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Stars, Common People Are Free to Speak Out

LETTERS TO THE TIMES

March 04, 2003

Re "For Sheen, Being a Peacemaker Is Not a Role but a Calling," March 2: How sad that in times like these, many people completely lose sight of what it means to be an American. Martin Sheen is a "true American" because he is standing up for what he believes in, simple as that. Don't we value freedom of speech? Does the speech have to fall in line with the official stance on all issues?

I too have been called names and told to go to Iraq as a human shield if I am against the war, and told to be a "true American" and support the war. Our founding fathers would be disgusted if they were here to hear this rhetoric.

Mark Storhaug

Los Angeles

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The picture of Sheen and Cardinal Roger M. Mahony jumped out at me -- Sheen with a holier-than-thou look and a laughing, joyful, clapping Cardinal Mahony next to him. I am just an ordinary grandmother with a granddaughter living in a tent in Kuwait with cold wind blowing through it. She is there along with other young men and women to defend Sheen's "right" to speak out. They are there to try to give that right to other men and women to speak out.

There are several other articles in the Sunday Times with pictures. "Call of Duty" shows a reservist with his 2-year-old daughter on his shoulders. "U.S. Seeks to Fortify Troops With Tastier Field Cuisine" includes a photo of two Marines from Camp Pendleton sitting on the ground eating in Kuwait.

With "Reservists Answer Call to Duty" there is a photo of a Marine from Camp Pendleton with his wife, holding his daughter, and a picture of a lieutenant colonel leaving her small law firm. These are U.S. citizens willing to sacrifice for the United States.

Mr. Sheen, you have that right to speak out. I'm sure the world that doesn't have that right will love to use what you say. You see, Mr. Sheen, I have a right to say that also.

Sheila Erlanson

Long Beach

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Thank God for Martin Sheen. Without famous voices like his, I doubt the opposition to the war would receive any coverage from our cheerleading media. As for the hate mail and accusations of being a traitor, I am reminded of the Scriptures: "No prophet is accepted in his own native place."

Mr. Sheen, please continue your prophetic and courageous efforts for peace.

George Bentley

La Puente

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