Letters to the Editor

Naval air station: Navy hardly abuses island

In her March 2 letter (“More pier, less Navy”), Sharon Embleton starts by agreeing with Dorothy Neil but then veers off on a harangue that couldn’t be farther removed from Neil’s view of the island’s history and current state.

Embleton says, “All the Navy has done here is use us and abuse us,” and goes on to gripe about “the military’s petty desires (and pensions),” and implies that somehow this is the cause of “no money for parks, etc.”

Embleton apparently is of World War II vintage, so I will venture to guess that she didn’t feel compelled to learn German or Japanese in her youth. Why? I’m sure she knew her abusive Navy and other military forces were keeping aggressors of those nationalities far from her island paradise.

Military folk “buy their own” pensions as much as anybody. The guys who endured the Bataan Death March, slogged through snow in the Battle of the Bulge, liberated the Philippines and Buchenwald, and helped to coordinate the remarkable recoveries of our former enemies certainly “bought” theirs.

Those of us who worked for substandard wages for 20 or 30 years so that our civilian counterparts could be free to pursue careers of their choice “bought” ours as well.

As far as recent “use and abuse” goes, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station’s countless contributions to our quality of life range from providing bird sanctuaries to volunteering in schools to paying for Oak Harbor’s fireworks displays on the Fourth of July.

I pity Embleton, but her bitter view of life is not the Navy’s fault.

James M. Bruner

Oak Harbor

Community Events, April 2014

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