Saturday, May 26, 2007

Opinion: If, like MHS grad Elliott Anderson, you were delivering a Memorial Day address, what would you say to the nation?

Bush pays tribute to fallen U.S. troops
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press
President Bush urged Americans to use Memorial Day to rededicate themselves to fighting for freedom around the world and pray for the safety of U.S. troops serving overseas.

"In Iraq and Afghanistan, millions have shown their desire to be free," Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio address. "We are determined to help them secure their liberty. "

On Monday, Bush will mark his sixth Memorial Day as a wartime president with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. He is to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns to honor those who have died in past and current conflicts.

"From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, brave men and women have given up their own futures so that others might have a future of freedom," he said. "Because of their sacrifice, millions here and around the world enjoy the blessings of liberty. And wherever these patriots rest, we offer them the respect and gratitude of our nation."

Bush used his radio address to tell the story of Sgt. David Christoff Jr. of Rossford, Ohio, one of at least 3,431 members of the U.S. military who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003. Christoff signed up for the Marines the day after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, saying he didn't want his brother and sister to "live in fear," Bush said.

Christoff was deployed to Iraq, where he fought in street battles in Fallujah and earned a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in action. He returned to Iraq and was killed last May in the volatile Anbar province.

"When his family received his belongings, his mother and his father each found a letter from David," Bush said. "He asked that they pray for his fellow Marines and all those still serving overseas."

Bush said U.S. troops are helping build democracies that respect the rights of their people, uphold the rule of law and become allies in the fight against extremists.

"On Memorial Day, we rededicate ourselves to freedom's cause," the president said.

For their weekly radio address, Democrats called on Elliot Anderson of Las Vegas, who spent four years on active duty with the Marine Corps, including a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Anderson said patriotism is an American value, not a Democratic or a Republican one.

"I strongly oppose our involvement in Iraq's civil war, but I am still proud of my service to my country," Anderson said.

"But I know I speak for many of my friends overseas when I say that the best way to honor the troops is to responsibly end our involvement in Iraq's civil war. As long as President Bush stays committed to the same policies that aren't working, it won't be easy. But I am proud to see Democrats and now some brave Republicans standing up to him."


Megan B said...

First, I’d like to say I’m glad I don’t have to come up with a question.

If I were in the situation to give a response to the President’s Address, like Elliot Anderson is, I would emphasize the point that a day, in which we are supposed to remember all of the brave men and women who have served and are serving our nation, should be just that to honor them, not an opportunity to bring partisan policy issues to the forefront of discussion and debate throughout the nation. Yes, this is the perfect opportunity to get your message out to the entire nation, since every one has an extra day off, and tries to be in someway or another patriotic, often by becoming more informed on issues currently facing the nation. I would make the point that to honor the men and women who have worn the uniforms of the U.S. armed services, we should not focus on another country to honor our own. I would agree with the President that their sacrifices have time and again secured the blessings of liberty for all the citizen in our nation, but although we have helped other countries secure these blessings our nation’s Armed Forces, serve the primary purpose of ensuring the safety of our own nation. We must not forget or try to conceal mistakes of the past, but rather learn from them, take blame that we are due, work to correct mistakes, and learn to objectively look at all sides of issues before drawing any conclusions. We must also not forget the horrific attacks that occurred on September 11th of 2001, but stop the misleading towards the false conclusion that the Iraq war has a connection to the attacks. There is not evidence to the effect that Al-Quieda was in Iraq before the U.S. invasion, and there is certainly been no evidence that if we don’t show a strong military presence “where the terrorists” live that there will be more attacks at home. I would conclude by making the appeal to the American people that the men and women who have served should be given the respect that they are due, giving these men and women their undivided reverence on the day to commemorate their service, without the nation having to divide their attention among several foreign policy issues.

BrandonSh said...

I agree that the main point of a Memorial Day address should be remembering fallen soldiers and veterans of wars. But I think it's important to bring up current issues as well. I don't doubt that the President will talk about the need to "finish the job" in Iraq. Well, we already have over 3,000 troops that only exist in memory and it needs to be brought to the peoples attention that the numbers are only growing. After all, this address is ultimately a response to the President's address. Like Megan, I would agree with the President about sacrifices the Armed Forces have made to keep freedom alive in this nation, but I would also point out that what is happening in Iraq is not working, and on top of that, there was no immediate threat in Iraq in the first place. I would end by asking Americans to remember fallen heroes of all conflicts past and present and remind them that peace isn't impossible. I would also say that if we achieved peace in this world, our heroes would still be alive.

tonileep said...

