Open letter to President Bush


Mr. President,
As I write this I am listening to the voice of a brave nurse, named Jerrilyn, marooned in Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She and a number of other physician and nurse providers have volunteered to remain in the hospital to provide what services their limited resources permit. They are quickly running out of food and medical supplies.
What I suggest, Mr. President, is that Charity Hospital, which has been a beacon of hope to the poor in New Orleans for many decades, should be resurrected as exactly that: a beacon of hope. What better place for America to demonstrate her resolve to return and take back what nature and nihilists have taken from her?
As a pharmaceutical representative, I called on that complex of buildings which constitute the LSU—Tulane Medical School, Veterans Administration Hospital and Charity Hospital. I know there must be helipads which could serve as landing zones for a focused, directed relief effort to seize, stabilize and supply that medical complex to serve as an island of calm, sanity and medical treatment in the midst of the chaos that is emerging in New Orleans.
There is a paratrooper battalion, the 509th Airborne Infantry, based at Fort Polk, 200 miles away. Send them in to secure this complex of buildings and then initiate a heliborne airlift reminiscent of Berlin, with non—stop resupply to a bastion of civilization, lucidity and hope to the citizens of New Orleans in the midst of their helplessness and desperation. Run up Old Glory on every available flag pole on every building in that complex of high—rise medical buildings and fly her night and day with spotlights illuminating her stars and stripes. Show the flag, Mr. President, and show the citizens of New Orleans, the United States and the watching world, that you, and we who elected you mean to take the initative and take back our Crescent City from the depredations of nature and for damned sure from the thugs and hooligans who are exploiting the misery of the good and honest people of New Orleans.
New Orleans is faced with a future of uncertainty and indeterminable outcome. Mr. President; I call on you to make that old institution of hope, Charity Hospital, the new Statue of Liberty for our beleagered southern sister. Make Charity Hospital our Normandy Beach against the forces of nature and the forces of nihilism, our commitment to take back that which has been taken from us and to restore the rule of law.
Respectfully, Sir,
Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65—66