Honoring veterans and survivors of those who died in service, or a result of it, must be more than a day or two per year. It must be more than gestures like a bumper sticker that ring hollow unless we commit to no homeless and jobless veterans and no families of survivors on the financial edge. We must ensure their physical and emotional injuries are fully cared for--and are willing to pay for it.

Shouldn’t war require sacrifice by all, even if limited to funding war through tax increases rather than passing costs to future generations as with Afghanistan and Iraq? If we opt for war, isn’t a draft the fairest means for all to have skin in the game rather than sending volunteers on multiple missions as my nephew did?

I am the surviving spouse of a Vietnam veteran, drafted two months after our marriage, who died in 1995 of a cancer directly related to Agent Orange. He left three children and a wife to cope with a needless loss from a tragic war. I anguished at our amnesia at Vietnam as we moved to war in Iraq, assured there were weapons of mass destruction. I ask that we fulfill our responsibility as patriotic Americans to be informed citizens to better ensure we don’t enter questionable and needless conflicts.

Read newspapers, listen to unbiased news and opposing positions with an open mind, question our biases, and, yes, question government before we march to war again. Question a president who taunts another leader with nicknames and threats.

ELAINE B. STRASSBURG

Janesville

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