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Our Readers Write…

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 7:00 pm

To The Editor:
I went into the military when I was 17 and got out after serving 22-plus years. I hoped that when I was serving that I was doing my very small part of protecting this great country. Many others before and after me have served, and probably in worst conditions than I. The goal was the same. Unfortunately, I am beginning to believe that our greatest threat to our country is in Washington.
I was born in 1934 in the middle of the Great Depression that began in 1929. The Stock Market (Wall Street) crashed due to highly inflated stock prices, individuals over-borrowing, banks charging high interest rates and a plethora of other reasons. This caused a chain reaction all over the world. People could not pay their bills, banks went under, purchases declined sharply and unemployment rose to extremely high levels. People lost their homes and all of their belongings. Many were out on the streets looking for work and food, and many of these proud people had to beg for that food. Soup kitchens were set up but portions were  not enough to feed families. The Dust Bowl in the southern states added immensely to the poverty  and deprivation. This is just a small example of what took place during this time period. There are many different takes as to all of the causes of this horrific period, but they all agree on how disastrous it was. I was too young to comprehend the grief suffered by my family and others, but I do know that when I read about it, it gets to me emotionally.
Shortly after this terrible period, the United States was hit with another catastrophic event. On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. declared war on Japan on Dec. 8. Three days later, Dec. 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. ands that completed our entry into WW2. We were engaged in this terrible war for nearly four years, it ended on Aug. 14, 1945. The overall death toll was astronomical. Total deaths from all countries combined is estimated at 1,995,537,400. The U.S. military losses were estimated at 416,800 and the total over all was 418,500.
The families that lived through these catastrophic events were coined, “The Greatest Generation,” by Tom Brokaw; and that they were. I am very proud to have come from that Greatest Generation and to see their greatness in how they were able to cope with and overcome such devastating conditions.
Today, when I look at this country, I am greatly disappointed and very concerned with the direction it is headed. Freedom is a wonderful thing and many have paid dearly for it with their lives, but freedom without limits and standards cannot last, and neither can this country.
When we vote for someone that is going to lead the greatest country in the free world, we need to evaluate the individual on as many qualities as possible. It is quite obvious that far too many voters do not take their voting seriously. It is pitiful that some in this last election were to told to vote with revenge. That really shows how insecure that person was and it is unfortunate we have people in power with that attitude.
It might be well to remember that no political party is always right or always wrong. If they do something right, that’s great. Here are two quotes that I agree with and try to live by even though I didn’t always agree with what they did. President John F. Kennedy said in his Inaugural Address, “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You — Ask What You Can Do For Your Country.” Martin Luther King Jr. told his children not to judge a person by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. If we lived by those standards, our country would be in a much better shape.
Our national debt is over sixteen trillion dollars. It was increased by  over five trillion in the last four years.
It does not take a genius to figure out that if it is raised that much in the next four years, this country will be worse off than when we were in the Great Depression. World War 2 helped us pull out of the Great Depression last time, who or what will pull us out of the next one?
At my age I don’t have to worry about this but I do worry for my wife, my daughter, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren and all the wonderful people that I have met in my life. God bless you all.
Gary Spence
Troy

Published in The Messenger 1.16.13

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