We are surprised by the protest against plans to rebuild the St. Albans VA Hospital. We doubt anyone would argue that the rebuilding of the hospital is overdue. And we would have expected the community to trust the Rev. Edwin Reed, a former assistant to the Rev. Floyd Flake.
The community and some Vietnam veterans are concerned that 25 acres of the property that belong to the hospital will be used for other purposes. The proposed plan is that part of the space will be used to build affordable housing, a new public school and a jazz center.
Some protesters who are veterans said they do not see what a jazz center has to do with health care.
The federal government has countered that the number of beds that will be available will stay roughly the same, but the new state-of-the-art in- and out-patient facilities will allow the hospital to provide better care.
No one will fault the veterans if they say they want to see that assurance in writing. It is reasonable that Reed and others want to make certain the hospital grounds are put to the best possible use.
In making plans for the hospital, officials must bear in mind that the veterans are growing older and will have increasing health-care needs. Add to that the veterans who are beginning to return from Iraq and Afghanistan. The current number of beds may not be enough 10 years from now.
We hope the veterans and government can come up with a plan that will meet everyone’s needs now and in the future.
Everyone in his or her life makes a dumb decision on the spur of the moment. That is understandable, but standing by a dumb decision in the face of overwhelming criticism is not.
Such is the case with the choice made by the owner and management of the Empire State Building not to honor the late Mother Theresa on her 100th birthday. The Catholic League had asked the building’s owner honor Mother Theresa by bathing the tower in blue and white, the colors of her religious order. This seemed like a reasonable request.
The owner said no.
Although Mother Theresa’s life of service went beyond any religious denomination, she spent her life serving the poor. She deserves this honor.
©2010 Community News Group
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