The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


June 19, 2014

Readers' Forum 6-19 | May disagree with gov't, but respects flag

JOHNSTOWN — From my earliest memories, before I understood the Fourth of July, Flag Day, Veterans Day and Memorial Day, I knew those days were special to my dad.

He would commemorate them by displaying a gigantic American flag on our front porch.

Our country’s emblem meant a lot to my dad, a World War II veteran. He didn’t always agree with the actions and decisions of our government, but he voted in every election and always loved our country.

While his grand old flag (originally purchased by his father in 1907) is tucked in a display case inside my home, I fly a more typical-sized flag as often as possible and have made sure my children understand its importance.

It’s great to see flags flying on homes and along streets – such as Westmont’s Luzerne Street.

Like my dad, I often disagree with our government, but that’s our prerogative in a free nation.

But I’ll always revere that red, white and blue banner – which transcends our government and elected officials – with an intense pride and understanding.

God bless America.

Larry O’Reilly


Johnstown unsafe for motorcycles

Thunder in the Valley is fast approaching, and I have a genuine fear for the safety of my fellow motorcycle riders. Never, in all my years, have I seen the gravel situation in the city of Johnstown as bad as it is right now.

More than half of the intersections and turns have enough gravel laying on them to make it extremely hazardous for anyone on a motorcycle.

Whether the gravel is a byproduct of the sewer construction or the result of inadequate cleanup of the winter’s antiskid materials is a moot point. There has been more than enough nice weather since the end of winter to have gotten the streets properly cleaned, and the contractors should be responsible for cleaning up after each segment of sewer work is completed.

Excuses are fine, but for some things, there is no excuse, and this is one of them.

Thunder in the Valley is Johnstown’s biggest opportunity of the year to present itself in the best possible light to outsiders and visitors. Outlying communities are diligently working to attract the 200,000-plus guests who come into town each year.

How will Johnstown be perceived by those guests, compared to the communities with safe streets? Whose businesses will see the cash registers ring? If the powers-that-be in city government aren’t concerned with the lives and/or safety of their Thunder guests, perhaps they should consider the possibility of lawsuits resulting from their negligence in not doing the right thing.

Greg Rager

Lakeland, Florida, and Johnstown

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