Speak Up

Summer memory

I recently asked a mother what her daughter would be doing during summer recess. Her elementary school offered no programs so the daughter would accompany her parents to their jobs. This made me recall my wonderful summer vacations with my best friend and family.

My best friend lived next door, and Auburndale Elementary, which we attended, was half a block away. We walked to the school, where we played knock-hocky, ping-pong, checkers, marbles, jacks and softball.

When we stayed home, we made up games or played tether ball and volley ball, which my dad had set up in the back yard. We also would lay on the lawn, watch the clouds, and talk about anything. We rode our bikes everywhere and skated without a care in the world.

Summer recess during junior high school, my cousin and I spent many days at Venetian Pool or Shenandoah Pool. Elvis Presley played via the loud speaker and we downed many a hot dog.

At least one day a week, my mom took us to the downtown library, and we checked out as many books as allowed.

Then mom took us to Burdine’s downtown, where we ate lunch and enjoyed the Princess dessert.

It was a different time. It was a great time.

Ellen D. Coulton,

South Miami

Cuba cruises

I worked as a tour guide for Carnival Cruise’s Fathom on the first Cuba sailings in 2016. I fell in love with the country and its people.

Obviously, the government isn’t perfect, but passengers coming for the day injected much-needed tourism into the economy, where high paying opportunities are scarce. Teachers quit their jobs to become tour guides and surgeons drove taxis because the tips were better than hospital salaries.

Shore excursions are run exclusively by the government. After the 2017 announcement, removing individual people-to-people, passengers were led to believe the only legal way to see Cuba was through an official ship excursion. The cruise lines took advantage of this confusion to sell more tours, funneling even more money to Castro and less to the Cuban people. This was not the blow Trump intended.

Now, for the first time in three years, American ships don’t come, the buses don’t leave, and the Cubans don’t get their tips.

The cruise lines are more than happy to divert itineraries to their private islands, where locals are even more segregated from passenger dollars.

Gregory Shapiro,

New York, NY

Trump in Normandy

As a daughter of a member of the “greatest generation,” I was appalled, but unfortunately not surprised, by President Trump’s demeanor in Normandy.

Using the sacred backdrop of the multitude of cemetery markers before his speech to honor military veterans at a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, President Trump chose to insult the memory of the fallen by engaging in a verbal attack against Nancy Pelosi and Robert Mueller.

By contrast, when Speaker Pelosi was approached by a journalist and asked to comment regarding the issue of impeachment, her response was, “I don’t talk about the president while I’m out of the country... That’s my principle.”

None of the grave markers at Normandy designates a political party. We should remember that those who fought in WWII, and those who gave their lives, knew what they were fighting for: They fought for America and our allies.

My father-in-law was an Army flight surgeon and was one of the first to enter the German concentration camps. My father was in the Navy on a minesweeper in the Aleutians and the Pacific. He helped pull men from a torpedoed ship.

I don’t know whether my father was a Democrat or a Republican, because he thought that a vote was our duty, and private. What I do know is that both of these honorable men would have been appalled by President Trump’s behavior in France.

Regardless of political affiliation, shouldn’t we all be appalled?

Wendy J. Halpern,


No witch hunt

The president keeps saying the Mueller investigation should end because he’s innocent, has nothing to hide or cover up, and it’s all a witch hunt.

Well, he controls that. All he needs to do is provide all of the information that Congress has requested and tell all of his people to testify if requested. Of course, that means he would have less to tweet about and he would not like that.

G. Holmes Braddock,


Severe treatment

The Trump administration has ended schooling, soccer, lawyers and art, as reporter Monique Madan wrote in the front page story about the Homestead “shelter.”

Taking these away, especially soccer, is Draconian, when Caliburn, the management company that got a no-bid contract, is paid nearly $800/child/day. Money is not the issue.

What did these children do? Nothing but obey their parents. All Americans should be upset by this treatment of children.

Tom Comerford,

Pompano Beach

Shelter privileges

I am appalled by the Trump administration’s decision to cut aid to detention centers that house unaccompanied migrant children!

Trump is using these children as pawns in order to deter border crossings — I get it, as the situation is out of control. But using innocent children to thwart illegal crossings is not the solution. This is a despicable and heartless tactic.

During these times, I find it tougher and tougher to say: “I am proud to be an American,” for this is not what the America I know and love is all about!

Carmen Jacobson,

West Kendall

[Editor’s note: Due to an editing error, the following letter did not appear in its entirety in Friday’s edition]

Educate shelter kids

I am an average citizen of Miami-Dade, but in the summer of 1980 I became a part of history! I welcomed 88 Mariel boat lift teens to the United States, to Miami, and to the English language. As an ESOL teacher at South Miami Senior High, I felt that I had done God’s business and my patriotic duty.

Imagine my distress to read that Caliburn does not have the money to continue education for the migrant children in the Homestead Detention Center, yet we taxpayers spend $750 per day on each child. This position is ridiculous.

I educated my students in 1980 with a little chalk, some pictures, and much imagination. It is time for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools to take over the educational programs at the camp.

We did not create this situation, but we must all become a part of the solution. We need to let our schools help these children.

John Branstetter,