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2 letters to editor

Thoughts on the real meaning of Memorial Day

This is the quiet time.

This is not a time for joy and parties and festivities. I do not want to hear about your special sales and deals …This Weekend Only…

It is a time for reflection; to honor, to remember, to grieve.

We who remain feel loss, anguish, sorrow, emptiness, guilt.

These feelings do not diminish with time. If anything, they overwhelm us at this time of year. All the “moving ahead” and “carrying on” and “dealing with it” we do for 51 weeks a year comes crashing down leading up to this Day of Remembrance.

We can pretend we are strong and put on a good face as we march through life. However, beneath the calm exterior, the grief is building pressure, looking for a way out.

So, when we look upon a grave or a memorial or statue of a hero, the floodgates open and it all comes out.

Do not think me weak when I cry at a grave of an unknown warrior. You do not know the effort it takes, the strength it requires, to hold back the tears the other 364 days a year.

I find strength in the fellowship of my Brothers in Arms, for they have the same feelings, the same memories, the same sorrow. And I will support and love them as they support me.

No, I will not “celebrate” on Memorial Day. This is the quiet time.

Stephen M. Pitman IV

First Sgt., U.S. Marines (Ret)

Uncertainty still an issue concerning Yucca Mountain

Yucca Mountain continues to be the focus as we await a final decision on where a national repository for America’s nuclear waste will be located. The last we heard from members of Nevada’s congressional delegation is that they remain steadfast in opposition to storing radioactive material in our “backyard.” I for one applaud that position.

There may still be those hereabouts who want the containment site to be in Nye County, arguing that it will lead to substantial economic benefits for our region. At a glance that seems to be on the money. We can well imagine numerous job opportunities in construction and maintenance for roadways and rail lines to the site, along with housing for staff and technical facilities. Whether the initial development of infrastructure will lead to broad-based and sustainable employment in Southern Nevada is open to question. The larger issue, one that proponents dismiss as irrelevant is the risk for environmental disaster.

We can be confident that containers used to store hazardous wastes will be very durable and in ordinary circumstances impervious to leakage. Thus, one of the nation’s largest aquifers as well as the atmosphere above ground will be protected. Moreover, regular inspections will ensure compliance with all safety requirements. No doubt the folks up in Washington state would cheer such assurance. If you’re unfamiliar with their problem or want to know more about radiation exposure, it’s worth a look. Here at home we’re faced with an irrefutable aspect of the “science”, that some question.

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) has compiled a list of the most active seismic states in the continental U.S. Nevada shows up (alphabetically) at number 10, just ahead of Oklahoma, where fracturing is thought to be the culprit. In a news brief not long ago, it was said that Nevada is ranked (geologically) as the fourth most seismic state. If that doesn’t give our leaders pause, it should.

Even though we can rely on continuous monitoring by USGS, a huge uncertainty remains. We recall how the movement of tectonic plates caused a tsunami that destroyed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, with devastating results. Looking ahead five, ten, or twenty years, geologists cannot predict when or at what magnitude the bedrock of Nevada may be disturbed. Decision makers are obliged to think deeply on the best interests of current and future generations, and to weigh alternatives well ahead of a possible crisis.

Ralph Bazan

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