No place to park

In reference to the parking situation at the VA hospital, many veterans go early for appointments to get a parking space. Many disabled veterans simply don't have that option.

Those veterans are disabled because they chose to do the right and honorable thing by serving their country instead of their own self- interest. The so-called free health care is far from free. The writer of a letter who took cheap shots at veterans should stop and thank a veteran for preserving his right to insult them.

He should also take the time to ride down to the VA hospital and circle the building a few times until he finds a parking space and then walk inside. He will witness firsthand the price of freedom and will find very little inside those walls that is laughable.

J. T. Thomas

Sea Foam Street

Summerville

Constitution Week

Constitution Week, Sept. 17-23, commemorates the signing of the Constitution of the United States. Let us celebrate this week by resolving to be a better-informed and responsible citizens. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “With all the imperfections of our present government, it is without comparison the best existing, or that ever did exist.”

Please join with the Eliza Lucas Pinckney Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and other local DAR chapters to commemorate this important event in our homes, schools and communities.

Gail L. Newton

Regent

Eliza Lucas Pinckney Chapter NSDAR

Bampfield Drive

Mount Peasant

No-fishing zones

Columnist Matt Winter described a plan to create new Southeast marine protected areas in his Sept. 8 column, “Battle looms over no-fishing zones.”

For those concerned about the health of our oceans and fish populations, there should be little to fight over when federal fish managers discuss the idea. The areas are intended to protect two imperiled deep-water species, speckled hind and warsaw grouper, for which just 5 and 6 percent, respectively, of fully reproductive populations remain. The plan would also provide safe havens for recovering species, such as red grouper.

A previous rule to achieve these goals closed almost 150,000 square miles of ocean to deep-water fishing, but that rule was lifted last year. Instead, managers are considering a new plan to reconfigure up to four existing protected areas and create up to 12 new ones ranging from two to 89 square miles.

The areas, sprinkled between North Carolina and Florida, better target key habitat and spawning sites that are critical to these depleted species. Managers of these zones will likely allow fishing at the surface because the species that need protection live in deeper waters.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's expert panel already has narrowed the list of sites, removing several popular fishing spots, such as North Carolina's Big Rock, which Mr. Winter mentioned in his column.

The locations now under discussion are based on recommendations made by that 16-member panel of expert fishermen and scientists.

We need more collaboration, not dispute, to protect our precious marine resources.

Leda Dunmire

Manager,

U.S. Oceans, Southeast

The Pew Charitable Trusts

Bee Street

Tavernier, Fla.

Pig competition

Being from “off,” I don't have the emotional connection to The Pig that locals do, although I admire their support of community fund-raising. To me, it's just another supermarket, and if it's not keeping up with the other markets in all areas of the business, it doesn't get my business. People generally don't shop out of nostalgia; they look for a good product, a clean facility, friendly employees.

I'm sorry to hear about Piggly Wiggly's current troubles, but it's no surprise to me.

Eileen Hoffman

Avondale Avenue

Charleston

Thanks, Charleston

The Lt. Dan Weekend meant a great deal to me, the volunteers and most importantly the severely injured veterans who were hosted at the Sept. 14 concert. I wish that I had the email address of everyone who joined the veterans at the concert, to thank them for showing their support for these heroes.

Seeing Sen. Tim Scott and Sen. Lindsey Graham on stage voicing their support for these heroes and our initiatives to support them made me immensely proud of this 100 percent Lowcountry volunteer effort. These veterans all had wonderfully complimentary things to say regarding the warmth and hospitality that they were shown at every turn. Charleston became as much a tool of healing for these battered warriors as anything, and for this we cannot thank you enough.

One warrior who attended, Mike Verardo, was hit twice in IED attacks while serving as an infantryman with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan in 2010. The second attack blew off his left leg and his left arm (the left arm was partially reattached and reconfigured but is paralyzed).

The attack also resulted in a traumatic brain injury and severe burns. Mike was medically retired from active duty in January of this year and told me that one of the most special aspects of this weekend didn't occur for him until we were all on the lawn during the Lt. Dan concert.

“Among my regrets related to my injuries, was that my fiancee, Sarah, and I were never able to enjoy a traditional homecoming as my journey out of Afghanistan was by Medivac to Germany, then Walter Reed,” Mike said.

“When I woke from the coma a week later, it wasn't the homecoming I imagined that she and I would share. Being able to walk out on the field with her, and see the love and support of the people of Charleston was truly one of the most touching moments of my life.

“I'm not one for fanfare, but it was incredibly important to me that she and I could share in that excitement and sentiment. Thank you for that.”

Unlike many of the veterans who attended last week's event, Mike had met Gary Sinise, aka Lt. Dan, before. It was while he was at Walter Reed, unable to walk.

“Gary sat on my hospital bed with me and told me that I would walk again. That I would live a happy and full life,” Mike said.

Seeing Mr. Sinise again two years later and being able to walk over to say hello to him was a special moment for Mike and Sarah that reminded them how far they have come in their recovery.

So thank you, Mr. Sinise, and thank you, Charleston, for being a part of it.

Steve Danyluk

Lt. Colonel

Marine Corps Reserves

Planters Lane

Jacksonville, N.C.

Editor's Note:

Earlier versions of the above letter incorrectly identified the two U.S. senators who appeared onstage at the Lt. Dan Concert.  

No shame here

Postal workers are all disgruntled employees an inch away from workplace violence. Newspapers will run anything if it will sell papers. Politicians are only in government so they can feather their own nests. All of these are examples of lazy, cliché thinking. The same is true of the outdated notions about factory-built homes perpetuated in the Sept. 16 article about Miss America.

Today's manufactured home is a far cry from the old mobile home of the '60s and '70s and is the only path to homeownership for many S.C. families. The idea of constructing homes in a factory is the American competitive market system's answer to the need for reasonably priced homes. Nine out of 10 manufactured homes are placed permanently on the homesite. All are built to a stringent national building codes.

Yes, 17 percent of S.C. families live in manufactured homes. Does that say anything embarrassing about South Carolina? Only that there is a huge demand for affordable homes in South Carolina, and that the use of modern construction methods is one way to provide it.

Mark Dillard

Executive Director

Manufactured Housing

Institute of South Carolina

Silvermill Court

Columbia

Correction

The first sentence of Joseph W. Mancy's guest column on Thursday's Commentary page should have read: “During the last three of my 28 years in the U.S. Air Force, I was honored to serve the commander of the U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), based at Kelley Barracks, just outside of Stuttgart, Germany.”