Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, November 3, 2003


Page 7


In My Opinion (Column)

Remembering the Defenders of Freedom


By Tony Strickland


    (The writer represents the 37th Assembly District, which includes portions of Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Simi Valley, Los Angeles, Moorpark, Santa Paula, Fillmore and Ojai. He is also the Assembly Republican Caucus Chairman.)


When asked to name their hero, most people mention a public figure such as a world leader, movie star, athlete, motivational speaker or other person. I tell people my hero is my father—Donald Strickland.

You see, my dad is a veteran having served more than 20 years in the military, and he fought in Korea and Vietnam. My dad was in the 82nd Airborne Division, and I was born at Fort Ord Army Base in Northern California. My dad wore our country’s uniform and put his life on the line for our freedom and liberties—and those who made that sacrifice are heroes in my book.

America’s gratitude for those heroes who fought to preserve our democracy and way of life knows no bounds. As we honor their bravery on Veterans Day, we remember th countless sacrifices they made to keep our nation safe, and their valiant work in preserving freedom and democracy around the world.

In his 2002 Veterans Day proclamation, President Bush said, “America was founded on the principles of liberty, opportunity, and justice for all, and on Veteran Day we recognize the men and women of our Armed Forces who have valiantly defended these values throughout our nation’s history.”

Veterans Day is perhaps one of the most important occasions we can celebrate each year. This is the time when we reflect upon the ideals that we treasure as Americans.

Defending our country is not just an abstract notion out of a history textbook. Protecting our citizens from harm from a hostile nation means protecting our American values of freedom and democracy.

Everyone who values the freedoms and liberties we take for granted should pause on Veterans Day to thank our friends and loved ones  for their sacrifices in defending our right to be free.

Thanking veterans for their service to our community is one way to honor their selfless contribution, but there is more we can do to honor their sacrifices.

Several measures were considered in the Legislature this year to improve the quality of life for veterans, from establishing a voluntary income tax check-off on the state income tax form to allow taxpayers to contribute to the support of Veterans Home operations, to encouraging the federal government to expand the eligibility of low-interest loan programs for veterans.

It is one small way California taxpayers can thank veterans for their service to our country.

President Bush concluded his 2002 Veterans Day proclamation by stating “by answering the call of duty and risking their lives to protect their fellow countrymen, these patriots have inspired our Nation with their courage, compassion, and dedication.” I can think of no better tribute to our veterans as we remember their service on this Veteran Day.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company