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Aretha, McCain had much to teach us

Editor, The Beacon:

What an emotional week! We mourned the passing of two heroes, from two different worlds, each overcoming obstacles many of us cannot even imagine. They did not just overcome their obstacles, they triumphed over them.

Aretha Franklin sang from her heart to those engaged in the struggle for human rights. Out of her pain, she exemplified, and called for, respect for others. 

Sen. John McCain spoke from his heart to all who would listen, about his values and his vision for America. Out of his pain, Sen. McCain exemplified, and called for, respect for others.

According to dictionary.com, “respect” means: “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person.” Respect for others is implicit in our founding documents. Respect for others is essential for the healing of our polarized America.

Let us not just grieve Aretha Franklin and Sen. McCain. Let us heed them. Let us respect one another. Let us reject arbitrary assumptions and judgments about one another. Let us begin with the recognition that we are all human; we are all persons of worth and excellence. 

In our relationships and conversations with other persons, let us express and uphold our highest values.

The message of Jesus was one of active nonviolence. He was not a pacifist. He was a “Maverick.” His was the successful strategy adopted by Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Aretha Franklin and Sen. John McCain (to name just a few).

Jesus stood up. He spoke out. He did not retreat. He persisted. He remained silent when threatened and tortured. He remained true to his values, his vision, and his message.

America would benefit from such a strategy.

Daniel Vaughen



Thanks Beacon for coverage

Editor, The Beacon:

As president of the Deltona Woman’s Club, I would like to thank you for The Beacon’s coverage of our Meet the Candidates event for those running for office in this area.

We also want to thank Al Everson for the coverage both before and after the event. It was a great success.

Thank you to the candidates and residents who attended even through the rain. Many charities will be benefiting from the candidate reservation payment.

Josephine Carilli

Deltona Woman’s Club

Complete definition of Trump Derangement Syndrome

Editor, The Beacon:

For clarification purposes, the full and complete definition of Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS, is as follows: A condition of advanced and extreme delusional thinking resulting in the belief that an individual who is documented to have told more than 4,229 lies while holding public office, who consistently bullies the less fortunate, and who, prior to lying and cheating his way into said public office, was the subject of greater than 3,500 lawsuits for reneging on contracts, is, in any stretch of the imagination, qualified to perform the job of chicken-plucker, let alone one of political leadership.

Further, the TDS disorder has been shown repeatedly to cause otherwise decent Americans to bend, twist and shred the truth so as to explain away, justify, and generally hold harmless the Grade A con man and charlatan acting as the president and namesake of the syndrome (i.e., Trump).

The sickness is sad and disheartening to watch, as it inflames one-in-three citizens to act against their own financial best interests and the broad national welfare.

However, the worst consequences of TDS occur in the future in terms of damage done to the stability and effectiveness of our economy; the degradation of public education; the weakening of our health care, infrastructure and environment; the undermining of the rule of law; and in the widespread distrust and disdain for our country from our global friends and allies.

The only known cures for TDS are massive infusions of honesty, integrity, truth, ethics, and moral perseverance — and even then, the recovery from Trump Derangement Syndrome may take years.

Greg Heeter


Be like Brit

Editor, The Beacon:

Recently, I was with friends at Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co. Somewhere in one of our conversations, Haiti was mentioned, and I was able to contribute a few comments, since our church is a “Be Like Brit” sponsor whose vision is to raise the next generation of Haitian leaders.

Most people don’t know Haiti was the wealthiest country in that part of the world at one time when it was a French colony. After the French Revolution, France freed the slaves — who outnumbered the slave owners 4 to 1 — but the slave owners would not free them, so then came the slave rebellions.

Eventually a Democratic Republic was established, though the odds always seemed to be against it.

There were hurricanes to contend with almost every year — way before hurricanes were named — a lot of corruption in the government, and the forests were denuded.

Many find Haiti’s situation a hopeless one. That’s where Britney comes in.

She was a “beautiful, fearless and compassionate” 19-year-old girl from Worcester, Massachusetts, who, after attending school at Lynn University in Boca Raton, went to Haiti on a college service trip in 2010.

Tragically, a catastrophic earthquake hit on her second day in Haiti. After 33 days, her body was recovered from the rubble.

Before her death, Britney had sent the following to her mom:

“They love us so much, and everyone is so happy. They love what they have, and they work so hard to get nowhere, yet they are all so appreciative. I want to move here and start an orphanage myself.”

Brit’s family fulfilled her last wish and began the Be Like Brit Foundation. Today, Brit’s home is a 19,000-square-foot, earthquake-proof home for 33 girls and 33 boys. 

This home and school teach the children in their own language, as opposed to some of the other schools run by other agencies, which charge for students to take annual proficiency tests and entrance exams to universities — charges their families are hard-pressed to pay.

Someone once said the greatest human attribute was hope, and Be Like Brit is offering just that to an up-and-coming new generation in Haiti who will someday help turn things around in that nation.

Those of us at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Lake Helen are grateful that, in God’s providence, we were able to connect with Be Like Brit and be a part of it.

Lewis C. Long III

Lake Helen

— Long is a retired Air Force chaplain.