Our son-in-law, Capt. Michael Taylor, piloted a Blackhawk that was shot down over Baghdad on Jan. 20, 2007, with the loss of all aboard. My wife and I went to visit Michael's grave the other day ... placed a couple of small flags... and wept. We prayed that he know the love that his family has for him still, this nearly 17th year of his sacrifice, and that he bask in that love.
And we recall, in his honor, these truths, from Army veteran Charles M. Province: "It is the soldier, not the minister, who has given us freedom of religion. It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to protest. It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
"It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."
May all of us remember, and not just on Veterans Day.
Protect the Buffalo
We owe a debt of gratitude to the people that drafted the original legislation embodied in what became the first national river in the United States, that being our own Buffalo National River created in 1972.
The enactment of that legislation also created a unique body of laws and regulations designed to protect the river and the surrounding land that drains all flowing surface water into the Buffalo River (the watershed). This was done intentionally. Other options such as a national park designation were available. The decision was made to design a custom document which provided much more protection. This design has proved successful. Even well-funded agribusiness interests could not break through the legal barriers designed into the Buffalo National River regulations.
It is important to remember how valuable the language in these rules and regulations is to the continued protection of the river. A great deal of knowledge was brought to bear during the 1970s when the Buffalo National River was created. The Clean Air Act (1970) and the Clean Water Act (1972, amended 1977) became part of our commitment to protecting the land where we live. It's no wonder the latest attempt to remove the protections provided by our national river contract would come in the form of a proposal to change it by federal legislation. They cannot succeed any other way. I am hopeful they will not succeed. Any change in designation would bring rapid and endless forms of development.
I also hope a longer view will be taken and consideration given to donating land to the national river. A better question to ask is which form works best, our national river or something else to protect the river in the coming years as we battle the effects of climate change. Better to be remembered for protecting the Buffalo River than changing it. Better for the wind to whisper your name as it flows across the gentle currents of our heritage.
"The idea of supporting a Democrat Marxist masquerading as a centrist for Barack Obama's fourth or fifth term is too terrible to contemplate." These are the words of letter-writer Michael Emerson, describing why he would certainly vote for Donald Trump (even if he's in jail) should he be the Republican nominee in 2024. He says that all presidential candidates are narcissists. And while most may be ambitious to a fault, calling them narcissists is to miss the very definition of the word. And narcissism notwithstanding, malignant narcissists like Trump are another thing altogether.
Emerson claims that there's plenty not to like about Trump, but eschewed all the other Republican wannabes as milquetoast or somehow not up to the task. Seems to me that there were several fine alternatives on the stage at the third Republican debate Wednesday night. They just weren't crazy and perfectly willing to take the country down with them in service of their own selfish aims.
And while said writer claimed not to be a fan of Trump's "flaws," his hateful assessment of the Joe Biden presidency had plenty of the enthusiasm he claimed would be missing in his support of a Trump candidacy. I don't believe him. I think he's been all in for Trump all along. But he appreciates his accomplishments. And what are those? Adding billions to the debt so that millionaires can get huge tax breaks, and stacking the courts with more conservative judges who seem to love receiving lavish gifts from rich donors while keeping them secret from the public?
One final note: The hardest decision a woman can make isn't yours.