To the Editor:
If the number of people killed at the World Trade Center horrifies the American people, they will be astonished at the number killed if we go to war against Middle Eastern countries and groups that have the capability for biological and chemical warfare with no regard for human life. It will be warfare that our military personnel are woefully unprepared for. The number of casualties of American personnel will be enormous and ground troops will have to be used to carry out this mission. This will be nothing like our people have seen since Vietnam. It will be a conflict that could wipe out the majority of our military -- our brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters.
I understand the need for the call to war but I hope the American people realize the cost to each one of us and comprehend the huge price that will be paid. I pray I am wrong but I am afraid I am not. I hope those yet to come will look upon us as a nation with courageous resolve that did the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.
Mary E. Davis, Memphis
To the Editor:
I have witnessed two reactions to the tragedies in New York and Washington. First, there was President Bush's faux Clint Eastwood assurance that the perpetrators will be "hunted down," followed by Norman Schwarzkopf's banner-waving explanation of "the difference between us and them" -- meaning that when the U.S. makes an attack, we do not target innocent civilians. (Vietnam?) Second, I have seen sidewalks full of people waiting to donate blood, women handing out sandwiches in airport terminals, prayer services being organized within minutes of the first plane crash, and countless other acts of human kindness between total strangers.
While I want very much to see those responsible for terrorism brought to justice, my hope is that rifts of fear and anger will not be spawned by efforts of our leaders to look tough when facing the world. The end result will only be continued violence and unrest and the terrorists will have achieved their goal. But perhaps if we can continue to focus on the outpouring of goodness toward those in need, the opportunity may be created for healing to begin. Terrorism is ineffective against a society whose strength is founded in hope.
Jon Devin, Memphis
To the Editor:
I want to thank you for Tom Graves' article on garage bands, "Out Of the Garage" (September 6th issue). I feared those unique and wonderful Memphis icons were all but forgotten. What a joy to know that their memories still live on. I must say, however, that I was very disappointed in one particular section of the story.
My father is Shad Williams, who was the lead singer of Shadden and the King Lears. I appreciate author Ron Hall's dedication and hard work, however, it bothers me that inappropriate information about the best father ever has been printed when the truth is right here in Memphis. I have lived here my whole life, as have my parents, Shad and Sheila Williams. They have recently relocated to another town in Tennessee, not Arkansas -- as was claimed by Hall -- and are very happy.
My dad remembers fondly his days as a youth playing around Memphis. I grew up listening to those old 45s and they have become some of my most valued possessions. My father, however, was not "struck" by God, nor did he leave in the middle of a set. My dad was "born again" while in the band and after that profound event he spent several months trying to figure out what to do. He loves his brother, Bubba, very much and loved the guys in the band. He didn't want to disappoint them and their dreams, but he also felt a calling to go into the ministry full-time. The pull on his heart by God won out. He eventually told the band that he was leaving and following God's call on his life. That is the actual story, not the humorous one told by Hall that made my dad's call to the ministry sound trite.
Again, I deeply appreciate Hall's work, along with Graves' in writing the article. I just ask that you help me in honoring the amazing life my father has set forth as an example to me, my sister Rachel, our spouses, and his six grandchildren. Shad Williams once was a man of rock-and-roll, but for 34 years now he has been a man of the Rock. I am the proudest son you can imagine.
Michael S. Williams, Memphis
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