My mother yelled through her tears, "The War is Over! The War is Over!"

Monday will mark 72 years since Japan’s surrender in World War II was made public on Aug. 14, 1945.

That day, we were paddling around the swimming pool in the warm sunshine when I saw my little mother running down the steep hill in her high heels, waving a white handkerchief and yelling through her tears, "The War is Over! The War is Over!" The Japanese had surrendered.

We climbed out of the pool and I ran to meet her, catching her just before she lost her balance. Her beautiful red hair was flying in the breeze as my sister and I walked on either side of her back to the big house where everyone in the house had gathered around the big radio.

H.V. Kaltenborn commanded the airwaves, letting us know that President Harry S. Truman would soon make the announcement all of us had yearned to hear for the past five years. In our home, it had been seven long years since our dad had packed his bags and moved to the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., to help prepare the U.S. for the "War to End All Wars."

Many within our current population of young adults know little regarding the Second World War. I was 11 years old when my dad left home. Over the next few years, each of my brothers, one after the other, would join with our men to fight this hideous war.

This is what it was like at the end for our family, which had sat around the dining room table every Sunday for dinner, and had six family members participate in the war.

 

Elizabeth F. Hall, Pauline

 

Government facilities

Our Spartanburg County Council and Spartanburg City Council should be looking for ways to DECREASE the size of government rather than raising the sales tax to build new buildings in order to house the entities that are now in place. If updated space is truly needed, why don’t we lease existing facilities?

If the sales tax is increased (County Council voted to put a 1-cent sales tax increase referendum on this November’s election ballot), it should be used to create bypasses around our city so that our citizens could enjoy much safer and more “walkable” neighborhoods. This would have an almost immediate return on investment by increasing property values and property taxes.

Building new schools is good because increasing student population is something to be celebrated. Increasing government's burden on taxpayers is something to mourn.

 

Jody Traywick, Spartanburg

 

Neglecting education

As a new school year begins across our state, students continue to suffer the consequences of the chronic neglect of our state elected officials.

Many students will lack access to computers and a connection to the internet.

According to The State, in 2015, 2016 and 2017, state lawmakers approved sending about $29 million a year to school districts so they could buy tablets and computers and to improve internet connectivity, but cut spending to $12 million in the budget year that started July 1. That was despite passing a law last year requiring the state’s more than 80 school districts to have their students take statewide tests online, using computers.

Last spring, 47 of those school districts asked for waivers from that new law due to the lack of enough computers or because they did not have adequate internet access.

Also, many students will be traveling to school on old, fire-prone school buses that need replacing.

In 2007, state lawmakers adopted a plan to replace the state’s buses every 15 years after several buses caught fire, but they failed to budget enough money to follow through on the plan. Now state officials say it would take $72 million to replace the oldest and most dangerous buses. And according to S.C. Secretary of Education Molly Spearman, it would take $34 million a year to comply with the 15-year replacement cycle.

But Gov. Henry McMaster still vetoed $20.5 million of the $28.9 million that lawmakers budgeted this year to buy or lease new buses, apparently thinking that scoring political points with his misguided conservative base was more important than keeping schoolchildren safe.

“We’ve got to do better for our children,” said Spearman in May after a bus caught fire in District 5.

But supporting public schools seems to have no political value to politicians. And that’s the real problem.

 

John Turner, Moore

 

Nuclear foot-dragging

The Herald-Journal managed to print an Associated Press article of almost a thousand words last Sunday about the billions of dollars wasted in the past 10 years on unfinished nuclear power projects without mentioning the chief cause of that waste. So I’ll mention it.

These billions of dollars wasted can be “credited” directly to the Obama administration’s implacable resistance to nuclear power through rule-making, fear tactics and outright foot-dragging, much like he did with the Keystone Pipeline. With nuclear power the only present and near-term future path to major reductions in greenhouse gases, you have to wonder if Barack Obama is merely a hypocrite, or is his greenhouse gas agenda spurious?

Since I’m commenting on my own ruminations today, I’ll venture that Mr. Obama is indeed a hypocrite AND that his greenhouse gas agenda is spurious.

 

Jock Heckman, Lyman Lake

 

Huge Upstate contribution

I read with interest the article “25 Years of BMW” in the June 23 edition of the Herald-Journal. I was disappointed not to see mentioned the contribution of Paul Foerster to the settlement of BMW. For almost two years, he worked tirelessly on behalf of South Carolina to help secure BMW for the Upstate.

Foerster had more than 20 years of hands-on experience leading a major manufacturing operation in the Upstate on behalf of another German industrial giant. He contributed to the BMW courtship what others could not. He was a fellow German executive enthusiastically sharing his own positive experience.

This gave BMW management the assurance it needed about the Upstate’s living and working environment.

 

Emil E. Spieth, Mount Pleasant

 

Talk about alcohol

Millions of college-bound freshmen will be leaving home for the campus for the first time. As parents prepare their teens for college, it’s important to set aside time to talk about alcohol.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, teens are much more likely to delay drinking when they feel that they have a close, supportive tie with a parent or guardian.

Here are some tips for parents to guide the discussion:

• Set clear expectations for academic achievement and responsible behavior.

• Talk about alcohol facts, reasons not to drink and ways to avoid drinking in difficult situations.

• Address how to get help on campus for themselves or a friend.

• Keep in close contact to determine if your son or daughter is feeling overwhelmed, is making friends and is getting involved with activities and enjoying classes, and make sure they know you are there to support them through this transition period.

Even though your college-age student may no longer be living at home, research shows that parents have the most influence over their son’s or daughter’s decision to drink or not to drink. Invest this time together to ensure that your teen gets off on the right track for academic success.

 

Dr. Sam Zakhari, former division director, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism