34 The QUEE NS Courier • may 22, 2014 for breaking news visit www.queenscourier.com editorial letters Remembering Whitestone’s Flying Tiger Long-term restaurateur and Whitestone resident George Lum, my neighbor and good friend, invited me into his home one day. While in his den, I noticed hanging on the wall an autographed photo of the American Volunteer Group the “Flying Tigers.” I asked George where he acquired such a remarkable and rare photograph. He modestly pointed to one of the photos indicating, “This one is me.” I was flabbergasted. In our 15-year friendship we had never discussed military service, and he went on to relate his story to me. As a young boy, George had come to the United States from China, joining his family already here in the U.S. Educated in American schools, he wanted to join the military and become a pilot. The Army Air Force agreed to enlist him, but much to his dismay, sent him to aircraft mechanic school. Having served his enlistment and being ready to be discharged from the Army, George was approached by the forerunner of the CIA to consider an offer to join a group of American airmen who would fight for the Chinese government. As the Japanese were killing thousands of Chinese, knowing his skills as an aircraft mechanic and his fluency in Chinese would be useful to the AVG, he readily agreed to join the group. He served with the AVG, who became infamous throughout the initial dark days of World War II, downing hundreds of Japanese military aircraft. When the U.S. entered WWII, the group was absorbed into the U.S. Army Air Corps. Upon returning to civilian life, George and his wife, Emelia, settled in Whitestone and with other family members opened the famous LUM’s restaurant in Flushing, one of the first Chinese restaurants in Queens. We remained good friends until his passing several years ago. I considered myself fortunate to have known him. Paul De Stefano Warning: Reform does not mean innovation What a word actually means can be less important than the way it’s commonly used. If the original intent of the word has been corrupted, you can ironically set yourself up for misunderstanding by using it as it was originally meant. That’s especially true of education “reform.” Be careful when messing with words. Be even more careful when not messing with words. You can incur the wrath of the dictionary revisionists. Mayor de Blasio and the United Federation of Teachers president Mulgrew both believe in true “reform.” Neither is pretending. Both are sincere. They have a vision that is genuinely united or at least aligned. Neither needs to sacrifice conviction to have a meeting of the minds with the other. It is actual, not stage-managed. But the most unscrupulous enemies of true reform are the wolves in sheep’s clothing who dub themselves “reformers.” They just want to annihilate public education. The champions of true reform will fight them. It’s war. And Mulgrew said so. For that he got blasted by the habitual snipers in the press and their lackeys in the charter sector. They said that after hoodwinking the City to get a contract, the UFT is thumbing its nose at the mayor. Of course the mayor knows better and said so. Mulgrew prefers the word “innovation,” used properly, rather than the word “reform,” used improperly. That makes perfect sense. It’s necessary to avoid the word “reform” because it lends itself to being twisted. Years ago I asked a bus driver in Munich, Germany, whether his route went to the Dachau concentration camp. He glared at me with eyes that could have pierced concrete. Well, I needed to know the directions, and in Roget’s thesaurus there’s no synonym for “concentration camp,” (though there is for “reform”) so how could I have dodged the term? Thirty years later I asked an official of the Consulate how I could have avoided offending the bus driver. He said that maybe I should have preceded “concentration camp” with the word “former.” Ron Isaac Veterans need better care It is outrageous that our veterans are not being taken care of the way they should be! The VA needs to get its house in order and investigate why there are major problems for our veterans. These brave men and women have fought to preserve our way of life, and our country owes them big time! No veteran should have to wait for eligibility and well-deserved medical care. This travesty must end now! John Amato IDENTIFY THIS PLACE Go to www.queenscourier.com and search “Identify This Place” to find out where this is WORLD’S FAIR FESTIVAL It was like déjà vu all over again. An estimated 60,000 people jammed into Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the World’s Fair Festival, a celebration of the 50th and 75th anniversaries of New York’s two World’s Fairs. To call the festival a success would be damning it with faint praise. The event was spectacular. The weather and the crowds were brilliant and the vendors did tremendous business, many of them running out of food and merchandise. And, we hear, the Queens Museum was filled with festivalgoers. Congratulations to everyone involved. And let’s get working on a third World’s Fair for Queens. SPEAKING OF SPECTACULAR The Queens Courier throws its wholehearted support behind Gov. Cuomo’s plan to bid for the 2024 Olympics. And this most international of sporting events should be centered in the most international of boroughs: our beloved Queens. Much of the infrastructure is already in place, including Citi Field. But the Olympics would give us an opportunity to improve the borough, building over the Sunnyside rail yards and pumping money into businesses throughout Queens. We urge Mayor de Blasio to end his standoffish position and roll up his sleeves to bring the Olympics to Queens and New York City. CYBERBULLYING All of us remember acts of meanness in school, the little digs from other kids, some of which caused fights, scars or occasionally even sparked friendships. It’s natural for kids to test the limits with their parents, teachers and classmates. But that testing is usually to find out when to stop before someone gets hurt very badly. The recent episode of cyberbullying in Whitestone is well beyond any reasonable search for limit. It is cruelty. To heap humiliation and wish death on other children, so publicly, so permanently (for we fear nothing will ever go away on the Internet) is an abominable act. We’re sure parents and administrators are doing their best to comfort the bullied and catch the culprits. For the rest of us, it’s imperative to protect others from wanton personal attack — and in that struggle kindness is the best weapon. INFRASTRUCTURE WOES At last, there is reasonable expectation that a boardwalk between Hamilton Beach and Howard Beach will be restored, many, many months after it was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. At last the intergovernmental squabbles seem to be settled and this vital walkway will once again serve the communities it bridges. That’s the good news. Now the bad. A sinking roadway in Fresh Meadows is a monument to inaction in the face of real danger. As 179th Street buckles and sinks because of instability below, officials have not only failed to fix it but have also failed to find the source of the cave-in. We pray that motorists or pedestrians don’t find the source when it collapses around them. MEMORIAL DAY This Monday is Memorial Day. We hope everyone enjoys the break from work and the unofficial start of summer. But we also urge everyone to take some time to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who died for our country. That is, after all, why we have Memorial Day. THE QUEENS Victoria Schneps-Yunis Joshua A. Schneps Bob Brennan William J. Gorta Amy Amato-Sanchez Nirmal Singh Graziella Zerilli Stephen Reina Ron Torina, Jennifer Decio, Cheryl Gallagher Liam La Guerre, Cristabelle Tumola Angy Altamirano, Katrina Medoff, Eric Jankiewicz Cliff Kasden, Samantha Sohmer, Elizabeth Aloni Cristabelle Tumola Demetra Plagakis Louise Cavaliere Celeste Alamin Maria Valencia Daphne Fortunate Victoria Schneps-Yunis Joshua A. 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