Memorial, gifts, service -- it's all good in Tri-Cities

Stolen flags

Two thousand nine hundred seventy-seven. It's an exact number. Sure, it's just under 3,000. And if we were talking about gum balls, what's another 230 more or less?

But we're not talking gum balls. We're talking about lives lost on 9/11 and the flags representing those lives along Bombing Range Road.

West Richland Cub Scout Pack 252 did a nice thing to place a flag memorial in West Richland to honor those who died 10 years ago.

We wonder about the motivation of the teenager accused of stealing and destroying 230 flags.

But rather than dwell on that troubled youth, we'd rather focus on Stacey and Spain Abney. As soon as the couple learned of the vandalism, they rushed to replaced the flags and restore the memorial, donating their time and money in the process.

Medal of Honor

As a society, we put a lot of emphasis on compliance. We built an entire judicial system for those who choose to disobey the law.

Our military personnel live -- and die -- obeying the orders of their superiors.

It must have been a dreadful two hours for Marine Cpl. Dakota L. Meyer, listening to his buddies under heavy fire plead for help while he was ordered to remain in relative safety some distance from the fighting.

His internal struggle ended when he disobeyed his commander and, by so doing, saving the lives 13 U.S. and 23 Afghan combatants.

Sometimes, doing the right thing means defying authority. It seems those involved in awarding the Medal of Honor (which is everyone in the chain of command, up to and including the president) agree.

Mission plans

Providing for the homeless goes beyond donating the "buck ninety-two" that buys a meal at Thanksgiving time. (Which, by the way, we're certain the Union Gospel Mission appreciates.)

In addition to a bed and a meal, "providing" also means job training and help writing a resume.

The current mission is beyond full. Men sleep on stair landings and any little piece of floor they can find. The building has 52 beds and it often houses more than 100 men.

We're glad to see the mission is making plans to provide shelter and back-on-your-feet services to the vulnerable in our community.

Day of Service

When you see a couple of young men in white shirts and ties riding their bikes, you can safely guess they're Mormon missionaries.

When you see hundreds of people cleaning up the Little League fields in Pasco, breaking up concrete at Lawrence Scott Park or grooming the Park at the Lakes in West Richland, you're probably not thinking, "There go the Mormons."

But a lot of our communities' to-do lists got shorter over the weekend because members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invited their friends to join in what they called a Day of Service.

We appreciate groups of all faiths and organizations donating their time to better our community.

Fruit growers' gift

Apples, pears and dollars for research. It's an interesting combination. One that "appeals" to us, if you pardon the pun.

But seriously, $27 million will help Washington State University remain at the cutting edge of agricultural research and likely will prove to be a smart investment for fruit growers.

What better place for world-class research on tree fruits than in Washington state? Agriculture is a huge business, especially in the Mid-Columbia.

All in all, it's a sweet deal.