The only thing "highly questionable" and "ill-defined" about this war is grasping why people like Strongin can't understand how hurtful their posturing is. He sees his opposition to Bush as his free speech right, but I see it as giving the enemy hope. Hope that if he fights on for a while longer, a change in policy might occur to give them victory.
Strongin implies that after 9/11 we were not all asked to make sacrifices for the war effort. But he is just unwilling to accept and shoulder his share because it doesn't suit him. Those of us in the military and with children in the military were asked to get ready for the war that was bound to come and could require the ultimate sacrifice.
Others were asked not to stand in the way of their children who felt the need to enter the military. Rather, they were called upon to support their brave decision. Others were asked to give of their resources in support of the families who lost so much in terrorist attacks. Others were asked to put aside partisan politics and unite as we as a nation fight terrorism around the world. In fact we are now, and will in the future, continue to be called upon to do those things until we win.
And all of us were called upon to get on with life. The economy suffered tremendously as a result of the 9/11 attacks and to respond in fear would only serve to give the terrorists a greater victory. On Oct. 11, 2001, exactly one month after terrorists used airliners to attack America, my wife and I were on an airplane (half full) flying across the Atlantic to visit family in Germany. The one thing we refused to let the terrorists do was terrorize us.
Now, after four years of no further attacks on our soil it is quite appropriate to carry on the inaugural tradition, including the balls. I am sure that such a celebration would have been OK with Strongin if his candidate had won.
Edward L. James
Words had ring of history
To the editor:
I wish to commend Jim Strongin for his eloquent and thoughtful letter to the editor, "Oddly festive in a time of war" (Sunday, Feb. 6). It's beautiful to behold what an intelligent mind can produce.
I only regret that my dad, who died this past September, didn't have the opportunity to read it. He would have been deeply impressed for, in the early 1940s, while an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, he wrote with similar eloquence and compassion about America's war effort and the sacrifices required at home to help bring the war to a successful conclusion.
My father was born in 1915, graduated from high school in 1932 but, because of overwhelming privation, didn't get to college until 1938, and then only because of a series of remarkable coincidences.
Shortly after he began his sophomore year, the publisher of The Valley Register in Middletown invited him to write a weekly column for that newspaper. The column was entitled "Between You and Me" and ran for three years. Many of those written after America's entry into the war focused on subjects that Strongin mentions in his letter.
The following are excerpts from a couple of dad's columns:
"A Happy New Year!"
Never before have the American people felt a closer unity and kinship. Once they were pulling this way and that; now suddenly they discover they are all going the same way, all intent upon the same goal. Never before have they been so resolute of action; so soberly optimistic. Suddenly they have come to realize that the things they bothered about least are the things they value most. They are not fighting for themselves alone, but for each other and for each other's wives and children. - Jan. 2, 1942.