Strewing flowers on graves remains a vivid memory
If one took a map and placed a compass on the spot where I lived on Hegira Ridge during my childhood and youth and drew a circle with a radius of 2½ miles, that circle would include five rural churches. On Sunday mornings when the atmospheric conditions were just right, one could hear the bells of those churches calling worshipers to attend the services.
My parents chose to be active members at Rose of Sharon, a Methodist congregation, and throughout my childhood I went there to Sunday school and church.
I remember frequently attending services at each of the other churches within that circle, for freedom to worship is a precious right granted by the Constitution.
One memory from that period of my life is very vivid. Each year on Memorial Day, we went to a country church and the cemetery in front of it "for the purpose of strewing with flowers" the graves of relatives, as has been the custom since 1882 when Decoration Day officially became Memorial Day.
One thing was always most impressive; certain graves throughout the cemetery were decorated with small flags wafting in the May breeze. Those flags were then, and still are now, poignant reminders that the freedom to worship, as well as other freedoms we enjoy and hold dear, came at a high cost.
Across the years, men and women faced danger and many paid the supreme sacrifice to defend and preserve these freedoms that are so precious to us.
War costs beyond dollars
Surely, someone other than myself remembers a news conference when President George W. Bush stated the Iraq war would not cost the American people one red dime, that we would be paid back with Iraq oil profits. Instead, we continue to pay not only monetarily, but with human lives.
Replace parking garages
Not enough has been written about the concrete slab that fell on Vine Street.
Perhaps if this were the first such occurrence, it would be different. But not long ago, a young woman, eight months pregnant, was crushed in Lexington. The only difference in the latest incident and the previous tragedy is timing.
Shockingly, this latest incident came after the Urban County Council put in safeguards to protect us from this happening again. The so-called safeguards simply are not working.
I have walked under that area a hundred times; my friends have done the same. I recall seeing dozens of people standing at the spot during the Fourth of July parade.
Have you looked at the parking structure where the latest 7-ton concrete slab had fallen? In many places, there are no curb stops to keep vehicles from running into another concrete section. The area of the latest concrete collapse is partitioned with flimsy yellow caution tape.
Millions of dollars were spent sprucing up for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the benefits of which are still questionable. Millions more have been spent on the Purchase of Development Rights program. The "way signs" placed throughout Lexington were a further waste of money.
The fact is the city's parking garages need to be replaced. These apparent discretionary funds need to be spent toward that end.
I challenge the mayor and council to place a moratorium on the PDR program until they can provide a safe, secure environment.
Ralph A. Ruschell
Consider foster parenting
May is National Foster Care Month, a time to shine the light on the foster care experience. Let's start with some figures:
■ More than 6,800 Kentucky children and youth are in out-of-home care, with 75 percent to 80 percent of those in foster care. Most are placed in temporary foster care due to parental neglect or abuse.
■ The average age of a child in care: 10.7 years.
■ More than 73 percent of the children in care are white, 19.3 percent are black and 4.3 percent are Hispanic.
■ The average length of stay for children in care is 25.5 months.
The figures do not tell the stories of the children served through foster care, nor do they highlight the hearts and souls of the parents who step up to care for our kids.
There's something about caring for a child who is not linked to you through birth that teaches you some deep lessons about love and family.
Is foster parenting easy? No. Is it for everyone? No. Will you make a lot of money foster parenting? No.
More than 32 percent of the children in care range in age from 12 to 18. Many of these kids have been in limbo for a long time; and most just want a place where they belong, a family to call their own, a home where they feel secure. We all need to know that we matter, that someone loves us, that we are lovable. There are children who need you.