First of all, I would thank all the men and women who have bravely fought for our country and remember those who have died trying. Also, I would encourage citizens to be patriotic and always be thankful that we have freedom. That through all the difficult times we have encountered we have always remained strong and hoped for the best and will contiune to fight for what we believe in. It is a day of remembering those who have fought and that is what the address should concern.

BrandonK said...

I agree with Elliot that the address is not a democratic or republican thing, but a statement in remembrance to all of the soldiers who have served their country. I would also say (like Elliot) that even though people are strongly opposed to the war, they should continue to support and honor our fighting forces. I would continue to talk about the importance of coming to a timely conclusion to this war, I would re-emphasize that discenting opinions are not un-patriotic and have a definite place in a democratic society. I would close, once again thanking all troops that have served our country.

KimK said...

I agree with Megan that this address should not be used to enhance the speaker's party, but to honor and recognize those who have fought for or are fighting for our country. Ideally, this address should be used purely to honor those who have fought for our country, not to make statements about the specific war or the country's policy regarding the war.

KerryW said...

I agree with the others in saying that the speech should be about the men and women who have died for us. Although it would be tempting to promote an idea and take advantage of this special occasion that people would be listening to the speech, you shouldn't do it. It can't be about your views and current events for that day. The speech should be about the history of Memorial Day and why it is so important to us. It would not be right to make the speech about you for this particular occasion.

Megan B said...

Opinion: Were the latest foiled terror attack at JFK international airport a product of luck, good intelligence, or a combination of the two? And what do you feel the symbolism is behind trying to attack JFK?

I think that there was a combination of good intelligence and there was some luck involved in stopping the plot to blow up the fuel lines at JFK. The reports show that there was some level of easy in the connection between the American who wanted to carry out an attack and the terrorist leaders in the Caribbean, which shows that not all of international communications are preemptively checked and secured. The latest incident does show that although the FBI and other intelligence agencies do not preemptively screen international communications, they do screen when the level of communication attracts their attention, and they screen enough to catch these types of plots in the planning stages. I think this also shows that they are trying to walk the line and protect America without overly infringing on the right of free speech, by not screening all international communications, and all communications within the U.S.

As for the significance of JFK itself, I think that the terrorist want-to-be’s found the airport attractive not because of the mass quantities of people that travel through it, but only because of its name. JFK is still a very highly regarded and loved president, and the destruction of any thing with his name attached to it would have caused great anxiety throughout the nation. I also found interesting that the terror leaders in the Caribbean, were the ones contacted, especially since one of the most memorable issues of JFK’s presidency was the Cuban Missile Crisis (might their still be hostilities?).

Dain said...

Original Question: Honoring the soldiers in the abstract means nothing if we ignore the realities they face. I would use the address to praise the soldiers and encourge support for the troops, certainly, but we should also consider how best to end the war.

katiekso said...

If I were to give a Memorial Day address I would start it by reminding the nation how brave our troops are. They show thier bravery by fighting for thier nation and thier people, fighting to keep men, women, and children safe who they have never met. Some even give the ultimite sacrifice while fighting for our saftey and freedom. Thier bravery and sacrafice will never be forgotten.
I would commend the troops on all of thier hard work and effort. It has not gone to waste. However, i would say that it is time to end this war and bring these brave troops to back to thier home, the home of the brave.

Alex the Great said...

If i were giving a memorial day address i would emphasize what a great job our troops are doing and to keep supporting them. secondly i would say that we need to focus more on a diplomatic solution to stabilizing Iraq. i would encourage people to continue their support of all our nations efforts helping Iraq.

Alex the Great said...

what the heck mr.Bretzmann this is the same blog as last week. i think im mixed up on when you update this thing. Anyways If giving a memorial day address to the nation i would say that we need to arrange meetings of all the primary political figures in iraq and oversee them work out their own solutions and treaties. i personally do not believe that a stable government can be formed just by the USA telling them what to do. as soon as we leave they will resume quarreling amongst themselves over land and who should rule. the iraqees need to believe in their new government and that means that they will have to create one that works best for them.

Mr. Bretzmann said...

Try going to and make sure you click refresh if it doesn't refresh automatically. There are probably a dozen more posts since this one was posted.
Mr. B.