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Letter to the Editor: Equal access for disabled Veterans

By PAUL YOUNG St. George

In the Oct. 17 issue of the Sun Advocate you ran a front page article that not only caught my attention it raised my anger to the boiling point. The article entitled “Pro-access groups, supporters protest Muddy River road closure.” After reading the article through, I came to the conclusion that the Price BLM is tilted 80 degrees towards the radical extreme environmental groups such as the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and others.
Before World War II, I rode the San Rafael area from one end to the other by horse. I received in the mail one day that card which was so popular at the time, “Greetings from your friends and neighbors. You are ordered to report to Fort Douglas for induction into the Armed Services.” I went, not because I was called, but I felt the need to protect our country and all of the rights and freedoms that my country offered me.
Had I the slightest notion that my freedom, my rights and all the open latitudes that I was enjoying would sometime be challenged and taken away from me by these few radical groups, I would have caught a train for Canada. But, being a patriotic young man I was taught, if needs be, I was to fight to protect these rights. Now these elements are taking those rights away from me.
During the Japanese kamikaze attack on Attu on May 29, 1943 when they launched their last attack on 1,800 soldiers, all of which were killed except 18, after firing about 12 clips of 25 rounds per clip through my Thompson submachine gun, I had to start pouring water along the barrel after each clip to keep it cooled. But I did it for one reason only, to return back to the good old USA and Emery County and all its freedoms that were mine.
June 8, 1944, I was assigned to Gen. George S. Patton’s third army. We fought through hedge rows in France and on to Germany, and in Dec. 18, 1944, I went into the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne, France. Cold and half frozen at times, there were moments I would recall the clear skies and cool desert breezes I enjoyed atop Cedar Mountain.
Never once did the thought come to mind that some day there would be an element that would deny me my rights when I went down the Buckhorn Draw to the San Rafael and have someone tell me where I could go and where I was not allowed to go.
Richard Beardall, president of the American with Disabilities Access Alliance, is correct with the position he took. I would like to meet him someday and shake his hand for leading his organization in showing federal government agents that the disabled have as many rights as the enviro loving buddies.
I would further suggest that Mr. Beardall contact the State Commander of Disabled American Veterans for names and addresses of other disabled American veterans, with the intention of forming a rally protest to be held in front of the Price BLM office. While they are there, they could ask the director to explain to the disabled American veterans what is meant by “Once we have our resource management plan in place, we can revisit the issue of that access closure.” It was also stated by the BLM that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not come into play in this situation. This statement needs to be clarified to the disabled American veterans of the wars.
It also needs to be explained to the disabled American veterans, face to face, why they cannot drive their ATVs, if they stay on the road, or why they cannot drive their 4X4 pickups to the Hidden Splendor Mine. Explain to them why they allowed SUWA to hold their annual outing there at the Hidden Splendor Mine this spring, but now ATVs and 4X4s are no longer allowed.
Being a life member of the Disabled American Veterans Association, I have the right to know.

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