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January 19, 2005



One of my sons serves in the military. He is still stateside, here in California.
He called me yesterday to let me know how warm and welcoming people were
to him, and his troops, everywhere he goes, telling me how people shake their
hands, and thank them for being willing to serve, and fight, for not only our
own freedoms but so that others may have them also.

But he also told me about an incident in the grocery store he stopped at
yesterday, on his way home from the base. He said that ahead of several people
in front of him stood a woman dressed in a burkha. He said when she got to the
cashier she loudly remarked about the US flag lapel pin the cashier wore on her
smock. The cashier reached up and touched the pin, and said proudly, "yes,
I always wear it and I probably always will." The woman in the burkha
then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing her countrymen,
explaining that she was Iraqi. A gentleman standing behind my son
stepped forward, putting his arm around my son's shoulders, and nodding
towards my son, said in a calm and gentle voice to the Iraqi woman:

"Lady, hundreds of thousands of men and women like this young man have
fought and died so that YOU could stand here, in MY country and accuse
a check-out cashier of bombing YOUR countrymen. It is my belief that had
you been this outspoken in YOUR own country, we wouldn't need to be there
today. But, hey, if you have now learned how to speak out so loudly and clearly,
I'll gladly buy you a ticket and pay your way back to Iraq so you can straighten out the mess in YOUR country that you are obviously here in MY country to avoid.

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