As the holidays approach, I can’t help but think about the many men and women in the United States military who will not be home with their loved ones. We are currently at war, and a good portion of our military is involved in action in Afghanistan and Iraq. No matter what political views we have, we need to support our troops, and we need to support their families here at home. They have the hardest job of all – waiting for their loved ones to return home safely.
Our military has its detractors and supporters. There are many political views when it comes to this country’s foreign policies, and I understand that we need many different ideas. That’s part of what makes our country strong – the voicing of diverse ideals without the consequences of prosecution. That’s why people in the military put their own lives on the line. They are truly preserving the ideals of this country and keeping us free to voice our opinions.
You can show your support by helping the USO send one phone card to every service member in Iraq for the holidays. Call 1-800-876-7469, or visit www.uso.org/donate.cfm to make a donation for “Operation Phone Home.”
Elsewhere on the home front, there has been a controversy surrounding the possible closing of the Candandaigua Veterans Administration Medical Center, a facility which is located within 12 miles of where I live. Many people from the community have shown their support in a variety of ways. I am disappointed in the lack of support that the government has shown to veterans in this matter, and I am proud of the local citizens who have become advocates for not only the veterans but also the beautiful building and grounds that make up the medical center. This is an on-going controversy that may be resolved by the time you are reading this issue.
Life in the Finger Lakes is proud to publish the winners of the 2003 photo contest. We received many worthy entries, and as the editor I wanted to include a photograph that didn’t make the cut, but became one of my favorites. “It’s a Great Day” (above) by Bob Cassie, epitomizes how we can turn diversity into something positive, for the duck certainly seems to be having a great time in spite of the weather.
by Mark Stash