Bush provided principled leadership
I am grateful to President Bush. That is not a popular thing. I did not agree with everything he did, but there are a few items that stand out to me:
He restored dignity, honor and grace to the White House and the Oval Office.
He backed our troops, who have provided me and my family and friends freedom. Thank you to all who serve.
He kept us safe at home. I am very grateful that he was there on 9/11 and even more grateful on 9/12.
He provided principled leadership and understood service.
And so, though this recognition is not a popular thing, I will thank my president and wish him and Mrs. Bush well. I will continue to pray for them and their family.
I will also pray for the success of our 44th president. Some say that he is not "my president," but he will be president of my country. I do pray and wish him success. His success means success for our country. My heart is still trying to convince my head of this, but I am trying.
Kelley Rexroad, Odessa
Parting words from the bully pulpit | Jan. 13
Look further to see the real George Bush
As usual, the quotes you printed Tuesday from President Bush's final press conference were not representative of the essence of the man. I would have liked to read at least one of the following:
"I have never felt isolated and I don't think he (President-elect Barack Obama) will. One reason he won't feel isolated is that he's got a fabulous family and he cares a lot about his family. That's evident from my discussions with him. He's a 45-second commute away from a great wife and two little girls that love him dearly."
"… I was affected by the TV after the elections — when I saw people saying, 'I never thought I would see the day that a black person would be elected president,' and a lot of the people had tears streaming down their cheeks when they said it. And so I … consider myself fortunate to have a front-row seat on what is going to be an historic moment for the country. President-elect Obama's election does speak volumes about how far this country has come when it comes to racial relations. But there's still work to do. There's always going to be work to do to deal with people's hearts."
"And so I wish him all the best. And no question … there will be critics. And there should be. We all should welcome criticism on different policy. It's the great thing about our democracy, people have a chance to express themselves. I just hope the tone is respectful. He deserves it, and so does the country."
Words of wisdom for all of us — even newspaper editors.
Carol Mathis, St. Petersburg
700 gather in support of Israel | Jan. 13, story
Israel is aiding U.S.
It feels good to see a rally in support of Israel after seeing so much media highlighting anti-Israel rallies.
Hamas, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, has taken control of Gaza and continues to break the cease-fire agreement negotiated by Egypt, with its firing of rockets.
We should be grateful that Israel has taken the initiative in its invasion of Gaza and has taken on that responsibility without seeking aid from other democracies like ourselves. If Israel did not take these steps — who knows? — it is possible that the United States would be involved in that conflict, resulting in the loss of the lives of our soldiers, in addition to the Israelis.
If Hamas is permitted to increase the range of its rockets, it could pose a threat, not only to Israeli citizens and other countries in the region, but to U.S. troops in Iraq.
Morris Grossman, Sun City Center
I see in the news that many innocent people are dying in Gaza, and more than half are civilians. I also know that about one-third of those dead are children. On Wednesday I saw that in a poll many Americans think Israel is justified in what it is doing.
While the local media have done a good job reporting the facts on the ground, everyone seems to believe that Hamas broke the cease-fire. This is not true, as reported last month by CNN in an investigative report. Israel broke the cease-fire on Nov. 4 by killing six Palestinians.
This situation in the Middle East is so dangerous for the world that the facts regarding the causes of the current situation need to be reported. It is especially relevant here since American tax dollars are funding the Israeli offensive. If Americans don't have accurate facts, they can't be expected to make good decisions.
Melva Underbakke, Temple Terrace
Look at both sides
I hope and pray that Barack Obama looks at the whole situation in the Middle East. Israel and its four-decade-old defiance of U.N. Resolution 242, with the subsequent incredible suffering imposed on millions of Palestinians, lies at the very heart of the problem. The Israelis whine about missile attacks from Gaza after strangling an entire people for over a year with a blockade of water and food and fuel and medicine, with staggering death rates in Palestinian children, all the while bulldozing homes and stealing the best farmland for Israeli "settlements" in defiance of the United Nations.
Would we sit by and watch our kids die at the hands of a nation that stole our land and homes to begin with, forcing us to live in refugee camps for decades, camps now being shelled and starved as punishment for electing a party they do not like?
Israel routinely thumbs its nose at the Geneva Conventions and U.N. decrees, empowered perennially with reliable U.S. vetoes and endless cash and weapons grants. Yet they, and the United States, wonder why they are hated globally.
Please, Mr. Obama, look at both sides.
John Starnes Jr., Tampa
Enduring legacy | Jan. 13, story
Give us real news
The main story on the front page Tuesday is for the Sports section.
There is so much going on that's far more important, in the state, nation and worldwide.
Shame on you!
Soren Kragh, Dunnellon
Enduring legacy | Jan. 13, story
Dungy's true value
Thank you for a front page we can all agree on. Gary Shelton got it right. Tony Dungy's legacy is not yet fulfilled. That is why the Tampa Bay area is so blessed. We have him and we're holding on to him.
For football, it might be "thanks for the memories." For Tampa, it's memories about to be made.
Cecelia LeClair, St. Petersburg