Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JANUARY 24, 2012 7:20 AM

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Sing the national anthem properly

I have been described by some as the biggest Hawkeye fan here at the University of Iowa. Through the seasons, however, one thing has bothered me, and the women's basketball game Jan. 19 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena was the last straw.

The "Star-Spangled Banner" is not a show tune. It does not need to be embellished with extra notes, slurs, and pitches. Sing it in the dignified manner as it was intended and written.

Many people around here are veterans, including me. My military service landed me in a situation where the raising of the American flag while the "Star-Spangled Banner" played brought intense emotion and tears to every man involved. This anthem is sacred to me and millions of other people, and to hear it butchered by people who think it sounds cool when they jazz it up makes me want to scream. It took all the control I could muster to wait until this woman finished before I yelled, "Sing it right."

Many people do a wonderful job singing the national anthem at events here, including Wayne Neuzil, Sue Sample, and others. I strongly urge the Athletics Department, when it auditions people to sing, to select only those who can do it properly. I invite anyone who agrees to come to the University of Iowa Veterans Center, 111 Communications Center, and sign a letter supporting this.

I would be remiss if I did not note that this is a nationwide trend and not just here at the university. I am also proud of my fellow students who place their hands over their hearts and sometimes start to sing until the notes get too convoluted to continue. I salute you.

There is one final thing for which I would like to thank the Athletics Department and Carver-Hawkeye staff. I arrived late for a game last week while the national anthem was being sung. All doors were closed and entry was denied until the singing was completed. That is the kind of respect the national anthem deserves.

Randy Miller
UI student

Remembering a railway heroine

In the middle of the night on July 6, 1881, flooding waters had weakened the railway bridge at Honey Creek, near Boone, Iowa. An inspection engine, with a crew of four, sent ahead of the midnight express, plunged into the surging torrent.

Nearby, in an isolated farmhouse, the tumult awoke a teenage girl. Over objections from her widowed mother, she arose from her bed and went into the raging storm to investigate.

She heard the cries of engine crewmen who clung precariously to debris in Honey Creek below. She called to them to hold on and that she would go for help. She proceeded to crawl on her hands and knees across what remained of the Honey Creek Bridge.

Vastly longer and more frightening was the Des Moines River Bridge. There was no walkway, only slippery rain soaked rails spanning ties 2 feet apart. Storm winds buffeted her, and rain extinguished her lantern. Only the occasional flash of lighting lit her way over a wide, abyss above raging flood waters far, far, below. Hand-over-hand, she crawled steadfastly on.

Finally across, bloodied and exhausted, she ran a half-mile to Moingona Depot, where word was sent to stop the midnight express, narrowly averting tragedy for another crew and hundreds of passengers. She then led a rescue party back to the two stranded men, saving their lives as well.

A century ago, she herself died, much too young. Let us never this true Iowa hero, Kate Shelley.

Daniel Lee Daly
Iowa City resident

Sloppy caucus counts can be rectified

Correcting our current sloppy caucus counts is easy.

If everyone gets triplicate tricolor ballots, voter keeps pink copy, white copy goes to county-level counting, and blue copy goes to precinct chairman. Like our Constitutional legislative, executive, and judicial checks and balances, multi-recorded voting data keep everyone else honest and accurate.

In case of errors or stealing, there are two other sources to prove and rectify. For better security, each replicated ballot could have a serial number on it, and the voter decides whether to tear it off. After-voting doubts? Just make the precinct/county officials cough up the questionable ballot if a voter decided to leave his serial number on. Voters should be able to make up a 9-digit code (only one chance in a billion of error) and graphite-bubble it on their ballots also.

This forces election officials to be accountable over the Internet by anonymous code number that only the voter knows. This forces party bosses to be honest and accountable to We the People. When the individual voter spots errors or fraud, he can then alert newspapers and prosecutors to assure honest elections.

A receipt for a 50-cent pack of gum has more security and verification numbers on it than our current ballots, and in the computer age, there is no excuse for our primitive, easy-to-tamper ballots. Afraid of marks identifying ballots? Bribers and blackmailers can already force absentee votes to see how their victims are voting.

Honest people need an honest voting accounting system.

Randy Crawford
Coralville resident

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