Letters to the Editor
Respect request regarding carillon
Over the past few weeks, I've been reading a few letters to the editor regarding the electronic carillon bells at the cemetery. I felt that the first letter, asking that the volume be turned down and the electronic carillon not play so late, had a well stated argument from a nearby resident who found the sound intrusive. I feel the original letter was very polite and contained a very reasonable request, and since the person in charge of the electronic bells could not be located, it made sense for the author to send a letter to the community at large, in the hopes that the responsible party would see it.
The responses I've seen so far have completely missed the point. This is not about complaining just to have something to complain about, and it's not about comparing the sound in the cemetery to the sound you hear coming from a car on the road by your house. This is about common courtesy, and being a good neighbor (something that I was brought up to believe is important). In this case, the person who is affected by the sound from the electronic bells is asking (respectfully) that the volume be turned down, and late-night playing be stopped. A good neighbor (in this case, whoever is in charge of the electronic carillon bells) would take this request in the spirit it was made, and accommodate the request to the extent possible (which, in this case, would be turning down the volume and not having the electronic bells play so late at night).
I hope that whoever is in charge of the electronic bells at the cemetery will view the original letter as a request for common courtesy between neighbors, and act accordingly.
As a night cashier at Coborn's in Morris, I recently found my place in the community after having lived here for almost a year. I have yet to work a job in my few years of life that affords as much community building as this one. I find that I enjoy the company of those who have had a completely different life experience than I have because of the resulting variety in outlooks on life. Regardless of their philosophy, I have found the people of Morris to be an accepting people, looking past faults and, more importantly, differences, without much difficulty.
So it was that I was shocked and appalled at the ignorance of Mr. Ted Storck's letter to the editor in the July 26 Sun Tribune. Mr. Storck maintains that it is taking the separation of church and state too far to exclude Christmas from the holidays listed in the Morris Area School's annual calendar.
In response to Mr. Storck: No, it's not taking it too far. The calendar is published by a government organization. The other holidays listed in Mr. Storck's complaint are those which can be joyfully celebrated by the American people as a whole because of the intrinsic value to American culture and the values we as Americans should hold. Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Day and the rest are remembered because they celebrate the courage, dedication and, indeed, admiration Americans traditionally hold for freedom, both idealistic and religious freedom.
While I would agree with those who state that Christmas has come a long way from the traditional celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ to the over-commercialized yearly shopping spree, I still hold that is is just that: a celebration of Christians for the birth of their messiah. To say that the government, through this particular school district, should include in the list of holidays a single religious holiday -- and not even the most important holy day of that religion, at that -- is inane.
We live in a country built upon the promise of religious freedom. If the government, even on the local level, were to endorse one particular take on salvation, it would not be pushing but breaking the very statutes of that separation of church and state.
If it is any consolation to Mr. Storck, I was dismayed by the absence of Yom Kippur from the calendar, as well.
Daniel J. Callahan