To the editor:
Perhaps like many of you, I have grown weary of this season’s political landscape. Recently, I have been ridiculed while my character, ethics and capabilities have been slandered. My yard signs have been vandalized and stolen. I vowed to refrain from reacting to this behavior, whether it be with defense tactics or more accusations. My time is limited and life is too short.
However, while attending the Annual Memorial Service sponsored by the Portsmouth Beirut Marine Memorial Committee, I received the inspiration to write this letter. The service was held at the Portsmouth Historical Society, formerly the Union Church, another historical gem in Town, in the Chapel upstairs. It was a sunny, crisp morning, the doors were open and natural daylight was ample for the families and friends in attendance. Gifted members of the Navy Band Northeast graciously provided music. It was a somber, yet uplifting experience.
The highlight for me was a moving speech given by Guest Speaker Lieutenant Colonel William Wando, USMC. He described the scene in Beirut and the adversities our Marines endured. He spoke of serving in the military when it was unpopular, of sometimes returning home from duty and being insulted or, at worst, spat upon. He reminded us that these men and women served nonetheless, because it was their job. The importance of remembering their sacrifices was communicated very effectively.
Lieutenant Colonel Wando often spoke of remembering the lessons of the past so they would not be repeated. He stressed the need to be vigilant against terrorists who have “no concept of honor, no concept of anything but enforcing their will upon others” which is what we stand against. He closed with the thought that sometimes it takes a tragedy to remind us of what is important in life. He also indicated that his speech was not prepared; that he spoke from his heart. This was apparent, since mine was clearly touched.
When I put things into perspective, my sacrifices pale in comparison to those of our military people. The Marines in Beirut fought and died for our freedoms, of which include expressing our views without fear of retaliation. If they can do this for their country, I can certainly do the best I can for our Town.
After the Memorial Service, I found myself considerably less weary and more optimistic. I trust that through the process of democracy, even given all of our differences, we will find common ground. Whatever the results of the election, I am grateful to have served the Town of Portsmouth and for the right to vote. And I thank all those in service for the sacrifices they make in order to protect these privileges.