Let everyone sing 'Star-Spangled Banner'
Re: the July 4 column "'Star-Spangled Banner' needs no embellishment."
I agree with Esther Cepeda's comments that our national anthem should not be "souped-up." I would take it a step further and say it should not be performed solo. It could be led by a performer or instrumentalist, but the audience should be invited to sing along. I believe that on most occasions people want to sing it, out of love and pride for our country.
There is nothing more inspiring than a large gathering of people singing our national anthem at the top of their lungs, no matter what their musical skill level. However, I have to admit that I love the way The Messengers (a Tucson men's trio) sing at University of Arizona sporting events. They could lead us!
Commission funding helps arts in TUSD
Re: the July 11 article "Arts Commission passes out $1.8M."
Part of the Arizona Commission on the Arts' windfall funding is the Strengthening Schools through Arts Partnerships Program. We at Opening Minds through the Arts of Tucson Unified School District, in collaboration with Odaiko Sonora and Maxwell K-8 School, are proud to be the only Tucson recipient awarded one of only four of these grants statewide. This funding will assist us in introducing innovative taiko drumming instruction to fifth- and sixth-graders that will improve test scores and enhance student-learning behaviors.
As Tucson Museum of Arts' grants manager Michael Fenlason points out, diligence in the granting process does not just occur during the application phase. Like our colleagues, our main work will be in the quality execution of the projects to prove that the confidence placed in us is deserved and taxpayer money is efficiently utilized.
A big thank you to State Sen. Steve Farley for his inspirational arts-funding idea.
Opening Minds Through the Arts
Border walls divide communities, families
Re: the July 12 guest column "We need sensible immigration reform; Operation Streamline must end."
Thank you for the excellent guest column. Immigration reform has become nothing more than a stimulus package for the defense and prison industries. Maybe someday we'll recognize the folly of trying to separate families by building walls.
As President Obama said, speaking in Berlin June 19, 2013, "Their (the German people's) strength and their passion, their enduring example remind us that for all the power of militaries, for all the authority of governments, it is citizens who choose whether to be defined by a wall, or whether to tear it down."
Border security will only come when we address our global economic, trade and political policies that force so many people to migrate in the first place.
Closing of D-M library a distressing move
Re: the July 1 guest column "Closing D-M library hurts students on base."
After reading Kendra Gaines' guest column regarding the closing of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base library, I was disappointed nothing was ever mentioned in our local newspaper. I worked in elementary-school libraries and volunteered in libraries and saw the joy on the faces of children as they read a book or used a computer to complete their project for a research paper.
Closing any library is sad, but closing the D-M library certainly is making it more difficult for the military and their families and that saddens me greatly. When the government cuts funding and hurts military personnel and their families - while giving foreign aid to countries that hate us - that infuriates me.
Retired, Oro Valley
Mayor's column pointless
Re: the July 14 guest column "Set aside differences, build on strengths and help Tucson move forward."
I just happened to read the guest column by Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. At first I thought I had opened to the comics. It's a good thing they passed a bond issue; if not, our streets might be in terrible shape. Way to go Mr. Mayor and council.
Donald F. Bernier