Friday, December 15, 2017

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Letters on giving thanks, anthems worth respect

Nov. 25, 2017 at 10:37 p.m.

Giving thanks

I was born on Chicago's south side, a stone's throw from the stockyards; a melting pot neighborhood. It was one that did not have the word "poverty" in its vernacular.

I grew up in a cold water, walkup flat. Now they are called apartments. The building was quite typical for such a neighborhood: a four- or five-story wooden frame building with four flats opening onto a common hallway/stairwell on each floor. Our flat didn't have a front door (it had been missing longer than any of the residents could recall). The doorway into the hallway was closed off with a patchwork quilt nailed to the upper edge of the door frame and extended a foot or so beyond both sides to ensure some privacy.

The quilt was replete with the odors of previous years — the sage dressing of last Christmas, the toast that burnt on the stove top toaster, the candles in the scorched pumpkin last Halloween and the odor of the kerosene heater almost extinguished when the bath water being heated on it spilled down into the burner.

Baths were on Saturday evening, in a large galvanized washtub that always hung, when not in use, from a nail on the back porch wall.

And, oh, to this day I can close my eyes and vividly recall the feeling of the frigid linoleum-covered floor beneath my feet when I was the first out of bed on those coldest of cold winter mornings, and the sensation of the first semblance of heat radiating from the recently lighted heater, now glowing behind the isinglass view port.

This Thanksgiving, as in all of the years since my early childhood, I will pause to thank God, the great architect of the universe, for the abundance of blessings I have had in my time — freedom, opportunity, a wonderful military career, a family business career, a secure home, a loving wife and family with children. grandchildren and great-grandchildren, friends and loved ones.

But this year more than any other, I feel an overwhelming gratitude I am at a loss to adequately express. Thank God I didn't have a federal program to lock me into where I was.

Bob Worn, Pritchett

Some not deserving

I'm sitting here reading a letter (Nov. 15) that has me very irritated. The writer says we should stand for other countries' anthems to show friendship and cooperation. Well, I'm a U.S. veteran and the only countries I stand for during their anthem are the countries that have fought alongside the United States fighting for freedom and doing away with world aggression.

Countries like North Korea, Iran, Syria, etc., do not deserve any American's respect because of the human conflict they have inflicted upon their citizens. These countries put their citizens into slavery, treat women as second-class citizens, and rule with an iron fist. I beg your pardon, but I cannot and will not show respect to these countries.

There is a famous country western singer here in Longview that has come out with a new song about pro football players taking a knee during the national anthem. I totally agree with it.

If anyone disrespects our flag or anthem, it disrespects all the men and women that have given the ultimate sacrifice to keep this country free. There is an old saying among veterans: "Freedom is not free."

Michael Hampton, Longview



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