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Memorial Day

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The Star Spangled Banner

By Francis Scott Key

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:

'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,

A home and a country should leave us no more!

Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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Friday May 28, 2004

Next week the world will watch the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings of World War 2. Now old enemies are friends and Europe prospers in large measure as a result of the victory over Nazism and Fascism that followed shortly thereafter. Along with the rest of the allies this country paid an enormous price in lives lost; I'll wager more were killed and injured on that first day of the invasion, than have been killed or maimed in the year since the beginning of the war in Iraq.

We have constructed, at last, the monument to the memory of those who served and those who paid the ultimate price in the Pacific and European theaters of war. It was opened to the public a few days early, because with each passing day another 1,000 veterans of those battles, dies.

What heroic times those were. Tom Brokaw called them "The Greatest Generation"; he may well be right.

Look how the current administration has strained the bonds between erstwhile allies, and be it France, Germany, Italy and the rest, I'll wager that most all of them would wish to get back on good terms with the United States.

Politically how can they do that as long as George W. Bush is the occupant of the White House? The political cost at home, for the European leaders, would be too high. My hope is that this country will, in growing numbers, see an advantage in having a president who can negotiate with foreign leaders.

Sen. Kerry is taking an interesting approach as he attempts to draw distinctions between his candidacy and that of the President. He is accusing the Bush administration of undermining the legacy of generations of American leadership. With his policy of pre-emptive strikes and with his, almost, "go-it-alone" approach in Iraq, Bush has alienated allies and consequently weakened this country's security.

Frankly, Kerry's goals in Iraq are hardly different, at all, from those of Bush. Kerry is focusing on differences in personal style and differences in experience. No, I very much doubt that he would have fed us the constant line about WMD, nor would he have tried to blame Saddam Hussein for the 9/11 terrorist strikes. Statesmanship is a word that has been missing from the pundits vocabularies these past four years. It was there aplenty with Ronald Reagan and Dwight D. Eisenhower, to some extent with Richard Nixon and certainly with Bill Clinton. It might return with the likes of Sen. Kerry.

As former Vice President Al Gore said the other day, with considerable passion, speaking of the president, he had "planted the seeds of war and harvested a whirlwind." Of the war in Iraq Clinton's partner said it "is the worst strategic fiasco in the history of the United States. It is an unfolding catastrophe without any comparison". He might be correct.

My question for Mr. Kerry, Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush, ...as a result of the war and its aftermath,it your view that this country is more or less vulnerable to terror. I know how two of the three would respond.

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