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Offended by the anti-war propaganda
By Gerry Kay Olmstead


July 10, 2006

During our 4th of July parade, I was offended by the anti-war propaganda. I became even more emotional when they tossed candy to the children that had the anti-war slogans taped to each peice. My family and I stood there quite shocked and in somewhat of a stupor for a moment as the situation was sinking in. We felt very conflicted as we just cheered on the troops at the top of our lugs, and applauded them with pride and respect.

All at once it sunk in and some family members threw the candy and messages back into the street, I took the candy from my neices and personally handed it back to the demonstrators and told them we didn't want anything from them. I was looked at by the demonstrators with dissapointed gazes. So why did I all of a sudden look like the bad guy? Such an odd situation. Here I am honoring the troops that help protect my freedoms, one of them being freedom of speech. And here is a group of people doing exactly what our freedoms allow them to do. Should I be offended by these demonstrators exercising their rights of feedom? Isn't that what our soldiers are fighting to protect? Yet, couldn't they not demonstrate in the parade on Independence Day? I really felt that it was a slap in the face to our soldiers.

I have been thinking about this so much since the parade, and I have talked to many people about it since then. The most impacting response was one that I got from a veteran that served in the US Marine Corps. He told me that the soldiers that are serving are doing so because they chose too. We don't have a draft at this point in time, the soldiers are enlisted because they want this as their career. Very simple and basic. They were not forced to serve their country, THEY WANT TO.

Thank you for reading MY opinion that I'm sharing with you via my right to freedom of speech. I would like to share with you a special poem that I ran across this year that actually sums up what I'm trying to convey in beautiful & heartwarming words:


"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protesters to burn the flag.

- Father Denis Edward OBrien, USMC

Gerry Kay Olmstead
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: "I am a proud AMERICAN. I can't thank the troops enough for their personal sacrifices in order to keep us safe."



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