There's no place like a Mahoning Valley home

There's no place like a Mahoning Valley home
I am one of a dying breed. I can say with the utmost certainty that I will call one place my "home" for a lifetime. I tried to leave once, but returned in less than six months, knowing then that this would be the place where I would find my spouse, where I would find my job, where I would forge my friendships, where I may eventually raise my children, and where I will ultimately die.
I am inextricably tied to this place. It is my past, my present, and my future. My family, all of them, settled here, not long ago, from far away lands with hopes for a brighter future. They settled here, along the banks of a great river, to cultivate a new life in a new land.
In recent years, my home has come under intense negative scrutiny. We have problems with unemployment. Our steel mills no longer support our economy. We have problems with corruption. Many of our elected officials have been tied to organized crime. Our great river is sick. She gave her life for our young steel industry and cannot fully recover. Undoubtedly, these things must change in order for our community to once again grow and prosper. However, we can't be trapped into letting the negative images of the present keep us from calling upon our great history and our strong sense of community to move forward into the future.
My life, for instance, has been shaped, in large part, by black and white images of my father's family and a tiny, crowded, two-bedroom house on the East Side of Youngstown and by a lifetime of laughter-filled memories shared by my parents, my relatives and their friends around our kitchen table. The stories that I've grown up with are common to all who have come from this place, no matter the generation, stories of a hard-working, steadfast, and hearty people with a zest for life and a love of family and of community.
In this time of great national tragedy and mourning, let us not forget from where we came. Let's keep our families and our stories close to our hearts. This is our heritage, it's who we are, it defines us. And in the end that's all that really matters. At this moment in time, there is no place I'd rather be. I am home, surrounded by those who love me. I can only hope that all of my fellow humans have a safe haven as I do. Because now more than ever we all need a place to call "home."
Lake Milton
Little difference between traitors and terrorists
In the Oct. 5 Vindicator, one headline read "Spy's cold war confessions irk FBI." Irk, is putting it mildly!
It's been a while, 46 years to be exact, since I've had civics or history in school, but I am sure that I was taught that if you were caught as spying against your country you would get the death penalty. But I never thought anyone would stoop so low as to be a traitor to their own country. That's what I thought at 16. It didn't take me long to realize that, yes, there are people who would betray their own country.
In Robert Hanssen's case, a deal was made that allows him to avoid the death penalty. He is telling all he knows and filling the FBI in on all that he has done against our country -- yours and mine. He's telling the truth. He wouldn't lie. Give me a break.
Some of the terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11 massacre are dead, but there are others. I pray that President Bush and his cabinet won't make a deal that allows any of them to avoid the death penalty.
I couldn't care less what Bob Hanssen's thoughts might have been after hearing the news on Sept. 11. But then again, maybe he knew ahead of time.
The words traitor and terrorist are spelled differently but they mean the same in my book.
I never thought I would have to think like this but, neither did the 6,000-plus killed by cowards.