Editor, The Spotlight:
September 11, 2011 was the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the Pentagon, World Trade Center and the tragic plane crash in Shanksville, PA.
This was a day to be patriotic and reflect on all those who sacrificed so that we have the freedom to choose the way we live. Police, firefighters, civilians, and military personnel should be honored for their sacrifices.
The American flag flew over our Bethlehem Veteran Memorial Park on Delaware Avenue that day. The next day, Sept. 12 to the present Oct. 1st, the flag has not flown. If you stopped at the memorial park on 9/11 you may have noticed litter along Stewarts parking lot, around the benches, in the park and along the sidewalk at Delaware Avenue. If you looked further you would have noticed broken branches from the trees, weed infested planting and moss and weeds in the paving bricks. Also the grass had not been cut or the leaves removed.
The lights shining on the medallions along the fence for each branch of the service were out except for one. It didn’t really matter one was lit, because they were all overgrown and covered. The lights for the flag were out, they have been out for years. I also noticed in a planting by the stairs a small American flag stuck in the dirt. Judging by its condition it had been there quite awhile. This flag seems to be a fitting representation of the overall condition of Bethlehem Veteran Memorial Park. Is this the way Bethlehem remembers its veterans? I hope not, and I think most residents would agree with me that something needs to change here. Even with the rain and damage from storms Irene and Lee the other parks in town have been cleaned and maintained.
I have talked to Gregg Sagendorph, Jr. and Sr. on numerous occasions and have also discussed the problem with the current town supervisor. Nothing has changed. I know of others who have complained also. The highway department is in charge of maintaining the memorial park and the highway superintendent, Gregg Sagendorph, Sr. is a member of the Veteran Memorial Park beautification committee. Maybe he should look at the neighboring veterans parks in Altamont and Ravena. Their parks are extremely well cared for. I would also suggest he confers with our parks department who maintains and cares for the dog park. If you compare it to the Bethlehem Veteran Memorial Park, you would think Bethlehem thinks more of its dogs than its veterans. Veterans Day 2011 is almost here. Let’s get going.
Harry L. Allen, Jr.
The letter writer is a retired Bethlehem Highway Department employee and a Vietnam veteran.