Archive for Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Publisher’s memo: Remaining steadfast in support of troops

November 30, 2005

The holiday season is upon us. If there's any doubt in your mind, just check the catalogs that are flooding your mailbox and the commercials that are flooding the airwaves. It's truly incredible.

Another indicator of the start of the season -- and one that I prefer to the overwhelming of my mailbox and the inane ads on television -- is the annual Mayor's Tree Lighting ceremony. This year, the event is set for Thursday night, at 6:30, in Tonganoxie's VFW Park. It's a nice event, as long as the north winds aren't blowing too hard. And it marks the start of the city's holiday lighting.

This year, however, it will hold a more special meaning than usual. And I encourage everyone to attend.

Mayor Dave Taylor has asked Kelly Frantz, whose husband, Lucas, was killed in October in Mosul, Iraq, to light the tree and say a few words to those gathered in the park. It's a nice honor, and it's one that's fitting for a young woman who has conducted herself with dignity and honor during these recent, extremely difficult weeks.

I can't imagine how she's held up under the glare of publicity that surrounded her husband's death. It was remarkable. Her husband would have been so proud of her. She represented herself well, and she took on the role of a soldier's wife with grace.

Our thoughts continue to be with her -- and with all of the families of our soldiers who are serving our country.

I don't want to get into the politics that are flying concerning the United States' involvement in the Iraqi war. I'll leave that for other times and other places.

But I would hope that all Americans remember one salient point. Regardless of your opinion on our continued involvement in Iraq, we here at home should not begin treating soldiers serving there as we treated soldiers who served in Vietnam. While it's entirely possible that the Iraq war will become another Vietnam, we cannot allow that to affect our treatment of the men and women who are fighting there.

Above all, we must remember that these soldiers are Americans. They should be respected for the job they are doing. And when they come home -- and, oh, how we pray that they come home -- they should be treated with high regard.

Conversely, it is well within all Americans' rights to speak out against the war. And those who express dissatisfaction with the U.S. involvement in Iraq should not be thought of as less patriotic than any other American.

If you can, attend Thursday night's ceremony in the park. It will be a nice way to kick off a season of caring and giving.

And it will be an opportunity to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in support of our troops, regardless of how we feel about the war.

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