Saluting Those Who Cared

As we celebrate the last Veterans Day of the 20th century, I would like to thank my fellow veterans for all their hard work and sacrifices. The men and women of our U.S. armed forces are deployed around the world today, engaged in keeping tabs on peace and democracy. We are very different from our brothers and sisters of previous wars and conflicts. Today, for the most part, we are engaged in peacekeeping, not fighting wars. As a recent returnee of the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I would also like to thank my family, unit and community for the prayers, assistance and support that I and my fellow soldiers received while deployed.

Our unit's Family Support Group ensured that we had "care packages" for every major holiday that we missed. This weekend we will be preparing the Christmas and Hanuka packages for our soldiers still in Bosnia and Herzegovina. My friends sent me care packages and kept the mail and e-mail lines full of news about everything that was happening. The school communities at Sterling Elementary and Sterling Middle took special interest in my boys and helped ease my mind. And a special thank you to my husband, who played single dad for eight months, built the family a new house and kept the boys safe, healthy and well adjusted.

So this year when you thank the veterans for their sacrifices, just remember that we couldn't do it without the support of our families, friends and communities.

RENELDA

PELDUNAS-HARTER

Purcellville

Parents Overreact With Suit

A recent article about teenage students ["Teens Left Behind on Field Trip, Lawsuits Say," Oct. 31] being left behind during a New York City field trip was astonishing to me. Once again, outlandish parents have developed a knee-jerk reaction to reach for their lawyer's business card when authorities have, in good faith, assumed responsibility for a minor and extended an experience to the youth, and something unexpected has happened.

To ask for a thorough inquiry is one thing, but I find it disheartening when citizens take absurd legal aim at public institutions. Intertwining the legal process with a system of learning only makes a mess and adds prohibitions to the educational process, as decision makers and educators become gun shy to all possibilities and outcomes.

The parents may want to reconsider the charges and the burden they attempt to place on the citizens of Loudoun and reconsider why their children, alone, had to wander away from everyone else, and why their children made such "very good decisions" and went to the police nine hours after getting lost. If such deep regard and concern was felt ($100,000 worth), why weren't they, the parents, chaperoning and sharing the experience? They then wouldn't have to go to court to come up with the answers they're looking for.

The fact is that a dependable, experienced teacher was enterprising enough to lead his students on a worthwhile excursion. A random act occurred and nobody got hurt. So what! It is thoughtless to overreact and cause embarrassment to a dedicated public servant and limit other students' future experiences. I say, if you weren't there to help, you really have nothing to say at all.

As the parents point a finger at others for causing such harm, they should remember that three of their fingers point back at them, reminding them that they must consider what their role might have been in the matter. Here in Loudoun, I am hoping that common sense will prevail and that our children will be brought up with the strength to value moral conduct and character.

PHILIP A. ARRA SR.

Aldie

No Regrets, Despite Loss

In the Madisonian spirit, I worked just as hard as I know how to offer Loudoun voters a fair and responsible choice for clerk of court. It was a hard-fought contest and I have no regrets, although I cannot say I would recommend the first-time experience of losing.

Even as I gratefully thank voters and all those supporters who worked so hard for me, I congratulate my fellow citizen and next clerk of court Gary Clemens, I wish him well. I'm sure Loudoun residents will be well-served.

THOMAS S. DODSON

Middleburg

Thanks for the Support

I would like to thank all those who supported my campaign for commonwealth's attorney. Although we did not get the result we had hoped for, we fought relentlessly for what we believed in, took a stand on some tough issues. We made many new friends along the way, and I look forward to working with you to continue to promote public safety and justice in Loudoun County.

Congratulations to those candidates who were successful. I know our new leadership will work hard to fulfill their campaign promises and protect the future of Loudoun County.

JERRY L. JOHNSON

Leesburg

Congratulations to Towe

Thank you for the opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to all those good folks who supported my campaign for Blue Ridge supervisor. I am very grateful to you all, and most especially appreciative of the many personal messages of support and encouragement I received after the election results became clear. Although I cannot know what the future will hold for me, I am still committed to improving the accountability and responsibility of Loudoun's county government, and I look forward to working with you all in that ongoing effort.

I would also like to publicly reiterate my private congratulations to Eleanore Towe on running a fair, focused and positive campaign, of which she has every right to be proud. Her esteemed personal character and fine record of constituent service are well known in the Blue Ridge District, and made my job virtually impossible. I sincerely hope that she and her new colleagues on the Board of Supervisors are successful in reining in the residential growth that troubles us in so many ways.

Thanks also to the volunteers and supporters on both sides of the aisle who kept the Blue Ridge campaign among the cleanest in all of Loudoun. From placement of signs to discussion of issues, our district's campaign stood out as a principled and honest contest well within the letter and spirit of Virginia law. Even from the losing side, I consider it an honor to have been chosen to participate in this race.

Pat Grigsby

Hillsboro

Supervisor's Praise, Pledge

I know that your readers are as proud as I am that the Blue Ridge District voters came out on a rainy, windy election day to participate in our democratic process with the best voter turnout in Loudoun County.

It is an honor to represent the citizens of Loudoun as the representative of the Blue Ridge District now and into the new millennium.

I pledge to work with Chairman-elect Scott York and the other fine supervisors-elect who have heard the mandate of the people to work together to use smart growth tools to protect and preserve the qualities of life we in Loudoun treasure. We face a huge challenge, but I look forward to serving on a Board of Supervisors with people who share a common goal and have a sincere sense of respect for the citizens and one another.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to thank the voters who gave me such a heartwarming victory. I sincerely appreciate the fact that the citizens of Blue Ridge endorsed my positive campaign based on my record and the issues facing our county.

ELEANORE C. TOWE

Supervisor, Blue Ridge

Round Hill No to Negative Campaigns

The election [Nov. 2] had one encouraging aspect that had nothing to do with political parties. The opponent of Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Anderson (R) and the opponent of Supervisor Eleanore Towe (D-Blue Ridge), both of whom sent out the most bitter and misleading material, were defeated by a large majority. Negative campaigning brings negative votes. I find this satisfying.

JEAN P. McDONALD

Round Hill

A Republic of Denial

Jeers to the vast majority of eligible voters who took a powder and did not show up at the polls. People can always come to the press for news, but they, unfortunately, will not take a few minutes to empower themselves in an act of self-governance. We live in a republic of denial and excuse.

PHILIP A. NATHAN

Leesburg