Troop Greeters At Bangor International Airport Need To Understand The Importance Of Education
I had to laugh at the articles that were printed in the Bangor Daily News recently over the reaction to comments that famed writer Stephen King made about the need to have better education in this nation. The whole ridiculous situation with the troop greeters not understanding the remarks, underscores the fact that the statement by King has validity.
Bangor author Stephen King has found himself the target of e-mailers and phone callers for what he told high school students while stressing the importance of reading at the Library of Congress on April 4: “The fact is if you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don’t, then you’ve got the Army, Iraq, I don’t know, something like that.”
What part of this statement is so hard for folks to understand? Education is the only vehicle that either propels one forward with purpose, while the lack of it stymies all hopes and aspirations. It is that simple. Well, one would think it was pretty straightforward, except if you are a troop greeter in Bangor, Maine.
At Bangor International Airport on Wednesday, a handful of troop greeters who took offense to King’s comments removed any items related to the horror writer from their room at the terminal where the photos, books and articles are traditionally displayed. The greeters indicated the items would not be displayed again until King apologized.
The best-selling author was not issuing any apologies, however, when the BDN reached him by phone at his Sarasota, Fla., winter home on Wednesday.
Referring to right-wing blogger Noel Sheppard, who helped fan the flames of criticism this week, King said, “Guys like him take their cues from [conservative commentators Rush] Limbaugh and [Bill] O’Reilly, who are adept at shifting discussion from what they don’t want to talk about, such as the failures of the war in Iraq, to what they want to talk about — supporting the troops. Of course, we all support the troops.”
The remarks by King are not unlike ones that I have made, and know to be true from close experiences.
“I see a lot of young people who don’t test well and don’t read particularly well,” he said. “When we ask them what they’re going to do, they say go into the service. If you can read, the world is open to you, your opportunities are endless. If you can’t read, your options are more limited. For low-income students with low grades, the [Armed Services] is one of their options.”
King said he doesn’t regret his remarks.
Despite all the heat he is taking, King said Wednesday he will continue his push for better education and literacy.
“I’m not going to apologize for promoting that kids get better education in high school, so they have more options,” he said. “Those that don’t agree with what I’m saying, I’m not going to change their minds.”
Public reaction to the matter has generated much back and forth, with this one catching my eye.
Troop greeters at Bangor International Airport took down pictures of Stephen King to protest comments by the Bangor author — and generous community benefactor — that students should read so they’ll have more career options than ending up in Iraq with the military. Perhaps they can replace the posters with copies of the First Amendment.