Clearing up confusion over
I would like to clarify some misinformation and misunderstandings that have been expressed recently regarding the proposed Gen. Ben King Memorial Gateway on Kingwood Street, and the Oregon Coast Military Museum (OCMM).
Some of these comments have been expressed in public testimony, some in Letters to the Editor, and some relayed to board members of the museum.
While there are similar goals shared by both the museum and Deeds of Valor, Inc., the memorial’s proponent, they are in fact two separate entities.
And while there are some individuals who are involved in both organizations, and although the museum’s board of directors does endorse the creation of the Memorial Gateway as an enhancement to our museum and its mission, the project is not a museum project.
I am, however, a part of both organizations.
There have been statements of concern regarding display of “weapons such as tanks and missiles.” I want to clarify that Deeds of Valor Inc. has proposed no such thing. It is one of our hopes to be able to display one of the many types of aircraft which Gen. Ben King flew during his distinguished career — which is also appropriate as an entrance to the airport as is done in so many other communities.
In an effort to also honor other disciplines of military service, we may or may not also display other icons of service, such as a Jeep or Coast Guard boat.
One individual expressed dismay that the museum’s “Freedom and Remembrance” wall held bricks in the name of non-veterans, such as businesses.
While the Veterans Memorial Wall on Bay Street was in fact created with the requirement that only veterans be allowed, the museum’s wall was not. It was intended as a display to not only honor those who have served or still serve, it was also intended to allow those who wanted to thank or show their support for our veterans.
It was also intended to be a part of our fundraising effort, without which we would not have been able to build the museum.
I fully appreciate that in any community there will be divergent viewpoints on a number of issues. It is our right to express those viewpoints for which our veterans have served and fought to preserve.
I hope those with viewpoints different from ours will recognize our right to honor our veterans with expressions we deem appropriate.
Executive Director OCMM
Larger concerns about education
I have read with interest the Letters to the Editor concerning whether or not it is advisable to build a new high school in Florence. As a retired teacher with more than 40 years of teaching experience, I would like to add my perspective to the discussion. I would agree that a new high school should be built to give the students of the Siuslaw School District the best opportunity for success.
Nothing will be gained by bashing teachers and the public school system, nor by educators telling the general public that they are not qualified to voice their concerns. Whether or not to build a new high school is not the issue. I believe there is a larger concern, which is that the educational system in the United States needs a major overhaul.
The present structure was developed for a different time, social reality and work place. It is based on an 18th century calendar, a 19th century curriculum and 20th century technology attempting to prepare students for the new and rapidly changing demands of the work environment in the 21st century.
The adult population in Florence who went through the public educational system from the 1950s to the 1980s must realize that when they graduated from high school they had the necessary skills to find a good paying job that would allow them to raise a family.
This is not true today and it is not because teachers are not doing their jobs or demanding excellence from their students. Educators must be willing to accept the fact that supporting an educational structure that does not prepare their students for the demands of today’s society is infuriating to the general public that is being asked to accept an increase in their taxes.
The $40 million to $50 million investment to build a new high school is only a down payment to insure a stable future for ourselves and future generations. However, building a new school will not solve the problems with the educational system.
We need to work on making the changes that are necessary so our students are truly prepared to meet the demands of the 21st century workplace.
There is not enough room here to fully discuss these important issues and challenges.
I am very interested in the discussions which need to take place regarding the changes that need to be made.
Timothy J. Tuttle
Thankful for support from
Ladies of Elks
The veterans, volunteers and Board of Directors of South Willamette Valley Honor Flight would like to take a moment and thank the Florence Ladies of Elks for its financial donation in support of Honor Flight.
The Ladies of Elks donation means that more veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War will be able to experience their memorials. They will also get to experience the love and appreciation the citizens of the U.S. have for them as they are thanked, have their hands shaken and more than a few of them will get hugs and kisses.
The entire Florence community has been supportive of South Willamette Valley Honor Flight and we appreciate that.
Please keep sending your veterans to experience their own personal Honor Flight.
SWV Honor Flight