Commentary, by fishmuscle
Two recent, opposing opinions in the Hartford Courant suggest that some may view support or opposition for the military training facility proposed for Boardman Lane as an indication of support or opposition for our armed forces. In Saturday's Courant, George Swepson, a Vietnam veteran, expresses his outrage that Middletown is opposed to building an army training facility on Boardman Lane:In Sunday's Courant, Secretary of State Bysiewicz reiterates her call for Governor Rell to step up as the leader of the Connecticut military and implement her own smart growth policies. Perhaps in response to sentiments like those of Mr. Swepson, she uses the opening sentences of her commentary to vigorously support the military and a training facility in our community:
We are at war. Where has Middletown been? More than 4,000 have been killed; 50,000 have been wounded; and more than 200,000 are still in harm's way in Afghanistan and Iraq. Additionally, another 500,000 to 600,000 members of the armed forces are ready to put their lives on the line for us at any time. And Middletown is against building training facilities? Shame on you!
As someone who grew up and currently resides in Middletown, I welcome the proposed U.S. Army training facility to our community.It is true that unlike Secretary of State Bysiewicz, the Mayor, Common Council members, and other residents of Middletown who have opposed the Army Corps of Engineers siting of the training facility first on Freeman Road and now on Boardman Lane have not often taken the time to express their profound gratitude to the members of the Armed Forces. However, it would be incorrect to interpret the absence of such statements as evidence of a lack of support for our Armed Forces. The Mayor and Common Council members, several of whom are veterans or attended one of the Service Academies, are unanimous in their opposition to the use of Boardman Lane. Many of the Middletown residents most vocal in their opposition have likewise served long proud careers in the military. It is insulting to their intelligence and service to claim that their judgment about the unsuitability of the Boardman Lane site for a military base shows a lack of support for the Armed Forces.
This essential facility will be a regional hub of training exercises for our Reserve and National Guard troops in New England. Since the tragedy of 9/11, we have all seen what a crucial role these men and women have played in our national security, both here and abroad.
The Army Corps of Engineers has not taken the time to state that they have the utmost admiration for the expressed desires of the citizens of Middletown. Nobody in Middletown has suggested that this indicates contempt of civilians by the Military. The dispute over the siting of a training facility on Boardman Lane is no more evidence of Middletown's antipathy to the Military than it is evidence of the Military's antipathy to Middletown. Middletown's residents, like the Army Corps of Engineers, want a training facility for the National Guard and Army Reserve that is built on land suitable for the facilities. To want anything else would truly be unpatriotic.