RS-HANDELS 35TH (copy) (copy)

Voices of Omaha under the direction of conductor Stanley E. Schmidt sing "Glory to God" during the 35th annual performance of Handel's "Messiah."

Majesty of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

Thunderous applause, standing ovations.

These words describe the appreciation of the large audience who listened to Handel’s “Messiah,” performed Nov. 17 by the Voices of Omaha at the Holland.

We would like to share that appreciation with everyone who helped make this 51st performance possible. This includes all our sponsors, including The World-Herald, donors, performers, audience members and anyone else involved.

What an honor it is to present this beloved work of Handel’s each year with all this support.

May your holiday season be truly blessed as you started it out with Handel’s “Messiah” performance.

Sharon Struve, Omaha

Voices of Omaha board member

Honorable public service

One big takeaway from the impeachment hearings is that honorable public service is in trouble.

During the hearings, numerous Republican committee members have gone to great lengths to discredit and disparage fact witnesses.

It has not mattered whether these fact witnesses are ambassadors, career foreign service officers or active duty Army officers.

I served in the Air Force for 26 years. I took an oath very similar to that taken by members of Congress. That oath says we “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

It does not say “support and defend the President of the United States.” If a sitting president engages in actions that appear to be illegal, it is not only the right, it is the obligation, of a career public servant to report this act.

However, Republicans in Congress now want us to believe that supporting the president takes priority over supporting the Constitution. Further, we are seeing the tragedy of these public servants being made into fodder by cable news bloviators, most of whom have never served anyone but themselves.

Sadly, not one of our three Nebraska congressmen, nor our two senators, have said one word in defense of these public servants. Their silence seems to indicate they are afraid. What are they afraid of?

Public service is a public trust, whether that service is elected, appointed, military, foreign service or civil service.

We do not live in an authoritarian state. We do not take personal loyalty oaths to the president.

Let’s keep it that way.

James A. Harrold, Plattsmouth, Neb.

Cherry-picking facts

The Associated Press story in The World-Herald about Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony regarding impeachment was very selective in its choice of facts (“Trump sought ‘quid pro quo,’ key witness says,” Nov. 21).

I watched the video of his testimony. The AP left out very important points.

When asked if “anyone on the planet ever told him there was a quid pro quo,” he said no.

In addition, he specifically asked President Donald Trump, “What do you want from Ukraine?” He said Trump’s response was “I want nothing, no quid pro quo; I want Zelensky to do the right thing, what he ran on.”

What Zelensky ran on was establishing transparency and ending corruption.

When asked how he could say there was a quid pro quo despite never having been told there was one, and having specifically been told there wasn’t one, he could only say “that was my presumption.”

But the AP story never mentions those facts.

So much for objective reporting on their part.

Randall Bradley, Papillion

Tribute to veterans

Thank the Lord for all those who loved freedom so much that for it they would defend and die for all who would breathe free air.

Let us never stain their endeavor and dignity by forgetting the price they paid for liberty.

Many now are doubting it was ever worth the cost. These are the ones who will cry the loudest when tyrants rule and liberty is lost.

They will lament and mourn over the blessings and bounty that didn’t last.

Let us remember those who fell along the way.

Let us gratefully honor and celebrate them.

Kenneth Filbert, Fort Calhoun, Neb.

Tree-planting status

Tree-planting state? That is one more Nebraska title that maybe we do not deserve.

Why do so many trees have to be cut down in this city? Several years ago it was the Ironwood area. Now it’s the Zorinsky Lake area.

These trees and wooded areas are vital to the city’s environment for wild animals. Many birds and other wildlife prefer older tree and plant areas.

At some point we will have removed so much natural habitat this wildlife will not quickly return and maybe we will never get it to migrate back in due to our ever expanding march to the west.

Nebraska, the tree-planting state, does not mean we cut huge areas of trees down to simply plant new.

James Urich, Omaha

Don’t build another prison

Do we really want to spend millions building another prison? America already has more prisoners than any other country in the world. There is an alternative. Why can’t Nebraska do what Oklahoma did recently?

Oklahoma’s voters and governor made simple drug possession and low-level property crimes misdemeanors instead of felonies and released hundreds of inmates.

This reduced Oklahoma’s prison costs by millions of dollars.

Nebraska could do that. Releasing that many prisoners would certainly diminish prison overcrowding and excess overtime pay.

We are in a “giving” season. Second chances for minor infractions are the right thing to do. Let’s put this on our ballot.

Dorothy Jean Dorsey, Omaha

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