Remember the day's true meaning
As a proud Vietnam veteran who is preparing for Veterans Day, I find it tragic that so many of my fellow Americans view Nov. 11 as just another day off work.
I lost friends in Vietnam, and I made a promise that they would never, ever be forgotten. With wars on two fronts — and the VA workload topping 1 million backlogged claims — it's time for all Americans to remember the true meaning of Veterans Day.
Call one of our local veterans organizations to take part in our ceremonies. And as we near the holidays, please keep our deployed troops and their families in your prayers. Send a care package or donate to a program that supports our troops and veterans.
Honor those who have fought for your freedom and always remember that "freedom is not free." It is paid for by our fellow Americans who have been willing to fight and die for us.
Don Cudney, Palm Harbor
Take pride in our defenders of freedom
On this Veterans Day, and every day for that matter, I will be reminded of the elation and satisfaction I feel when I think of my daughter, son-in-law and niece, all now serving in Iraq. Their personal sacrifices are only evident to those of us who face the daily uncertainty of their days in the desert.
The all-encompassing effects of this pride move from present-day uncertainties to past heroic exploits of all those veterans who so bravely ensured our freedom, albeit in different decades. These "old-timers" are the cornerstone of dedication and pride so evident in all of these young men and women who now are taking their turn in the defense of freedom. We love you all; we appreciate your service and we await your safe return!
Norma McCulliss, Palm Harbor
Donate blood for the troops
The yellow Support the Troops car magnets are nice. The efforts of the Bayshore Patriots cheer and uplift military morale. The letters and care packages are a welcome treat to overseas personnel. Our people in harm's way also need the Gift of Life during the Golden Hour. All blood types are needed.
As an Air Force brat raised on military bases, I witnessed my father lead blood drives. He said, "The military takes care of its own." U.S. citizens can give the Gift of Life so that future veterans can enjoy the holiday that they earned the hard way. Many thanks to my Pop and all the veterans.
Bob Wise, Tampa
Honoring those who served
Today we will be observing Veterans Day. This is that special day each year that was created to honor our veteran men and women from all branches of service: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. Many may still remember that Veterans Day was first called "Armistice Day," following the armistice that was signed with Germany on Nov. 11, 1918, effectively ending World War I.
World War II probably involved the largest number of American veterans, both the living or those who unfortunately gave their lives in combat. Thousands are buried in American cemeteries overseas. Then, of course, came the Korean War and Vietnam War, together with other wars such as Grenada, Desert Storm and currently Iraq and Afghanistan.
Perhaps this day would be an appropriate time for families to open up those old photo albums, or read memorable letters or look over other memorabilia that were kept for dozens of years. Yes, this would be a historic way to commemorate and honor a family member who served our country.
Jack Keller Sr., 8th Air Force B-17 combat veteran and charter member, World War II Memorial Society, Belleair Bluffs
Fort Hood shootings
A shocking event
I am still in shock because of the killings at Fort Hood, Texas. I just watched the memorial services there and was very impressed with what President Barack Obama said.
You expect to lose personnel who are at war in Iraq or Afghanistan, but not here at home. My heart goes out to the families of those who were killed or wounded.
John M. Chalakee, New Port Richey
The recent shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, in my opinion are a result of our being brainwashed with all this diversity training and political correctness. In day-to-day life, supervisors are reluctant to dismiss someone of a different race, sex or religion for poor job performance. Incompetence goes unreported as supervisors don't want to be accused of prejudice and have complaints filed against them for it.
We have even seen this recently with citizens who have spoken out against health care reform or who have been critical of our president and then been called racist.
I do believe that people are still discriminated against, and I feel these injustices should be corrected. But in trying to be politically correct and diverse we have created more problems.
Lynn Wood, Tierra Verde
A kick in the gut | Nov. 7, story
The line of culpability
If George W. Bush had not invaded Iraq for personal reasons, no GIs would have come back from there with posttraumatic stress disorder. Maj. Nidal Maliki Hasan would not have been assigned to counsel them and been affected by their stories. And the massacre at Fort Hood would never have happened.
There is a direct line of culpability here, and those who cannot follow it need to open their eyes and put the blame right where it belongs.
R.G. Wheeler, St. Petersburg
An unfortunate ad
Imagine my shock and surprise when I opened up the Saturday Sports section and found a half-page ad for guns.
I realize that advertising is most important to a newspaper, but following upon the two horrific shootings in recent days, it seems rather distasteful in the least. It is almost as if we are invited now to purchase weapons for protection, while our minds are reeling from these unimaginable acts.
I'm sure the advertisement was planned to appear long before these occurrences, but a modicum of taste could have prevailed here.
Steve Hinds, Seminole
Let them be armed
The shooting at Fort Hood only proves that while people are in the military they should be required to carry a gun at all times while on active duty.
If this had been the case, the shooter would probably have gotten one or two folks before he was gunned down by the others.
John Lallemand, Dade City
Gus Bilirakis is member of Congress from Palm Harbor. A letter to the editor published Tuesday incorrectly referred to his father, former Rep. Mike Bilirakis.