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Saturday Parade Excludes Some Veterans
November 10, 2002

I am writing to express the dismay of the Hartford-Laurel Post No.45 of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States at being excluded from Saturday's Connecticut Veterans Day Parade and attendant celebration.

The Jewish War Veterans of the United States is the oldest veterans' organization in the nation, having been founded in 1898, and predates the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

More than 3 million Jews served willingly and with great sacrifice and distinction in World War II in the defense of this great nation. Tens of thousands more followed in the many military actions since then.

The parade planning committee has been well aware for years that we of the JWV are not permitted, either by conscience or by our national JWV policy, to participate in this kind of activity because it is being held on our Sabbath, thereby denying us the public recognition to which we feel we are entitled.

Because Veterans Day is officially observed on Monday, why would it not have been possible to hold the festivities on that day, which could have made it possible for us to participate with all of our comrades?

Elliott Donn, Windsor

The writer is a past post commander of the Hartford-Laurel Post No.45 of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States.

Photo Seemed Disrespectful

The story of high maternal and infant mortality in Afghanistan could have been told without a photograph that included the exposed breast of an Afghan woman [Page A3, Nov. 8, "Against The Odds, Six Hours And Hoping"].

I hope the photographer had the woman's permission to publish such a photo. It seemed inappropriate and disrespectful to me, given the extreme modesty practiced by Afghan women and the lack of respect for women in the Afghan culture.

Kerry Eaton, Southington

No Political Statement In Obituary

I would like to clarify something in "Death Notices, Politics Mixed" [Connecticut, Nov. 7]. I never said that I submitted the obituary for Shaden Abu Hijleh "as a political statement."

I looked up the word "political" in the dictionary and found:

1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with politics.

2. exercising or seeking power in the government or public affairs of a state, municipality, etc.: a political party.

3. of, pertaining to, or involving the state or its government.

4. having a definite policy or system of government

5. of or pertaining to citizens: political rights.

Although I guess it's a question of interpretation, I don't think any of those definitions fit my intention in placing the obituary.

I did it because I was so profoundly moved by the story of Shaden Abu Hijleh's life and the tragedy of her death in what should have been the comfort and safety of her own home. I also want people to know that this kind of killing is happening under Israel's illegal military occupation of Palestine, which is now in its 34th year. It's illegal according to more than 60 U.N. resolutions and international law.

Thanks to the response of the local Zionist community, many people all over the world have now heard Shaden Abu Hijleh's story instead of only Courant readers. I've received dozens of e-mails of support from all over our country, from a number of countries in the Middle East, including Israel, from Europe, North Africa and Australia.

Gale Courey Toensing, Canaan

Why Allow Premium Increase?

What's going on in the Connecticut Insurance Department?

On Nov. 5, I read that Anthem Blue Cross won approval to raise premiums 4 percent to 7 percent for Medicare HMO clients [Connecticut, "Costs To Rise For `Medigap' And Medicare HMO"]. In the Business section of the same day's newspaper, I saw a bold headline that read: "Profits Up 54 Percent At Anthem For Quarter."

If Anthem Inc. is that prosperous, is a raise in premiums warranted?

Joseph J. Soltys, Storrs

Don't Fault Mentally Ill For All Problems

We agree with Dr. Joel B. Levine [Other Opinion, Nov. 1, "Why Don't We Act Before The Shooting Starts?"] that resources to adequately treat the mentally ill are not sufficient, but we are concerned that readers are left with the idea that mental illness and violence are inevitably linked.

It is important to remember that the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent - the proportion of violence caused by those with mental illness is very small.

We support increased funding for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, but we take issue with Levine's broad generalization that such resources are all that is necessary to cure society's ills.

People with mental illness are not the reason we live in an increasingly violent world.

Michael A. Norko, M.D., President
Connecticut Psychiatric Society, Bloomfield

Church Should Focus On Bigger Issues

"Catholics Asked To Oppose Same-Sex Unions" [news story, Nov. 2] reported that Catholic churches in Connecticut were circulating a petition to oppose any change in the state's marriage laws.

With all the problems in our state, it is unfathomable that Connecticut's Catholic leadership believes that extending the rights and protections of civil marriage to gay couples is the most pressing issue facing our General Assembly.

Here, in the wealthiest state in the nation, too many people are homeless or lack access to quality health care. The child poverty rate is a disgrace, as is the lack of mental health services for children and adults.

Same-sex couples that have made lifetime commitments are being denied access to state-sanctioned, state-financed rights of civil marriage. We are trying not to change the definition of what marriage means but to eliminate discriminatory access.

The Catholic Church has every right to refuse to marry a couple who do not meet its requirements for religious marriage. Expanding Connecticut's marriage laws to include same-sex couples would not change that. The church does not marry people who have been divorced, even though divorced people can be legally married under Connecticut law. The same will also be true of same-sex couples once we are able to legally marry.

If marriage is a good thing for heterosexual couples, why is it not equally good for same-sex couples?

Anne E. Stanback, President
Love Makes A Family, Avon

Love Makes A Family is an advocacy group working to expand Connecticut's marriage laws to include same-sex couples.

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