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Observing Memorial Day

May 28, 1988

As we approach Memorial Day, I have been thinking of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. He said, "It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . ."

As I listen to the news and view the state of our great nation today, I feel we have let down those who made the supreme sacrifice. How have we managed to fail so miserably? Is it only the natural progression of any nation as it ages?

In an odd way, wars bring us together again, even those we don't all support. Each in his own way is doing his best as he sees it for the country. The Civil War almost destroyed us, but we were stronger in purpose after painful rebuilding. Since World War II, though, it has been mostly downhill. What went wrong?

George Washington's soldiers at Valley Forge would be shocked to see the homeless freezing on the streets today in the winter. We can't seem to solve this problem. The CIA makes deals with drug dealers saying the end justifies the means, and now we have a drug war with our own people which we can't win. Wall Street has been taken over by greed, and no one can agree on how to fix it. The politicians are on the take from the political actions committees, and Congress on the whole seems to be out to get the President. We, who saved Europe and Japan and started them on the road to economic success, have now become a debtor nation. Our schools are failing to educate our children--it is too depressing to continue.

To the veterans on this Memorial Day, I want to say I am sorry and ashamed that we have failed to live up to the cause for which they gave all.

Is it too late to begin again? Are there enough true Americans with the will to try?

JEANNE H. MANNING

Huntington Beach

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