I am writing about the response from Lee Becker in the OP/ED "Letters from our Readers" segment dated June 2, titled "Memorial Day is not a soap box."
My intent by responding to this article is not to perpetuate the issue, but bring it to closure. As you know, the article in question was printed on the front page in the May 21 edition of the newspaper titled, "Memorial Day services set in Lehighton," and went on to mention the times, place, and who would be speaking at the various services held throughout the area on this particular weekend.
In this piece it would come to mention that Ronald Rabenold, fifth grade teacher and state representative candidate would be the speaker at Union Hill cemetery, which apparently caused great ire to Lee Becker.
All the accusations cast at you were totally out of line. There was never any intent to give Ronald Rabenold any free back door publicity, nor at any time was there an attempt to politicize Memorial Day for this would be totally wrong. The reporter that wrote the article copied verbatim from the Lehighton U.V.O. Memorial Day brochure which was proof read before going to publishing.
What was written behind Ronald's name is what he is: nothing more, nothing less. There was no mention of political affiliation and there couldn't be because veteran's organizations cannot endorse politicians. The fervor that Lee Becker had for something like this is just unimaginable.
In closing, I would like to say that no soap box oratoricals were conducted, and had no place to be during this special weekend. All services conducted by the Lehighton U.V.O. were done with dignity, honor and respect for our fallen comrades. Proper military prodigal was followed at all times.
As for Ronald Rabenold speaking at Union Hill Cemetery, he was introduced by me as an educator at Lehighton Area Middle School, and nothing else. He spoke only of the sacrifices of the veterans and have historical references about the veterans from the Union Hill area that perished in defense or our great nation.
We all know what Memorial Day is, what it means, and the sacrifices of those who lost they lives, and the families, friends and loved ones who have to bear with that loss every day. NEVER and I mean NEVER would politics ever take precedence over such a sacred holiday such as this.
K.M. "Spike" Long
Lehighton U.V.O. president