This is my country, too

America is named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci of the early 16th century. Many other countries are named after an ethnic group — Franks, Mexica, Angles, Somali, — some even after a goddess (Eriu), Ireland. Better if we had used a native term like the Mexicans to name our country. Too late.

Only to point out that we are mostly a nation of outsiders. "America," one person originally, became a nation with a history of welcoming those oppressed from abroad. No longer. President Trump has conducted a policy of demonizing outsiders and immigrants, combining it with a rhetoric of hate toward non-whites and non-Christians inside the country. Divisive and not "American."

I do not want to live in "Trumpland" for much longer. Will I need to return to my "homeland"? Personally, I do have a choice, as a dual national. However, the USA is my home, and I love it still and will stay and fight for what is right. Forget the tweets to "go back."

Certainly, Amerigo trumps the "Donald" in vision. Excuse the pun. We cannot forget our history, the native peoples and the "outsiders" - the Africans, Europeans and Asians, who made this country a great nation, a project still in the making.

Nicholas Freidin


West Virginia has unrealized potential

West Virginia needs to take pride in what we have. It is wild and wonderful. We need to continue to emphasize West Virginia history in our schools and promote it in our tourism industry. The state parks are beautiful and there are people willing to travel here to experience all we offer, but unfortunately we who live here don't see our surroundings as special.

We need to take advantage of our opportunities before we lose them. For example, the fall colors train tour this October with round-trip service from Huntington to Hinton is a great way to spend a weekend day seeing what God has blessed us with before it's gone.

At the same time, in the recent past I have been sad to see history going to waste. Although there were a few nice people working at the West Virginia State Farm Museum with many fascinating vintage exhibits, for the most part they are stuffed away and deteriorating.

At Point Pleasant, long after a fire did damage to the River Museum, from what I hear the local government is letting it go. In Huntington we have a statue of the man our city was named after going to waste with a barely readable plaque. In addition, we have an outdoor train museum that is locked up. Instead of expanding it we are letting it go.

I know all these things take money and people, but let's make an investment in what we have.

Steve Spaulding

Hurricane, W.Va.

Opioid woes reveal local media's value

Congratulations to The Herald-Dispatch, whose parent company, working with the Charleston-Gazette Mail and cooperating with The Washington Post, uncovered a secret database allowing the public to track the manufacture and distribution of prescription drugs, including billions of opioids.

It is just this kind of investigative journalism that proves the importance of local print news media.

This information will be crucial to the success of litigation, begun in Huntington and now combined with over 2,000 cities, counties, Native American tribes and other government entities against the manufacturers and distributors of opioids, causing the worst public health crisis in our history.

Lake Polan

Proctorville, Ohio


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