We must not allow them to disrespect the fallen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

I can’t believe how ignorant some Americans can be.

Have you seen the reports of people picketing the funerals of our dead soldiers, carrying signs inscribed with words like “Thank God for IEDs,” the improvised explosive devices used by the insurgents in Iraq?

Of all the hateful things to do n when a family is having to deal with the worst day of their lives, burying a mother or father, son or daughter, brother or sister, these ignorant people are out there supposedly exercising their right to free speech.

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Today’s armed forces are all voluntary. These young men and women know that when they sign up, they may be put in harm’s way. But they do it anyway.

Many of us did it before them. And we all knew what was at stake.

There will be many following in their footsteps, and they, too, will know what their future may hold.

Joining in today’s world is by choice. It is a decision these young men and women make freely.

Yes, most of them have agendas, such as hoping to make enough money for college, perhaps even making the military a career. But they make that choice.

They are considered adults, so we have to respect their right to make this decision.

And when they die for this country, they deserve our utmost respect.

It was bad enough for returning Vietnam veterans that they had to endure being spit on or called baby killers. Back then, many of them went because they had no choice. They were drafted.

I wonder how these people would feel if they were burying a child and somebody picketed them?

I just hope it never happens here in Suffolk. If it does, I am giving the police department fair warning that they might as well get the handcuffs out now, because I will be going to jail for assault.

I won’t stand by and allow such a disgraceful act to happen.

I didn’t serve my country to allow this kind of insulting behavior.

Yes, I believe in free speech. I wouldn’t have a job were it not for the first amendment.

But free speech doesn’t mean one can yell fire, when there isn’t one, in a crowded theater. And it doesn’t mean that this kind of disgusting behavior will be tolerated.

If you want to protest the war, you and your narrow-minded friends should take your signs to Washington, D.C., and picket the White House or Congress.

If you don’t like how we do things here in America, why not head north to Canada? There are probably quite a few kindred spirits up there leftover from the exodus during the Vietnam War.

I sure as hell won’t miss you!

God bless America, and God bless those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Grant is the managing editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. Contact him at doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com