- The Washington Times - Friday, October 19, 2001

Grab the shovel

Talk about sensational, get a load of this press release after the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Garden, located on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol:

"Speaker Dennis Hastert and his wife, Jean, under anthrax attack at the Capitol, rushed from a press conference on the Hill yesterday morning to do the groundbreaking for the new National Garden."


Talk about timing

The U.S. Postal Service, at the urging of Muslim groups in this country, recently issued a postage stamp recognizing the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr or "feast of fast-breaking" which ends the annual fasting month of Ramadan.

But one postal clerk in the Washington area informs us he's had trouble selling the 34-cent "EID" stamps printed in Arabic writing calling them "the least popular commemorative."

Which comes as no surprise, unfortunately, given the terrorist anthrax attacks via the U.S. mail of recent weeks.

For years, U.S. Muslim groups have urged such a stamp as "one sign that the Muslim presence in America is being recognized."

The Eid ends the month when Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from daybreak to sunset and concentrate on God's commandments. Observance of the fast is one of the "five pillars" of the Muslim faith.


Hurry up

A coalition of nine senators, organized by Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, is asking President Bush to mobilize all available resources to speed the destruction of deadly Cold War chemical weapons still stored at depots in eight states.

In the interim, the senators want military personnel to continue defending the storage sites in Indiana, Maryland, Alabama, Kentucky, Utah, Arkansas, Colorado and Oregon.

"The inadvertent release of chemical agents from any of these facilities in any direction would be catastrophic," the senators warn in a letter to Mr. Bush.

Already, we're told, the Bush White House has taken quick action to secure the facilities with U.S. Army troops. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration has established restricted flight zones over the facilities, considering them "high-risk targets."

Surprisingly, in their letter to Mr. Bush reprinted for reporters the senators identify the name of each storage depot and the state where it's located. We decided not to repeat those names and locations, for fear the "sleeper" terrorists may be reading.


Worthy of a name

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle will be interested to read the response to our item yesterday on the calendar date of Sept. 11 becoming a designated national day of mourning and remembrance, per congressional resolution.

Americans are asked on that date each year to lower U.S. flags to half-staff and observe a moment of silence.

The majority of readers who wrote to us, however, oppose two points made by Mr. Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, concerning the new national day of mourning and remembrance.

"The reverse of what [this] resolution proposes is needed, surely," writes Floyd W. Whitley, of Cottonwood, Idaho. "Forbid the flag to be lowered, ever, in the face of such a hideous evil terrorist assault. To lower it would give credence to the demonic acts, and acknowledge that America can indeed be cowed before such actions.

"The terrorists want respect and acknowledgment in their quarter, and lowering our standard annually gives them that which they seek," Mr. Whitley explains. "It likely too would be cause for more celebrations in the warrens that breed these perverted butchers."

As for giving the new national day an appropriate name, Mr. Daschle informed us that "every description has fallen short. And so we simply refer to the date: September 11."

But several column readers, including Bobby Florentz of Falls Church, aren't so sure there's not a fitting name for the national day.

"September 11 shouldn't be a day of victimhood, but rather a day to honor world trade and free societies," suggests Mr. Florentz, urging that something else positive rise up from the terrorist attacks. He offers these examples:

World Trade Day

Free Trade Day

Democracy Day

World Freedom Day

Ultimate Justice Day

United Day

United We Stand Day

Patriot Day

Unity Day

In God We Trust Day

Indivisible Day

Liberty Day

Inside the Beltway readers who wish to submit other name suggestions are invited to do so, preferably by e-mail, to the address below. All submissions will be forwarded to Mr. Daschle and Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, the resolution's co-sponsors.


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