MEMORIAL DAY

Make it every day

As a combat veteran I often hear people say: "Happy Memorial Day." Although the sentiment is very appreciated, for combat veterans, Memorial Day is every day. Not a single day goes past when we do not think of our fellow service members who sacrificed all their tomorrows in the line of duty to our country.

This day is set aside to honor them all. They paid the ultimate price for our liberty and freedom. They did so regardless of their politics, religion or ethnic persuasion. It is fitting that we honor them and their families on this sacred day. Bless them all.

JOE REPYA, EAGAN

PHOTO COP

Free to break the law

Fifteen thousand camera-shy red-light runners are going to receive $2.6 million, have their violations erased from their driving records and a letter sent to their auto insurance providers. I wonder how many companies, now that they know who they are, will want to write coverage for red-light runners.

Just a suggestion to these drivers: Don't spend your $142 refund; save it for a future red-light run. Because of the way you insist on driving, many of you will be ticketed without the aid of Photo Cop, a traffic-violation deterrent that should have been allowed to survive.

JAMES D. LYNN, BURNSVILLE

$15 A BAG

Don't stop there

I could only marvel at the decision of American Airlines to impose a $15 fee to check a bag (Star Tribune, May 22). May I suggest that they also impose a fee to use the jet way, make seat belts coin-operated and charge $25 for using the restrooms in the plane?

BRAHMA DATHAN, EDEN PRAIRIE

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE RULING

Unrealized fears

When I read that the Supreme Court of California declared a state law banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional, I thought to myself: What will Katherine Kersten have to say about this ("California ruling hijacks middle ground on marriage," May 21)?

I would like to remind her and anyone else who is frightened by the "gay agenda" and its devastating effects that the Supreme Court of California has a history of groundbreaking rulings. In 1948, this very same "arrogant, activist" court declared a law banning interracial marriage unconstitutional. This ruling led certain people to wonder if it would allow a human to marry an animal next. Unfortunately for those who thought the sanctity of marriage was tarnished after that ruling, every state allowed interracial marriage by 1967.

And people still aren't getting married to dogs. What are the odds?

BOBBY KAHN, MINNEAPOLIS

Kersten's out of step

Kersten continues her efforts to polarize a debate in which Minnesotans are finding a growing middle ground. Her column on the California Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage brings forth old arguments intended to frighten Minnesotans into believing that the only "safe" course is a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage and civil unions. It is time to change the debate and work toward fairness for all couples and families. Kersten's proposal is in direct opposition to what valid research says Minnesotans want.

While Minnesotans are divided on the question of marriage equality, most agree that state laws should treat all people fairly. A 2006 survey showed that nearly eight out of 10 Minnesotans believe the government should treat people no differently based on their sexual orientation. The survey also found that nearly 70 percent of Minnesotans said they believe "gays and lesbians should have the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else."

LAURA SMIDZIK, ST. PAUL

GLOBAL WARMING

Finally, some sane talk

A special thanks to Mike Fairbourne for taking an alternate position on man made global warming. Between Paul Douglas waxing philosophic in the Star Tribune and Don Shelby mounting his soapbox every night to lecture us, I had just about given up hope on basic common sense.

The truth is we don't have conclusive evidence supporting human impact on the planet. Consensus doesn't replace facts, and until that changes we cannot continue to get bullied into the corner by the likes of Al Gore and the fleet of hysterical mainstream media trying to push their liberal political agenda.

CHRISTIAN JOHNSON, EDINA

FROM RUSSIA WITH WASTE

Build cabin here

While Minnesotans claim to be environmentally sensitive and thoughtful, the transportation of an "authentic" (but newly made) cabin from Russia to the Minnesota Zoo is an example of the idiocy of bureaucrats (Star Tribune, May 21).

Why not instead bring the Russian craftsmen, along with their tools, to Minnesota to build the cabin locally? The economic and environmental costs would be only a fraction of building, tearing down, shipping, and reconstructing the entire building. And the skills would be transferred to Minnesota participants by the Russians.

But, of course, such common sense never occurs to the bureaucrats who don't worry at all about spending taxpayer money.

JIM MARTIN, ATLANTA

YOGA IN THE CLASSROOM

For student, teacher

In the May 21 article "Bringing calm to the classroom," Yoga Calm instructors Julie Hurtubise and Kathy Flaminio were torn between continuing their work as yoga instructors or returning to their positions as an occupational therapist and social worker. I would like to recommend and encourage them to organize a workshop or even a booth at the 2008 Minnesota Educational Association (MEA) conference this fall.

As an educator, I was floored by the response this program is receiving both from teachers and students. Often as a teacher you see your young students arrive with more energy than a cup of coffee, and, in a class of 20 to 30 first-graders, there is no way to maintain order and your curriculum when students are bouncing off the walls.

In an age where we are quick to diagnose and medicate behavior, why wouldn't educators want to take the time they spend clapping hands or snapping fingers teaching a technique that will control students' energy level and teach them how to focus inside as well as outside the classroom?

LISA RUDE, EDEN PRAIRIE