LETTERS: On Memorial Day, Bicentennial Trail arroyo, county courthouse, Russia and chained dogs

Arroyo’s beauty

The Bicentennial Trail between Dove Avenue and Trenton Road contributes greatly to the health and wellbeing of my neighborhood. We are lucky that this trail is removed from the roadway, positioned on the other side of the arroyo, farther from the air pollution and traffic noise than many of the other trail segments. A great many of my neighbors use this lovely trail daily for exercise, enjoyment of nature, and most fortunately for making new friends from the neighborhood.

This spring, the city of McAllen has treated us especially well. The glorious sunflower and wildflower meadow that abuts the arroyo has been allowed to flourish, providing a home for a flock of red-winged blackbirds and other birds. Each morning’s walk is now a stroll in the country, a beautiful interlude in the day, a chance to enjoy more of nature than we typically see in McAllen.

I am grateful to the city for leaving us this beauty, for allowing the birds a chance to raise their young nearby and to eat some of our mosquitoes. Most years the grass and flowers have been shaved down to the soil long before May. While I understand that the arroyo will eventually have to be cleared for flood control, I would encourage the city to continue this nature-friendly behavior.

Julia Jorgensen,

McAllen

Russian influence

Jake Longoria’s recent letter asked readers if they were influenced by Russia in their choice of candidates between his beloved Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I, too, invite commentary from The Monitor’s readership who, like me, don’t care for Longoria’s views or his pseudo-scientific study. The Russian influence in our election was like drinking too much Russian vodka. You can’t smell it but you drink enough you will be influenced. Perhaps that is his problem.

Felipe Garcia,

Edinburg

New county courthouse

I repeatedly read and hear in our local media that there is a proposed and attractive alternative to the very controversial plans for the new Hidalgo County courthouse. The current plans put it in the same swampy site. But there is a much more conveniently accessible site not in the current, storm water drainage-challenged site in low-lying “downdrown” Edinburg’s courthouse square.

We citizens will eagerly listen to learn more, especially, if any practical proposal is verified that could save money — our tax money — and deliver a quality courthouse.

K.C. Fletcher,

Pharr

Memorial Day tribute

Memorial Day is the federal holiday that was designated after the Civil War in 1867 to honor and remember the personal sacrifices of our brave American soldiers who fought and died for this great country.

But Texas history has long forgotten Lt. Col. Juan Seguin and his Tejanos who conducted the military burial for the burnt ashes of the defenders of the Alamo 30 years prior on Feb. 25, 1837.

After fighting for Texas independence in five different battles, including the Battle of San Jacinto, Capt Seguin was promoted to a lieutenant colonel and commander of the Western frontier (San Antonio).Upon entering the city to pay his respects for his fallen comrades of the Alamo, Seguin discovered a large pile of ashes inside the Alamo and two smaller piles outside the Alamo, close to the Alameda, the cottonwood trees at the eastern entrance of the city. A coffin was quickly made and neatly covered in black with the names of Travis, Bowie, and Crockett inscribed inside the coffin lid. The Texas flag was draped over the coffin with a sword and musket laid on top. The church bells of San Fernando rang all day long until internment that afternoon. Most of the ashes from the two smaller piles were laid inside the coffin, with Seguin’s Tejanos firing three volleys of musket fire at each site. Then Seguin led the funeral procession to the burial site where the large pile of ashes was placed in a peach orchard, close to the Alamo.

Seguin gave the eulogy in Spanish that included: “I invite you to declare to the entire world, that Texas will be free and independent or we shall perish in glorious combat.” According to Seguin’s memoirs, a coffin with some of the ashes was also buried in front of the altar of San Fernando Church close to the steps out of respect for the fallen Catholic defenders of the Alamo. In 1936, construction crews discovered remains of a coffin, bones, skulls, and ashes in front of San Fernando altar, but the exact location of the peach orchard was lost forever.

Lt. Col. Seguin and his Tejanos would be happy and honored to know that their tradition of honoring and remembering the personal sacrifices of our country’s soldiers is still being celebrated on Memorial Day. It’s a Tejano tradition.

Jack Ayoub, Harlingen

Edinburg elections

It would appear that the proverbial smoke has lead investigators to the fire in the last Edinburg election. The headlines in Friday’s Monitor would indicate that, since arrests have been made, there is more than just supposition and opinion involved. Congratulations! However, I have a question: Why are the lowly minions, the symptoms of the Valley’s electioneering disease, the only ones being arrested? When are they going to work on the causes of this disease that are still in their offices at the top levels of some county, city, school districts, and desks at the Valley’s largest corporations?

Ned Sheats, Mission

Don’t chain dogs

The tragic, fatal mauling of a 4-year-old Converse boy by his family’s tethered pit bull-mix should serve as a wake-up call for the need to regulate breeding pit bulls and to strengthen anti-tethering laws. Chained dogs are more likely to be neglected and to become territorial and aggressive. According to the CDC, tethered dogs are nearly three times more likely to attack than untethered dogs. One study found a quarter of fatal dog attacks are by chained dogs. Pit bulls are especially vulnerable, targeted by dog fighters and others who chain, beat, and starve them to turn them into cheap alarm systems or living weapons. Pit bull overpopulation, abuse, and attacks can be addressed logically and humanely with legislation that regulates the breeding and ownership of these dogs. Such ordinances have proved effective. Legislators must act before more kids and dogs get hurt.

Teresa Chagrin, PETA, Norfolk, Virginia

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