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Just Sayin': Quieter fireworks, being 'woke'

Fourth of July Fireworks explode over Jones Beach

Fourth of July Fireworks explode over Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Veterans, pets need quieter fireworks

As I watched and listened to fireworks last night, I was amazed at how hypocritical and unconscionable those with responsibility can be.

Politicians and those in control tell us how they are concerned with veterans and our pets, mostly dogs. For many veterans, fireworks bring back horrifying memories of battle.

For our dogs, like mine, they are beautiful to watch, yet the loud noise and startling vibrations of the explosions are terrifying to them.

The local government of Collecchio, Italy has enacted a law. Their town allows only silent fireworks. They are spectacular to see but do not have a terrifying bang.

Isn’t it time we adopted a similar law?

Lionel T. Bauman, Baldwin

The writer served in the Army in Vietnam in 1967.

I am proud to say that I am ‘woke’

Many politicians and news personalities are voicing contempt for people being "woke." They claim that college campuses are indoctrinating our youth with "woke culture." They deride the military and call it weak because of woke culture.

One definition of woke is "alert to injustice in society, especially racism." To me, not being woke means your growth stopped at about age 10. You didn’t grow intellectually, emotionally, spiritually or societally. Your opinions, prejudices, preconceptions and biases are set in stone.

I’ve grown as a person; I’ve listened to other people and learned from their experiences. I think of the words and actions I used in my teens, twenties and even thirties and am appalled at how ignorant I was and unaware of the pain I might have caused. Being woke is uncomfortable. It’s not pleasant to realize the hurt I may have caused others by being so unaware of their lives and experiences. Growing can be painful, but it’s necessary because that which doesn’t grow, dies. The medical term is "failure to thrive." Someone who refuses to change is "failing to thrive."

I’m proud to be woke and vow to continue evolving.

Rosanne Manfredi, Bay Shore

Today, we need more shades of gray

There is constant pressure in today’s world to take sides on issues. It seems that there is no middle ground anymore. This is not meant to be a political statement. Presently, any assertion of any belief is met with either adoration or scorn, depending upon who the audience is for that statement.

This is not to say that a person should not stick up for one’s beliefs. Quite the contrary, commitment is essential to the achievement of goals. However, moderation seems to be the essential ingredient missing from the equation.

Indeed, the most devastating ideology that seems to be prevalent in society is not that I am right and you are wrong. No, it is the much more dangerous, yet more insidious point of view is that I am right, and you are evil! The demonizing of opponents does not allow for the free flow of ideas. If your opponent is evil, then you would never accept any position put forth by him or her. Therefore, the middle ground can never be located. If only we could see more shades of gray.

William John Rostron, Middle Island