Paynesville Press - April 30, 2003

Community Perspective

Staters' writings reflect on patriotism

By Jon Scheierl

The war on Iraq is a very controversial issue at this time in our country's history. I believe this War on Terrorism is the most important event that has happened to our country in my lifetime.

This is an event that will be remembered for good or bad. I don't know quite yet which one.

I am not sure if the start of this war was premature, but I am sure that I fully support our troops that are in Iraq fighting. I give them my full support because I know several people that have been shipped overseas or are going to be shipped out.

I wish that all of them return home safely after this war is done and over.

I can also see why people are protesting against the war, but I don't agree with them. Our troops are fighting to keep us all free and for all our rights. Those who are against the war have the right to protest, which is one of the rights the troops are fighting for. This is one of the reasons that make the United States such a great country.

As the media has so vigorously expressed, this war will be like no other. I have to agree with them on that fact. We now have a completely volunteer military compared to the troops we had involved in most other major U.S. conflicts.

We also have more media coverage of the day-to-day events in these battles. I think the media is providing too much coverage, I think it is getting in the way of the soldiers trying to fight and might jeopardize their mission as the Iraqis watch on TV where they are.

When I was in Germany last month I had a chance to find out what the Germans thought about the situation in Iraq. When my group was walking around Munich we saw some signs that were anti-war. Some of the signs read "Screw Bush and his war," which when I passed made me a little uneasy. Most of the signs were not anti- American but anti-Bush or anti-war.

When I talked to my host family about the situation Iraq they were unsure about the war that was coming. One thing they did express is that most people in Germany are against Rumsfeld more than anything because he doesn't respect their decisions.

This past week I had a conversation with an active army recruiter. He asked me what I thought of the war. I told him that I fully support this action and we should destroy Saddam's regime. He told me that around this area of the state the farther you go from St. Cloud the less anti-war feelings you find I'm not sure why this is. He seemed very open about the war and service. His feelings of course were pro-war.

After thinking about it from some different sides I would still have to say I support the decisions of our government thus far. I can see why they moved into action when they did. This war will be a major part of our lives for at least the next couple of months. I hope this conflict is resolved as soon as possible with a low number of casualties.

By Eric Roos

America is a land of diversity, consisting of many different ethnic groups and religions. Over two hundred years ago, people from all over the world migrated here, in hopes of carrying out their dreams and freedoms. Through over a dozen wars and a handful of terrorist attacks, America has always remained strong and united.

Through the eyes of a child, the world appears to be simple and peaceful. As I've grown through the years, I think being an American means to be an active member of the government, to support our president, troops, and other elected officials, to enjoy our freedom, and to strive together with the citizens of America, to make it a great place to live.

Because the Untied States has a democratic government, we are able to freely elect officials that we feel would best represent us as citizens.

Our part is to make sure that we go out and vote, to take advantage of an activity that people over the years have fought to carry out. Other means of being active in the government include abiding by the laws and serving on juries when called upon.

Through times of war, political distress, and general daily life, we should, as Americans, support President Bush. Going against his decisions and disregarding him is like disregarding ourselves, as we voted him into office. The President, also being an American, feels that it is in our best interests to bring down the ringleaders of terrorism, so that we may live in a world of peace. He doesn't make spur of the moment decisions; he just tries to do what is best for us. In exchange for his leadership, we should find it within us to support his ideas, even if we feel they aren't the best.

Being an active member of a community is another part of being an American. Community service and volunteer work are sometimes thankless jobs, but the outcomes and benefits are substantial. By helping others in the community, one is making it a better place to live.

The final part of being an American is to enjoy freedom. We are able to walk the streets of our towns without having fear that something horrific is going to happen. We are able to speak freely and print our ideas, without being thrown in jail. In our country, we take for granted many things that people in other countries could be killed for. We need to use our freedom to the fullest, and help people in other countries to gain freedom.

Although it's hard to put it in exact words, being an American consists of many things, such as supporting our President and troops, being an active member of the government, enjoying our freedom, and working together with other citizens of a community to make it strive. After all, through a lot of hard work and not settling for less, we are united together as Americans, by the red, the white, and the blue!

Jon Scheierl and Eric Roos are juniors at PAHS and wrote these essays for the Boys Stater competition.

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