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Honor the veterans in your lives

Honor the veterans in your lives

Today is Veterans Day. Amid all our country's current perplexing problems — such as the Iraq war, the huge economic and financial crisis and illegal immigration — some things do not change. That is why Veterans Day is set aside each year to salute and honor all our men and women who are military veterans.

Veterans Day is observed in America to honor its veterans who served in all branches of service in all wars, including thousands who were killed, lost or buried in American cemeteries overseas. It was created as "Armistice Day" when the armistice was signed with Germany to end World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. However, after World War II, the name was changed to "Veterans Day."

Wars have been hell, and families have had their lives terribly disrupted as a consequence. Because we recognize Veterans Day each year, families can take the opportunity to honor veterans in their lives, each in their own way. As a suggestion, this would be an appropriate opportunity to call a veteran — a member of your family, a friend or acquaintance — to give him or her a lift in observing this significant honor in their life.

Jack Keller Sr., Belleair Bluffs

Today, put aside politics

There has been so much controversy with the election of Barack Obama as our next president that I hope and pray our veterans won't take a back seat today and will be honored as much as in the past. No matter what Americans are disputing at home, their problems are most irrelevant to those engaged in war.

Please remember to put aside your feelings about Barack Obama and take a moment to give thanks and say a prayer for those who served and continue to serve our country, preserving your freedom and independence.

May God bless all my brothers and sisters, and I pray that you will return home safely. Blessings too on those who now rest in eternal peace.

Jack Burlakos, Vietnam War veteran, U.S. Navy, Kenneth City

Fear of Obama win spurs firearms sales Nov. 8, story

Seek commonsense alternatives in gun laws

If our experience with the Clinton administration is any guide, this is a well grounded fear. Too bad this issue has become so politicized. Instead of using some unforeseen tragedy as an emotional springboard to ban as many guns as possible, the incoming Democrat administration needs to be presented with some alternatives.

Curtailing gun shows will do nothing to stop criminals who sell guns out of the trunk of their car or in a motel room. A reasonable compromise that protects genuine hobbyists and collectors would be a low-volume federal dealer's license which would subject sales at gun shows by private individuals to the same process that licensed gun dealers have to undergo while giving them the ability to conduct business across state lines to a limited extent.

Using this commonsense compromise as a guide we can proceed to other issues: For instance, instead of rushing to re-enact the so-called "assault weapons" ban, we could conduct an objective, scientific study of the real value of such ban. We also need more research on just how criminals get guns and how to deal with crime in general.

Instead of just taking incremental steps toward prohibition, a panel of experts, acceptable to both sides, can hash out these issues and offer recommendations. The waste of time and political capital could be avoided, while the public could be satisfied that gun laws are working as intended while respecting the Second Amendment.

Leonard Martino, Tampa

Fear of Obama win spurs firearms sales Nov. 8, story

Credulous people

I've heard seemingly educated people talking about this and actually buying handguns. With an unresolved invasion of Iraq and an out-of-control war in Afghanistan, the worst economy since the Great Depression, how can people imagine that the first priority of the incoming president is to take their guns away? These must be the same people who believed that Iraq was a threat to United States, when that country had no long-range missiles, no navy or any means of reaching America, unless they put the bombs in check-in luggage aboard Delta Airlines.

Next I expect to hear that the government is going to take away their Bibles instead of going after Osama bin Laden.

As that great journalist H.L. Mencken once wrote, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people."

John F. Deegan, Clearwater

Gay marriage

Don't put rights to a vote

The Amendment 2 results in Florida, and those other states where a majority of voters found it necessary to "protect marriage," cannot stand. The United States is a constitutional democracy. In a constitutional democracy, we do not vote on what rights to grant a minority; rather, we secure all rights, for all persons. Anything else is not democracy; it is mobocracy. It is one reason why the visionaries we call the Founding Fathers wrote the principle of judicial review into the Constitution.

There can be no doubt that denying the right of marriage to a minority is at least as unconstitutional as violating a woman's right to privacy. The day is coming when our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters will exercise the same rights as heterosexuals. I only hope it does not take as long as it did for our black brothers and sisters to rise from slavery to the presidency.

Chas. E. Lehnert, Riverview

What discrimination?

Across this nation, a majority of voters have continued to ban "gay marriage" with state constitutional amendments. Voters have rightly rejected the spurious logic that claims such bans unfairly "discriminate" against gay people by denying them "equal" rights.

Gay citizens, of course, enjoy precisely the same rights that the rest of us enjoy, including the right to marry a person of the opposite sex. How can people who have exactly the same rights the rest of us have claim "discrimination"? Most Americans — even Californians — know the claim is absurd. Our nation faces real and serious challenges, and it's now time for the silly distraction of "gay marriage" to be retired to history's dustbin.

Dan Allison, St. Petersburg

On amendments, voters disappoint | Nov. 9

Who is out of step?

In the last paragraph of your Sunday editorial expressing disappointment in Florida voters for rejecting Amendment 2 you state "the vote totals on the constitutional amendments confirm there is more work to be done."

What typical liberal arrogance! I submit that if there is any work needing to be done, it's at the St. Petersburg Times. It's your paper that is out of step with Florida. Perhaps that's the reason so many left-wing publications like yours are losing readership.

Tony Acquaro, Port Richey

On amendments, voters disappoint | Nov. 9

The rule of law

Sixty-two percent of Floridians (a clear mandate as viewed by most pundits) have indicated the need and desire for Amendment 2. In our democratic state of Florida, the Constitution, with such voter- approved amendments, is the governing rule of law.

We are, and I sincerely hope that we will continue to be, a nation and a state of constitutional law, even when a Democrat president takes office.

John Ardolino, Belleair

Amendment 2

Keep religion out

I am very upset that the people of Florida have passed Amendment 2 and have thus chosen to write discrimination against a specific group of people into the Florida Constitution. I realize some fundamentalist clergy encouraged their congregations to make an all-out effort to pass this discriminatory legislation. I do believe that people are entitled to their religious viewpoints. However, not everyone has the same religious beliefs, and religious beliefs should not be written into a state constitution.

Marriage is a legal contract that confers property rights and other benefits (insurance, pension, end-of-life decisions, etc.) to the parties bound by the contract. There is no reason why two men or two women should not be able to enter in a legal contract to benefit from these secular rights. If churches don't want to marry same-sex couples, that is their prerogative. However, that particular religious belief should not impact people who have different religious views.

If you want to preserve the "sanctity" of a legally-binding contract, then make it harder for people to get divorced. After all, the Bible forbids divorce, yet we have a 50 percent divorce rate in this country. And I'd like to see how many of these "religious" people already have divorces in their pasts.

Donna Blaha, Tampa

Honor the veterans in your lives 11/10/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 6:41pm]
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