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Letters for the 6-13-2014 issue


Thank you for your service

Medal of Honor winner 2nd Lt. Walter Ehlers spoke at the 50th anniversary of D-Day at Normandy, June 6, 1994, in front of many of the free world’s leaders.

At one point he noted that getting his men safely off that killing beach that morning “was the greatest accomplishment of my life.”

But the moments that his Medal of Honor citation records were accomplished three days later, from June 9-10, 1944.

The hedgerows behind Normandy beach where the Germans dug in were the killing fields the soldiers had no preparation for. The tanks were stronger and the anti-tank weapons were more effective; the dug-in machine gun sites were even more deadly.

On that day “without waiting for an order,” S/Sgt. Ehlers “repeatedly led his men against heavily defended enemy strongpoints.” While exposing himself repeatedly to withering fire, he took out numerous machine gun sites, covered retreats of his own men, and retrieved a wounded soldier though he, himself, was wounded. Refusing rest after bandaging, he was immediately returned to his unit in the field.

He would say that what he did during those days, most other field officers would have done in a heartbeat.

Perhaps.

Perhaps this humble approach reveals why he was picked to give the keynote speech at the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

For most of us, speaking in public, let alone before world leaders, is a task we’d gladly leave for others. To find the appropriate words to fit the occasion demands focus of thought, clarity of expression and nerves of steel.

Ehlers hit a home run that day. Among his comments were these gems:

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  • “The world changed June 6th, 1944, the day the good guys took charge again.”

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  • “While we braved these then-fortified beaches to beat back Hitler and to liberate Europe, to stop his massacres and to rescue his prisoners, we fought for much more than that. We fought to preserve what our forefathers had died for. We picked up our guns to protect our faith, to preserve our liberty. It was to save our way of life ...”

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  • “I pray that the price we paid on this beach will never be mortgaged ...”

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  • “... without freedom, there is no life, and that the things most worth living for may sometimes demand dying for.”

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  • “Many of those who enjoy freedom know little of its price.”

    Thank you, Army 2nd Lt. Ehlers.

    Wayne Mayo

    Scappoose

    Bergdahl should have been left behind

    I am writing to entreat you to contact all of the United States legislators to hold President Barack Obama accountable for the illegal exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a deserter, for senior Taliban leaders.

    Clearly there is no doubt that Bergdahl deserted his post and it is noted our senior military officials advised the Obama administration not to make the exchange, likening it to “handing over five four-star generals of the Taliban.”

    The Obama administration further disrespected Bergdahl’s platoon, who honorably served our nation and spoke out against the exchange, by saying it might have been filled with psychopaths.

    This exchange cannot be spun. It is an affront to our soldiers and our entire nation. Our Congress must swiftly and forcefully punish our president and his administration, to encourage respect for our men in uniform and the laws of our nation, including our Constitution, which he specifically pledged to uphold. His actions are beyond partisan politics.

    Nancy Reed

    Scappoose

    Less greed, less credit

    It’s hard for me to understand why we allow so many people to be homeless in America. All because of greed and selfishness. Some people are not able to pay more than $200 a month for rent, plus utilities. Our veterans, who have fought for our country, are homeless. Why?

    We have people who work for minimum wage who are taxpaying citizens who are homeless, or are living on government programs, all because of greed and too much credit.

    I believe that we could and should cut down on all the government programs by allowing our working taxpaying citizens to be able to live on their income. We have people who live on Social Security who can’t afford rent or to pay their bills. Do we really need to be that greedy and selfish, all because of too much credit and paying too much for property?

    We need to let people live as Americans and not live as a number for the government, so that all our taxes don’t go to the ones who could and should be supporting themselves.

    If we weren’t so greedy on housing and utilities, more people would be self-motivated to support themselves. We really need less government help.

    It’s at the point where the question is, why should everyone work when we could all live off the government? Americans, please spend your money wisely, save what you can and use less credit.

    Ken Samson

    Clatskanie