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Letters to the Editor

December 18, 2009

Writer wishes all a Merry Christmas



To the editor:

I don't have my Christmas cards ready yet, haven't even started to think about cookies, still have to finish the decorating, the shopping, the wrapping, etc. Well, at least the tree is up. And people ask me if I am ready for Christmas? Ha ha, me?

But I am ready for the true meaning of the day. Usually the night before, I finish all of the "busy work." It is all crazy, but fun. I love this time of year. People seem so much happier buying for others. Even though it gets dark earlier, things are so much brighter with all of the lights and decorations.

I don't let the stress part get to me - well, I try not to - as I know what is important. I think of the cold, dark night and a first-time mother giving birth to a special child in a lowly place. But how marvelous it must have been to be surrounded by so much love that must have just permeated that stable.

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Any child's birth is a day to celebrate, but that one was even more important - the baby Jesus. So you will hear me say "Merry Christmas" because that is the holiday I celebrate. If I know you celebrate another, I will wish you a happy whatever your day is also, but mine remains the same and I will also wish you that out of love.

I just love the Christmas movies. Some are easier to watch this year because our sons are closer to home. We have had a good many years without our boys and grandchildren close.

At this joyous time, we need to remember there are some people who have an empty place at their table, whether someone has moved away, passed on or are serving in the military. It is a time to remember your loved ones and all of the good memories, and smile. If they have gone to heaven, they are celebrating in a prettier place than we are.

Merry Christmas to all and God bless you, everyone.

Darlene (Slick) Hoffman
Sharpsburg




Troops need to have best technology available



To the editor:

President Obama is right to commit more troops to Afghanistan. Now is not the time for half measures if we want to succeed in routing the Taliban and denying the terrorists there a safe training ground.

But sending more troops is not enough. We also need to provide them with the next generation technology that will help them find the insurgents and beat them on their home turf. Today, most troops are still using legacy radios, vehicles and technology that are holdovers from the Cold War, which can't give soldiers a bird's-eye view of the battlefield and can't share information.

That's why the Pentagon needs to fast track Army modernization efforts, especially new networking and communications technologies that taxpayers have already spent billions bringing to the brink of completion. In particular, the Pentagon needs to move forward on the network the Army was developing as part of the now-canceled Future Combat Systems program. While this program had a number of challenges, the next generation network that was part of it is desperately needed.

Here at home, we're rightly concerned that every school be hooked up to broadband Internet. We need to make a similar effort for our troops. After all, in Afghanistan, information is a matter of life and death, victory and defeat.

George Autobee
American GI Forum of the United States
Washington, D.C.

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