Within Living Memory (copy)

In this June 10, 1944, file photo, U.S. troops move inland from an established beachhead at Omaha Beach in the Normandy region of France. Ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day in June 2019, reminded us that an entire generation is fading from the world stage. 

Father’s role on D-Day

Regarding the June 6 World-Herald article “D-Day, as experienced by Nebraskans”: My father, Dale Stofferson, was also privileged to represent the state of Nebraska during World War II.

Seventy-five years ago, he landed at Omaha Beach with the 1st Infantry Division assault that spearheaded the invasion of Normandy. He was an Army medic who made three combat amphibious landings: in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and France. During his three years of service to his country, he earned two Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and two Bronze Stars. He was truly a hero and part of the greatest generation.

After his death in 1996, our family was honored during a Veterans Day ceremony at the State Capitol. Eight murals by the artist Stephen Roberts were unveiled in the Capitol’s Memorial Chamber, one of which showed Nebraska servicemen from Word War I through Desert Storm. Our family was truly blessed to see our father’s face forever honored as part of this tribute to our state’s service members.

It brings our family joy knowing that members of our community still honor those men who served so valiantly so many years ago.

Leslie Stofferson Brady, Papillion

OSERS trustees being responsible

I was disappointed that the article on the Omaha School Employees’ Retirement System in the May 25 World Herald did not focus more on the positive steps that the OSERS trustees have made to reduce expenses and improve the funding ratio for OSERS.

The trustees are focused on lowering the expenses for OSERS. The budget adopted for 2019-20 is more than 10% lower than the budget for 2018-19 -– a significant reduction that was not referenced in the article. The budget line item for trustee education is more than 33% lower than two years ago, which was not noted in the article either.

Educational conferences do not focus solely on investment matters. Understanding an actuarial report is not easy. Changes in accounting standards are also complicated. As fiduciaries for the pension system, trustees have both a legal and a moral obligation to the members and beneficiaries of the system to stay knowledgeable about these matters.

The OSERS board started a pension sustainability study in October 2018 to address possible ways to reduce the ongoing cost of providing pension benefits. The study is relying on information the trustees learned at national meetings. The trustees adjusted the amortization period for the liabilities, resulting in an immediate reduction of the required school district contribution.

So long as OPS makes the contributions that the actuary says are required, the pension system will be around for the foreseeable future, paying the benefits that OSERS retirees have earned.

Roger Rea, Omaha

OSERS trustee

Sandbox behavior in Washington

Would a class of sixth-graders better represent us citizens in the House than the current representatives? The sandbox behavior we witness daily is not becoming of public servants.

The main focus of many House members is the immediate impeachment of President Donald Trump, rather than an attempt to work together on such issues as health care, immigration and infrastructure.

Richard W. Wallace, Omaha

Stand up to Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has managed to mesmerize the Republican members of the U.S. Senate. Maybe they are afraid of him. Fear is the weapon of bullies. Have all 51 Republican senators taken a vow of silence in response to his decisions?

The Senate and the House are to put the welfare of the country ahead of their own personal feelings and gains. In the Senate it seems that the voice that matters is that of Mitch McConnell. Whatever Mitch wants, Mitch gets.

Going back to the election of Barack Obama, McConnell said his main goal of the next four years was to make Obama a one-term president. At the end of Obama’s second term, McConnell refused to allow hearings on the nomination of Merrick Garland to succeed Antonin Scalia. So that seat went empty for almost a year. But now, if there is a vacancy, McConnell will fill it rapidly.

The great divide between Democrats and Republicans has been getting deeper and more intransigent for a long time. We need fewer people who only want their own way and more who will govern for the good of all the people.

We need cooperation in the Senate and in the House, and between the Senate and the House. It is obvious that will not happen until the members of the Senate decide to stand up to the bully. We teach our children to stand up to bullies. Why can’t the adults in the Senate stand up to McConnell?

Jean Seibel, Bellevue

Proud of Bacon’s Dreamers vote

Rep. Don Bacon did something last week we should all be proud of. He was one of only seven Republicans in the House to vote in favor of legislation to protect “Dreamers.”

Why should we be proud of him? A number of reasons. He stuck to his platform. Early in his campaign for Congress, he expressed his interest in protecting Dreamers. His vote on June 4 is evidence of his staying true to his word. What’s more, he reached across party lines when few others in his party were willing to. He’s thinking about Dreamers; he’s thinking about Omahans; he’s thinking about us.

In April, I and four of my colleagues met with Bacon to discuss immigration. All five of us are women, and among us there are wives, daughters and granddaughters of immigrants. We expressed our love for all people and our disappointment in Congress.

We asked him to do a few things: Take a stand to pass bipartisan immigration reform. Work with Republican and Democratic colleagues to bring immigration reform to the forefront. Consider initiatives such as hiring more immigration judges, training border officials to respect the rights of all people, improving identification and tracking of all individuals crossing the border and protecting Dreamers.

Bacon is listening to us. He’s thinking beyond the restraints of politics and putting country over party.

Breanne Potter, Omaha

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