Anthem protests disrespectful

I am a retired command sergeant major combat veteran who served more than 30 years with the Army and Maine Army National Guard. It has been very troubling for me to see what has been going on in sports these days, watching NFL players protest by not standing for the national anthem.

Unfortunately, it will probably increase in the MLB, and we will see it when the NBA start their season.

Ironically, the bloodshed that has been spilled and the courage displayed by our military men and women, past and present, for what the American flag stands for has given them the right to do so and the freedom to play and make millions of dollars. It upsets me that they are using this particular platform to protest, and I agree with President Donald Trump that it is disrespectful.

They should be grateful to live in such a great country of opportunity. Obviously, they have benefited immensely from it. For a fan, sports used to be an escape from the troubles and stresses of everyday life, but now it has added to it.

My message to them is, instead of kneeling when we honor America, how about standing up and choosing whatever you are unhappy with and work toward a solution in making things better? America is still the greatest country on the planet, and let’s thank God for it.

Steve Curtis


Anthem protest rooted in wretched history

Thank you for republishing the Seattle Times editorial about the NFL national anthem protests. The deeper issue in the anthem protests is rooted in a wretched, too long history, and it is time for meaningful change. Not so far in the past, a gloved fist was raised at an Olympic ceremony during the playing of our anthem.

When will we, and especially our political leaders, stand up and say we have a humanitarian problem in our country instead of vocally and actually beating up those who have a different view of our so-called land of the free?

Doug Jones


Spiritual support for hospital patients

Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor has fired all paid chaplaincy staff in an apparent attempt to cut costs after its parent company’s financial problems led to a credit rating downgrade into junk bond status.

The hospital administration’s expectation that volunteers will rush to replace professional chaplains at this major trauma center is naive and unrealistic. Staff and patients have relied on Rev. Rex Garrett’s department for more than 30 years.

Medical personnel understand the importance of stress reduction in the process of healing. Doctors have medicines or surgeries to help fix the results of stress, but chaplains understand the key to what created the illness in the first place. Chaplains counsel the teen who overdosed on drugs, the patient who attempted suicide. Chaplains support families through the death and dying process. Chaplains support staff.

There has been an ongoing volunteer program through Rev. Garrett’s chaplain-training program. Without regular staff to reinforce and support those volunteers, the program may well crash. So Eastern Maine’s plan to transfer the cost of chaplaincy to local church pastors is unrealistic.

As a volunteer trained through the chaplain program, my heart breaks for patients, families and staff who will have to suffer on account of EMMC’s cost cuttings. Spiritual support is absolutely necessary for patient care.

Leslie Latour