1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



 Pity for the suffering or distress of another, with the desire to help or spare.
Dan Duff

After the September 11 terrorist attacks which took down two of the most prominent buildings in America, smashed into the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, there was an outpouring of grief that had not been seen in this country since the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. Not only did we demand that someone in Washington do something to make this attack the last time it would ever happen on American soil, we wanted the families of the victims to know we would give them something to help them try to cope with their loss and get them through the times ahead. It was reported that over a half billion dollars had been given through several agencies and the families would receive anywhere from a little less than a half a million to over one million dollars to help put their lives back together. I applauded that then and applaud it now. The American people have always been overly generous.
Today we have other families. Families of young men who have put their lives on the line to stop terrorism. Not in this country, but in countries where the people who carried out the tasks of September were trained and bankrolled to come to this country and carry out their acts of violence. These are the families of the young men and women who serve in the military. This week if all goes as planned by Saddam Insane and his bunch living in some cave under Iraq, will see the fatality count go over 170. Far less than the three thousand who died on September 11, yet no one is pouring out one single dime to help the families of these soldiers.
We could use the excuse that, it is their job, or they volunteered, but those excuses are just excuses. I think it is more to the effect that they are part of the government and as such they will be compensated by the government for the loss of their loved one. Nothing could be further from the truth. The money put out by the government for the families of soldiers who die in combat wouldn’t pay for a good dinner and cigar for the heads of the Red Cross, United Way and some of the other major relief organizations whose upper management make in excess of a million a year. 

I am a western movie buff and sometimes will watch hours of westerns on television. In some of these movies you see a town or county bring in gun slingers to protect the areas from marauders and rustlers. That is exactly what this country has done by keeping a standing army. We have hired professional gun slingers to keep terrorists out of our country and we need to let the families of the ones who paid the ultimate price know we appreciate what they have done for us.

We ought to remember that our military is strictly volunteers. No one made them join. But we do make them fight. The volunteers have joined, but their families were drafted. They too serve because their husbands and wives are in the military service. It is time these people were given the same money payments as the victims of September 11.

 Right now these dedicated men and women are in the middle east. Keeping the governments and terrorists organizations at bay there. The choice is ours and we can say its a problem for the government to solve, but the loss for the families of the 160 or so that are dead is just as devastating, and just as real as for those of 9/11. The children must still grow up without a parent. Wives and husbands left behind must put their lives back into some sort of structure and go on. Most of those left behind must go back to family for food and shelter. We walk the streets and go about our business in safety because of their efforts.

 I know of no better way to say thank you to these people than giving the survivors something to help put their lives back in order. I do see a lot of lives helped and burdens eased by the outpouring of a few dollars from the American people.