Letters to the Editor

Dec. 9, 2010

Memory of 1,177

As the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor approached on Dec. 7 and specifically the sinking of the USS Arizona, I was reminded of the inestimable loss our nation sustained.

As a former Navy Hospital Corpsman stationed aboard the USS New Jersey during the Vietnam War, our last U.S. port-of-call before assuming our duties on the gun line was Pearl Harbor. We docked directly across the harbor from the Arizona Memorial. For our stay of three days, I frequently viewed the memorial to the battleship servicemen and wondered if their fate was to be my own. It was not.

Although I am from another generation of battleship sailors, I appreciate what was sacrificed by the crew of the Arizona: they gave up everything so I could do anything. I will remain deeply appreciative. My gift to them is attached.


By Patrick C. Scheidel

1177 questions perpetually asked

lay unanswered,

soundless, still

1177 inquiries relentlessly carried

by ocean currents


returned to sender

1177 sounds like a lucky number

invoking shouts of success,

not horror, pain nor loss

no champagne bubbles here

only oily black tears surfacing

from submerged seamen

1177 are memorialized where

reverence hovers above

the sound of lapping waves

of dissipated enthusiasm

wailing for the lost souls

of Sunday violence when

morning became mourning

1177 confined memories of

an explosive fiery aftermath

haunted by unfulfilled dreams

and peaceful lives unlived

1177 smothered unanswered prayers

entombed at the bottom of the harbor

asking one question 1177 times:

“What kind of life would I have lived

had the USS Arizona been spared?”

Patrick Scheidel, Williston

Opinions wanted

In Williston Central School, the eighth graders are required to do a project called the eighth grade challenge. For my challenge, I chose to try to improve on our community facilities. Some ideas I have are a dog park, a public tree house, a historical mural, a practice wall to hit tennis balls off of at our tennis courts and brightly colored decorative flags hanging around town.

As we know, we live in a historical town. Enhancing a public building with a lovely scene depicting Williston’s history will help keep it alive. Colorful decorative flags around our town would help raise community spirit as well.

Three things that could improve our recreational facilities are a tennis backdrop for the public courts, a public tree house or a dog park. A park for dogs to play off leash with one another would help our dogs and their people stay more healthy and social. A community tree house would be a place where one could sit and eat lunch outdoors, much like the tree house at Oak Ledge Park in Burlington.

I was thinking of how to learn community opinions when I thought, “What better way to get the peoples’ attention then to put an article in the Williston Observer?” My intention with this letter is to get people to voice their preferences among these ideas, so I can pursue the most popular ones. I have set up an Internet poll to help achieve this, so please visit the following link to fill out a very brief survey and select your favorites:

I will report the results of my survey back to the Observer, and meet with town officials and potential sponsors once I have the data. Please vote your opinion soon! Thank you.

Arlo Cohen, Williston