News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Marine's memory worth keeping in gold


It was a routine order for a "portrait on gold" charm at a local jewelry store. The lady wanted to know if the charms would be suitable to attach to a bracelet. We examined the sample of charms and decided they would be perfect. I told her that she would need to have a picture no larger than a 5-by-7 and she had several with her.

She gave me two different poses of this big, strong-looking, handsome Marine, and carefully chose the one she liked best. She asked if I thought the picture would work and I answered, "Oh yes. It will be fine."

I started filling out the order and we came to the place where I asked if she wanted a message on the back of the charm. She said, "Yes. 'In memory of Jonathan.'"

She continued, "This was my son who was killed in Iraq three weeks ago. I thought if I could have his picture with me all the time, I might be able to realize that his death is real. It still seems unreal to me."

I said, "You are Jonathan Smith's mother?"

She replied, barely holding back her tears, "Yes, I am."

I was so overcome with emotion, I reached across the jewelry counter with cases full of merchandise and hugged her, as she talked about Jonathan.

As long as I live, I will remember the face of that brave Marine in the photo. It is burned into my memory. And, I will never forget the price Jonathan Smith paid for my freedom.

Mary Rodgers


Alabama Democrats lack real leadership


As a lifelong Democrat, I read with interest of the imminent departure of party chairman Redding Pitt. The fact that he was not being tarred and feathered in the process was something of a surprise. His successor will be named by a group of like-minded people who have presided over the total demise of the party. Republicans should cheer as Democrats continue to look to the past for success stories as they continue to "rest on their laurels."

If inertia, idleness and failure are the requisite requirements for the new chairman, candidates should abound. Many CEOs are now handsomely paid for making their companies into non-profits. Why should the Democrats differ from this great market economy visited upon us by the Republicans? Failure is success. You can do it.

Ron Maloof


President Bush went to war for wrong reasons


President Bush and his supporters say it is about fighting terrorism. I say it is about money. Who is benefiting from this war? Not the National Guard that has been called up and personnel separated from their families and jobs. Not the regular Army. Not the U.S. taxpayer. Let's take a look at the facts: The ones benefiting from the war are Bush's friends in the oil business and Cheney's friends in the no-bid contract business.

Saddam Hussein was a bad man and he caused the deaths of thousands of Iraqis. Bush has caused the deaths of thousands of Iraqis, plus more than 1,600 soldiers, plus more than 12,000 wounded, some crippled for life. Does that make him a saint? I think not.

Bush used Sept. 11 as an excuse to attack Iraq. This country had never before attacked a country that did not attack us or was not at war with our allies.

Some of Bush's people tried to tell him his information was not reliable. The U.N. inspectors told him they found no weapons of mass destruction. Did Bush listen? No.

Bush should be proud of LBJ. If it had not been for Lyndon Johnson, Bush would be the sorriest president we've ever had.

Gilbert Gamble


Ad displays Grant Street church's intolerance


Never have I seen an ad for a church in a newspaper that so blatantly showed the intolerance and exclusion that the Grant Street Church of Christ ad July 16 displayed. I did not see the article in THE DAILY to which the ad referred, but I am aware of the steps that the United Church of Christ has taken to be inclusive of all of humanity, with the realization that God created all of us and that we are all equal in his eyes.

If it weren't so sad I would have laughed when I read the last paragraph: "You are welcome to be our guest at any of our services." I know that even though God welcomes me in to his fellowship, I would not be welcome at that church.

Joe Openshaw


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