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June 2012
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Vet who took podium at ceremony deserves credit for speaking truth

By MIKE REED Paducah


Signs of the times pop up everywhere.

When I walked up to our Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Monday evening I expected to pay tribute to the veterans of my generation as in years past. But in addition I was met with unexpected inspiration.

The speakers did an admirable job and the bugler played the best rendition of "Taps" ever. Couldn't help noticing that the emcee was uncomfortable and self-conscious - apologizing a half-dozen times or so, even worrying whether he'd be invited back to next year's observance.

The hazard - ? He seemed anxious about speaking too frankly.

Things flowed to a natural conclusion when just as the emcee was wrapping up, one of the vets raised his hand, walked to the podium and asked to speak.

"Have any of you vets repudiated his Oath of Enlistment?"

A few murmured, "No."

"We swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies - foreign and domestic. Nowadays the worst enemies are domestic."

At this the emcee motioned for the speaker to leave the podium, and then he apologized for the outburst.

I wish I'd stood to applaud and defend the contrary vet's right to speak - especially since he'd offered his life to defend others' freedoms.

At least I'd like to take a minute to thank him now.

I don't know your name, but I thank you for your courage and ask you to keep it up.

May God multiply your tribe and amplify your voice.

And may the rest of us come out of hiding and join the chorus, before it's too late.



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