Mute swans, some robins, some cardinals, herons, storks, flamingos, cranes and red-winged blackbirds are just a handful of the birds targeted. Don't let the hunting and aquaculture lobbies kill these birds. They got this thing passed by sneaking it into an unrelated spending bill.
The president does not have a line-item veto, but he can probably do something because of the treaties protecting most of these birds. You have to act now to kill this despicable bill. This will eliminate 93 species of birds we all know and love. Stop it now.
Thanks to the good Samaritans
To the editor:
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all of you who packed shoe boxes around our region. Wow how God has blessed our efforts. We collected 33,200 shoe boxes to be distributed to needy children around the world through Samaritan's Purse.
I am always amazed by this area and how you respond when there is a need. We also are packing a 48-foot tractor-trailer with items to fill shoe boxes for the Charlotte, S.C., processing center.
A special thank you to all the relay centers that worked so hard and opened your churches and businesses to accept shoe-box gifts. Without the help of so many volunteers, this mission could not be accomplished. Nick Turano and the employees of Blue Mountain Cookery and Hess-Armaclad were outstanding as they offered their facilities to make our job so much easier.
Thank you. It was such a joy to work with all of you. My hope is that as you enter this Christmas season, you will feel especially blessed because you cared enough to show compassion to a hurting child in another part of the world.
Operation Christmas Child
A letter from Iraq
To the editor:
Greetings from the city of Baqubah, Iraq. As I sat in the Tactical Operations Center C Company 141 Engineers at 3:30 a.m. awaiting our mission brief from the patrol commander on the upcoming operation to sweep for Improvised Explosive Devices in our area, I had an epiphany regarding the subject of relationships.
It was rather apt, given the fact that this National Guard unit, which we have come to know as " The Trailblazers," illustrates my point rather well.
Most members of this unit, who hail from the great state of North Dakota, have grown up in the same geographical area, having known each other from the beginnings of their educational experiences.
In some cases you have fathers, sons and other family members serving in the same outfit as part of a long-standing family tradition. So it's quite normal that they experience a greater sense of family and community relationships as they live and work together. Looking introspectively, it is easy to understand why I have a natural desire to draw closer to this fine group of Americans who place their lives at risk daily in order to help protect our many Convoy Logistical Patrols and other missions that traverse our main supply routes.
Like many within the 3rd Brigade, I am on my second back-to-back deployment, and whenever we return to Vilseck, Germany, I will have been away from my home, family and community for 25 months out of the last 30.
That's not even counting numerous field training exercises at Graf Training Area. During my time away, I have missed birthdays, anniversaries, my son's first tooth and many other milestones in the life of my family.
But I know that my situation is not unique, and in our service to our country we, as soldiers and family members, sacrifice many things so that we as a people can continue to enjoy the freedoms that have made our country great.
Having said that, I know that without God working in our midst, none of these freedoms would be possible. In each man and woman, God has placed a natural yearning for relationships such as those we share with our family and close friends.
However, these human relationships involve fallible human beings and cannot truly satisfy our deep-seated need for intimacy. This intimacy can only be found in our relationship with God through his son, Jesus Christ.
My prayer for you is this: That you, too, will come to experience the life-changing event that has set many, including myself, free from the daily burdens and sufferings of this life.
SSG Sean Patrick Fitzwilliam
3rd Brigade Combat Team
(Editor's note: The author of this letter is the son-in-law of Edward L. James of Hancock.)