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As Memorial Day approaches, veterans reps from Scappoose and St. Helens offer commentary on ways to honor veterans and their service.

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Letters to the editor about the significance of Memorial Day and an approach from MoveOn Columbia County to address the growing partisan divide in American politics.

Sincere gratitude for veterans as Memorial Day nears

On this sunny day, a single figure holding a miniature American flag is seen kneeling before a tombstone. He is having a one-sided conversation with an absent service member — absent in the physical sense, but present in the spiritual. That spirit could be a lost friend or a family member, and the conversation vacillates between joy and sorrow, tears and laughter. 

The perfection of the military headstones recalls the rank upon rank of departed service members they represent.

Today, Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, you will see the Veterans of Foreign Wars offering the traditional red poppy and accepting donations to fund the service they provide for our veterans in their particular times of need. It might be direction to the Veterans Hospital and the aid in gathering the needed paperwork. It could be guidance in applying for the GI Bill for education or a home loan. It could be as important as helping pay an overdue power bill to light the home and provide heat for the children. 

The generosity of this community has always exceeded the expectations of the

VFW.

That the "Path of the Warrior" may be at the cost of their lives and the suffering of their loved ones, politics and public opinion ebb and flow like the tide — the tide of time.

Please come and join us at Scappoose Heritage Park, next to Scappoose Public Library behind City Hall, on Monday, May 29, at 10:30 a.m. as we celebrate Memorial Day.  A local guest speaker is expected and a simple ceremony will be performed with your local VFW presiding. 

A flyover provided by "Planes of the Northwest," our local flying club, will conclude the ceremony, weather-permitting.

Freedom has never been free. The price of freedom has always been the blood of the warrior, who in Abraham Lincoln's words, "Gave their last full measure of devotion."

To the men and women of our Armed Forces and their families, we send you our sincere gratitude, and may God bless you until you are returned to the arms of your loved ones. Salute.

Tom Ford

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Post 4362

Scappoose

Thank you veterans

Thank you veterans for fighting for our freedoms that we so often take for granted. Thank you Ace Hardware, IGA, Safeway, Walmart and the post office for allowing us to sit at your business and ask for donations so we are able to help the veterans in need.

The official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and Auxiliary is the Buddy Poppy. They have been distributing our veteran-made poppies since 1921 and, no matter what the cost, the memorial poppy is never sold but given in exchange for a contribution. Contributions collected are used for veterans and their families.

By wearing a poppy, America says "we remember" to all veterans.

It is a small way that each of us can show respect to our veterans who have given so much. Look for Poppy Day volunteers at the above businesses in St. Helens on Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20.

Wear a poppy and honor American ideals of freedom, justice and equality. It is a small way to show your respect for all veterans. Think of all the freedoms you enjoy and take for granted that the veterans have fought for you to have.

One hundred percent of all money received is given for helping a veteran.

One of the things that Post 1440 and Auxiliary of St. Helens have given money to help is the new Fisher House in Vancouver, Wash. The Fisher House is a place for family members to stay for free while their veteran is at the Veterans Hospital. The veterans at the hospital are from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and Colorado.

We have bought birthday gifts for the veterans at the hospital. We make afghans, neck pillows and buy things they need. We have bought yarn and stuffing for the pillows.

We have also helped veterans in paying their rent so they are not homeless for that month. We buy Christmas gifts for the veterans in the local nursing home and assisted-living homes, and a few World War II and Korean veterans living in their own home. We have taken clothes to veterans at the White City Hospital. We gave to the Bunker on S. 13th Street that helps veterans.

We gave scholarships to students who wrote their thoughts on "My Responsibility to America" Voice of Democracy essay and "The America I Believe In" for Patriot's Pen. Voice of Democracy is for high school students and Patriot's Pen is for junior high. Our Patriot's Pen winner won state.

We appreciate each and every contribution.

If you cannot make a donation, thank a veteran when you walk by him. You are enjoying a lot of freedoms because he went and fought for them.

Sherry Belden

VFW Post 1440 Auxiliary

Buddy Poppy Chairman

Addressing the partisan divide

I remember the days when our elected officials gained consensus by working together to make decisions that impacted the country, the state and counties. While I realize that the times I am pining for were not perfect and that political consensus is a complex process, I am concerned about the direction our country has taken in the last several decades.

I am not talking politically. I mean the direction in regard to dialogue.

As a people, it seems we have become increasingly divisive in our views. Clearly, this does have political ramifications. Quite often our elected representatives take a "zero-sum" approach to legislative action, creating an extreme reaction leading to extreme solutions.

How can we solve the challenges facing us today such as health care, affordable housing, protecting the environment, and equitable access to information when potential opportunities for a solution have become partisan?

Locally, we have big issues that require us to work together to find resolutions. How can we engage with members of our community who have differing views in order to begin working on our issues? The members of MoveOn Columbia County would like to find out if Columbia County residents can begin an open dialogue on important issues facing us today. MoveOn Columbia County invites you to attend a facilitated nonpartisan political forum Tuesday, May 23, on: "Bridging Our Political Divide — Let's Try!"

The forum will be held at the Soil and Water Conservation District building (downstairs), 35285 Millard Road, St. Helens.

It will be facilitated by Joe Lewis of the Scappoose School Board and Columbia County Citizens for Human Dignity.

The panelists, representing a variety of political views are actively engaged in community affairs in Columbia County, include Jon Antoine, Chip Bubl, Larry Erikson, Betty Holladay, Greg Pettit, and Nancy Ward.

Please come and participate in this dialogue with members of the community.

Jennifer Martinez

MoveOn Columbia County

Contract Publishing

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