Forum, July 4: Take Time Today to Thank a Veteran

Tuesday, July 03, 2018
My Declaration of Independence

I sometimes receive “funny” things by email from certain people. Often they are images intended to bash entire groups of people who might think differently. Today it was almost nothing but that. I don’t care if someone has certain ideas or opinions, if they actually thought things through themselves and came to those conclusions. But simply parroting someone else is another matter.

So I finally felt like writing back with my two cents, especially for the 4th of July. Here’s my reply:

All right. I’ve laughed at some of these, but here’s what I think as we celebrate the 4th of July: Kind of funny, maybe, but unbelievably simplistic. If anyone really thinks the source of all of our problems is just the Democratic Party or any party, they are either deaf, dumb and blind, or just getting opinions from the guy on the next barstool. And if anyone thinks it’s wrong or “un-American” to disagree with something here, or to dislike a president, maybe they should move to someplace where it’s not allowed, like North Korea or Iran. Do you think it’s a coincidence that free speech is the first amendment?

How are we ever supposed to really understand each other or anything else if we only listen to people who feed us what they think we want to hear. There are people who make their living playing to that, and we’re suckers to fall for it. That’s mind control. Do you want to be told what to think by some overpaid clown in the media, or your buddy? We’re more polarized than ever, and it does us no good, but our enemies must love it. “Divide and conquer” as they say. Why play their game? Please open your eyes, ears and minds, look at the whole picture, and for your sake and all of us, think for yourself. Thank you.

Happy birthday, USA. It’s a good time to think, individually, about what it truly means to be free — and free thinking.

Mike Read


Take Time to Thank a Veteran

Fourth of July is a day that we all celebrate our independence with barbecues, parades and fireworks. While we partake in these festivities, I ask that you take the time to acknowledge the sacrifices made by our armed forces to ensure we are able to rejoice in such a way.

I challenge all those who live in Vermont and New Hampshire to take time out of your celebrations to thank a veteran or someone on active duty with a handshake, a letter or a silent prayer and grateful thoughts. Please remember those died who light the way for an even brighter future for our nation.

Every day, our White River Junction VA Medical Center staff and volunteers throughout Vermont and New Hampshire are able to look into the eyes of our veterans, say “thank you” and give back in a unique way. We are able to hear stories of the courageous efforts of all our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. We are privileged to do so.

As I pause this Independence Day to honor those who were courageous enough to stand tall for their country and beliefs, I will be reflecting upon the VA mission of serving all of those who served. I ask that you to do the same.

Dr. Brett Rusch

Acting Medical Center Director

VA Medical Center

White River Junction

Stand Up for Fairness

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens from seven countries, six of which comprise a majority Muslim citizenry, amounts to a defenestration of reason, justice, liberty and, above all, democracy.

But the ruling allowing Trump and his minions to enforce his blatant “Muslim ban” — so described by Trump himself before and after the 2016 election — does not mean we must as well.

Indeed, what I thought of first upon reading the news of the decision was a student from Iran, one of the nations included in all three iterations of the travel ban, who I was lucky enough to meet and befriend during college. And it was but four years ago that I first crossed her path. With her parents and family still living in Iran, it is intelligent, sensitive and kind individuals — humans no less than we “legal” Americans — who are unfairly harmed by this ludicrous policy and subsequent, misguided judicial decision. That she and the countless others from these seven nations constitute a legitimate “national security threat” is as specious a claim as Trump’s Obama-birther conspiracy.

Those who believe in democracy, and the importance of standing up for justice, cannot let this stand. I welcome with open arms any and all who might seek to enter this country in pursuit of what it once stood for — and, with hope, will again: truth, inclusivity, fairness and equality for all.

Galen Muskat


In Hog Heaven

Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. An old maxim, attributed to Shaw, Twain, Lincoln, etc., but true withal.

Stan Brown

West Lebanon