs gone, drug-addicted and brokenhearted.

About two years ago, I visited the Veterans Hospital in the valley and saw an establishment that made me want to cry. Acres of rundown buildings and landscaping, the complex was old and, because of politics and government neglect, reminded me how lucky I was to have been able to transition to civilian live and live comfortably. At the hospital were hundreds of people with serious problems, being pushed around in wheelchairs, crutches and sadness in their eyes. Why wasn't this county honoring these heroes with an environment that was new and cheerful, not old and neglected?

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Last month in the newspaper, I read where the city of Burbank was honoring a local hero by dedicating a city park in his honor. Cpl. Larry Leonard Maxam had received the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism while serving in Vietnam. I never knew Maxam, but I did something I had never done before. I got involved and went to Pacific Park and became one person in a crowd of hundreds honoring an individual I had never met.

As Memorial Day has just passed, I am reminded every Tuesday evening how lucky I am to be able to appear before my City Council and staff and tell members how I feel on different issues. The other evening was no different for me and, I am sure, for the thousands of other citizens throughout our country doing the same thing.

I approached the speaker's stand and looked right into the eyes of my five elected City Council members. As I made eye contact, I reminded our council members how lucky we all are for all the Maxams who gave their lives so we could be free to disagree.

MIKE MOHILL

Glendale

Rosemont is getting a great principal

I join the chorus of excited parents who are thrilled that Cynthia Livingston has been promoted to the newly vacant position of principal at Rosemont Middle School ("Rosemont taps principal," June 10).

Livingston has been, for over a decade, an outstanding principal and teacher, a community leader and a staunch supporter of her local community businesses in the Montrose Shopping Park and throughout Crescenta Valley.

I was appalled at the innuendoes and outright gossip associated with your reporting of her promotion. There was no need to insult this good woman or imply that the decision was not merit-based.

Perhaps reading a balanced report of the same facts from another news source would teach your reporter a thing or two about journalism.

And proper etiquette.

MAUREEN PALACIOS

Montrose

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