The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


May 14, 2013

Readers' Forum 5-14 | Conemaugh Valley musicals incomparable

— On May 9 and 10, I watched my children as they participated in the Conemaugh Valley Elementary spring concerts. In a day and age when the arts are being drastically cut by school boards, I am pleased with the school board, administration, teachers and staff at Conemaugh Valley and how they continue year after year to support music in our district.

It gives me great joy to watch as my children play in the band and sing and dance on stage, sharing with the audience songs that demonstrate not only their music abilities but also the academics they have been learning all year.

We are blessed to have great music teachers in Allen Bixel and Lauren Morus who willingly share their love of music every day.

Kudos Conemaugh Valley music department for, yet again, another wonderful set of elementary spring concerts.

Dawn Lybarger

East Conemaugh

Seventy-four ‘heroes’ deserve recognition

June 3 will mark the 44th anniversary of a disastrous collision in the South China Sea just miles off the coast of Vietnam.

At 3:15 a.m., the USS Frank E. Evans DD-754, a destroyer-class warship, was completely cut in half by the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne. The forward section sunk in less than three minutes. Seventy-four young men honorably serving the United States of America payed the ultimate price. Five victims were from Pennsylvania: Patrick Corcoran of Philadelphia; Raymond Earley of Shenandoah, Schuylkill County; Stephen Fagan of Huntingdon; Donald Gearhart of Lewistown, Mifflin County; and Victor Rikal of Butler.

The names of these 74 heroes have not been inscribed upon the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall because the circumstances of their death appear to not meet the Department of Defense’s criteria. The DOD has made exceptions and waived its own criteria from time to time to add others. The USS Frank E. Evans Association, with many supporters nationwide, believes an exception should be made in this case as well.

The USS Frank E. Evans Association and the families of the 74 are asking all Americans who support our position to  please contact your government representatives and senators by telephone, electronically, letters, etc. Let them know you want those 74 heroes’ names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.

Make that black wall their last port of call. Give them the glory they deserve and the honor and dignity they’ve earned.

Ed Holsopple


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