May 18, 2014 

Heroes like Lt. Kirby Stewart are remembered everywhere during Memorial Day. However, here in Manatee County, he was our first American national hero in 1918 during the Great War (First World War).

West Bradenton American Legion Post 24, moreover, was established in his name in 1919.

Visit and pause at his grave site on Memorial Day, May 26, at 11 a.m. at Fogartyville Cemetery on the north end of 43rd Street West.

The brief and poignant ceremony, open to the public, will feature an entourage of Post 24 members. The post Honor Guard, in addition, will remember the lieutenant with a 21-gun rifle salute and a chaplain's benediction.

When you visit, be proud. And most of all, be thankful that there was a Kirby Stewart.

He was killed on the morning of Oct. 18 while leading an attack near Chateau Thierry, France, during which he had been twice wounded. For gallantry in action, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously.

Incidentally, the 1941 motion picture "Sergeant York," starring the late Gary Cooper as Alvin York, showed Cooper as York, capturing 132 German soldiers.

York, years later, stated that it was Lt. Stewart, his battalion commander, who made it possible for him to become a great hero. Together they schemed to outwit the entrenched Germans manning several machine gun nests.

And now, we the living comrades of Kirby Pelot Stewart Post 24, the American Legion of Bradenton, commend his spirit to God who gave it, and our hearts shall always cherish his memory.

George Staudt

American Legion Post 24Bradenton

Young people should unite behind retirement accounts

Young people unite!

Winston Churchill once said that if you are a conservative at 20, you have no heart, and if you are a liberal at 40, you have no head.

It is time for young adults to grow up and start using our heads or we can kiss our retirement benefits goodbye.

The Social Security program is taking advantage of young adults. It only has enough revenue to pay 100 percent of promised benefits through 2018. If you are between 20 and 40, ask yourself where will your entitlement come from.

The Social Security program is in need of help. Republicans have the answer: Allow workers the option to invest the Social Security tax (FICA) in stocks or bonds through personal retirement accounts, which will give a higher rate of return for the investment.

The average 23-year-old female will pay $200,000 into the system over her lifetime and will only get a 1.82 percent return, monthly benefits of $1,640 (equaling about $370,000 by the time she dies). But a personal retirement account would give her 4.89 percent return rate and a reserve of around $620,000 when she retires.

As young adults, we need to voice our concerns. I believe the politicians will listen.

It's time for today's young adults to start using our heads. By the time we reach 40, it will be too late.

Jenah Victor

Anna Maria

Obama showing leadership by not engaging Putin

President Obama is exercising leadership by not doing what so many people are clamoring for: getting tough with that dictator Putin. President Obama hasn't forgotten that Putin controls thousands of nuclear weapons.

I was an amateur Sovietologist in the 1980s. I made three trips to Russia and Ukraine, read over 25,000 pages and talked with many Russians, both here and in the Soviet Union.

Most Russians like a strong, tough leader like Putin and will gladly support him making Mother Russia a world power again.

We won't have to worry about America looking weak for long. Someday Putin will force Obama to show what Americans are really made of, and those who are anxious to put Putin in his place could see their sons and daughters sent off to die in a war that will make the war on terror look like a squabble in a preschool sandbox.

What Putin is doing in Ukraine looks a lot like what Hitler did in the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia in 1938. We realized too late that we made a mistake by not standing up to Hitler then.

Sadly, the Cold War with Russia has returned and the "Evil Empire" is back. But before we escalate we had better be very careful what we do.

I happen to like this planet and don't want to destroy it because we let a dictator push our patriotic freedom button and we didn't take the time to think out a well-reasoned response before some scared or overly zealous commander of nuclear weapons pushed a different kind of button.

The stakes are a lot higher now than they were in 1938. We should all pray that Obama's leadership is up to the task.

Unlike in preschool sandbox fights, there are no do-overs in the adult world.

Steve Scott


Mall's buckets to catch rain from leaking roof unsightly

Every time I go to Bradenton's DeSoto Square mall and it's been raining, there are buckets in the center of the mall to catch the water from the roof, which is leaking.

It's been that way for at least 15 years or so. Why don't they fix the roof or move the planters in the mall to where the leaks are so that they will be watered from the rain?

All those buckets in the center of the mall is "real class!"

Russell Frederick


TV news, sports announcers employ fake deliveries

It must have been five-plus years ago that I simply gave up on TV. After many years, I finally came to the conclusion that TV is, for the most part, ill-advised entertainment and fake. Some examples follow:

There are golf announcers who talk too much and end declarative sentences on a rising note. They also whisper while a golfer is putting, to give the illusion they are close to the action when, in fact, they are in a production truck way off the course.

Protect me from a newsie whose questions of someone

at a remote location are usually so confusing and long-winded the viewer has forgotten what the point was.

White House correspondents at presidential news conferences do this, too.

Save me from the news anchors who always say, "Thank you very much" to a reporter doing a stand-up from a remote location. Anchors have been doing it for years.

There is a guy from the Weather Channel whose specialty is appearing live at catastrophic weather events.

Some people think he's a hero.

He has made a career out of not having enough sense to come in out of the rain.

TV weather people wave their hands around a great deal, but the "map" you are seeing behind them is not there. It's a felt-covered wall.

The weather person only knows what he is doing because he, just like you, is looking at a screen.

There are monitors left and right.

Finally, if I hear another remote announcer start a story with "Well ..." I will gag.

Be forewarned.

Morgan Stinemetz


Kudos to Lincoln Middle School's agriculture students

I feel that our area may be overlooking a gem in our midst!

I am so very proud of our young people supporting the farming heritage of our area.

Rewards night at Lincoln Middle School was amazing.

Are you aware?

These young people are in one of the top five FFA chapters in our country.

Their devotion to the livestock and open minds to aqua and agriculture is simply awe inspiring.

My neighbor Kaitlyn has introduced me to the most beloved and utterly outrageous plants this year!

Just wanted to share the blessing with others.

Jane Touchton


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