Soldiers provide freedom to air our views

'I wave my flag proudly...'

It was insightful reading the article from Callie Vandewiele in the March 19 issue. With her youth, one can forgive her naivety. As we grow in life we realize that similar scenarios re-enact themselves repeatedly. Going from the most loved to the most hated president in history during a president's term is commonplace, almost to be expected with each new administration, blamed for everything from losing one's job to losing one's house to being accused of lying. The old saying 'if only the Democrats were in power' … and then 'well, the Republicans need to be back in power' goes back and forth. If you read papers from the 1800s, you will find very similar complaints about those past presidents and their administrations.

About honoring our troops, dear Callie, you had better read and understand history more before you question those of us who do honor our soldiers, sailors and marines. No one places any person above reproach in life, as if we are all human and have feet of clay - but if it wasn't for those who have served for the past two centuries for our country, you and I would not have the freedom to print our thoughts or statements. You certainly would not have the freedom to make outlandish remarks such as … "our government is sending our troops to die." For God sake, girl, we are fighting and waging a battle with an enemy who is like no other before in history. An enemy who teaches his or her children from the crib to believe it is an honor to blow themselves up willingly and without complaint - in fact, good old Saddam even paid the families many thousands of dollars every time one of their children blew themselves (and others up) for the 'cause.' But of course, many people still deny that Iraq had anything to do with our country being attacked. In fact, I have head countless talking heads on television and on the radio state that this is Bush's war, and he went into Iraq without merit. This is no more Bush's war than World War II was Roosevelt's war or the Korean War was Truman's war. You will note - that we have not been attacked since 2001 - think about it.

I'm sure you will come around, Callie, in a few years after you have become seasoned in life and understand history with less than a jaundiced eye and without the liberal professor's viewpoint from Pacific University. One thing, Callie - I'm proud that you speak your mind and think about the deeper meaning of life. But I hope we all hear from you again in about 15 years and see how much you have matured into reality. One thing for certain, when you truly understand history, you will see that the United States is not and never had been an imperialist country - in fact quite the opposite.

My granddaughter is a Marine (also an Estacada High School alumnus) and I'm proud to say she is deploying on her second tour of the Middle East in May of this year. She has told me that the people of Iraq are thrilled and thankful they are there protecting them. I'm not certain with this new enemy we will ever truly win a war - this is not a war in the traditional sense - but I know that my troops have and are making a difference not only for the people of Iraq but those in Afghanistan as well.

I wave my flag proudly and have displayed a yellow ribbon since the Embassy hostages were taken in Iran in the early 1980s. I, too, applaud the firefighters, emergency personnel, peace officers, Peace Corps volunteers and teachers in the United States - but the soldiers are the ones who made it possible for you to read this letter in the free press today. So thank a teacher for your reading ability and thank a soldier for the freedom to actually read this without fear or suppression.