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More important in my opinion than the financial questions raised in your March issue about the Little Rock National Airport is the serious deterioration of service by the carriers which serve us. Boarding numbers continue to wane following serious reductions in service. American Airlines, for so long our lifeline, no longer serves Little Rock. The latest word is that US Air will drop Kansas City service as it dropped service to Nashville. The small jets have indeed opened up some great nonstop markets for us (Minneapolis/Orlando/Newark/Salt Lake City/Detroit come to mind) but why must we fly those cramped, uncomfortable jets to DFW, and where is nonstop service to such key markets as Washington Reagan, Los Angeles and LaGuardia? Is the Little Rock Airport Commission trying hard enough? My heavens, Fayetteville (the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport) has American Airlines service, has nonstops to LaGuardia and Los Angeles and only carried half the volume of Little Rock National. Something isn’t quite right.

Fred Poe

Little Rock

Civil rights lesson

Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Reel Civil Rights Film Festival.

In the course of two short days, I received a history lesson far better than anything I could have imagined, and that lesson soon came to life when audience members were surprised by a visit with Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine, who recently moved back to Little Rock.

As I looked around during each film, I was saddened that the theater wasn’t filled to capacity. With the 50th anniversary of the integration of Central High School just around the corner, citizens young and old need to take the time to learn about and to pause and reflect on this crisis that forever changed the way our country viewed Little Rock, as well as how we as citizens viewed each other.

People ask why we should draw so much attention to this event that took place so long ago. I believe the answer is the same as any event that forever changed our national landscape — so we honor those who did the right thing and had the courage to move forward for the sake of all of us, and to ensure such a tragedy never happens again. When the doors of Central High School were opened to the Little Rock Nine, they were also opened to me — a white kid born in 1966 who never knew what school segregation meant, but who was privileged to be able to go to school with people of all races.

During Ms. Trickey’s comments to the audience, she was asked her thoughts about Little Rock today. She said there was still much to do regarding race relations in our state, and I agree with her wholeheartedly. I believe this year should not only mark a historic time in our state’s history, but it should also be a springboard from which all of us take a look at ourselves and our relations with all our fellow citizens. There is much to be done, and we owe it to ourselves and future generations to continue opening doors to all people. As Ms. Trickey said in her talk, don’t wait for something to happen to you; don’t wait until you’re personally affected — do something now.

Debra S. Wood

Little Rock

Mistakes were made

President Bush had no experience to guide him in preparing for or executing war, and he failed to heed the advice of those who did. “Mistakes were made,” he admits.

The most glaring mistake was in not putting enough troops on the ground, as certain generals advised.

The second mistake was in believing that ridding Iraq of Saddam would solve all problems, and that our presence would be gladly accepted.

If history serves as any guide, sectarian/political violence will continue in Iraq with or without our presence. The terrorists of 9/11, with the exception of perhaps two, were from a “friendly” oil-rich country that we could not afford to invade. We are led to believe that the terrorists in Iraq today are not Iraqis, but invaders from another country.

To continue our dependence upon other countries for an energy source is a colossal mistake.

The biggest mistake of all is continuing to drain this country of its most precious resources, the lives and futures of our fighting men and women, and the monetary worth of the nation and future generations.

Had the president withdrawn the troops when he announced “Mission Accomplished,” Iraq, our service personnel, and our country would have been better served, and so would have been the president.

Marilyn Fish Bryan

Taylor

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