Native Writes: Defending free speech

There is one advantage to being an Alamosa old-timer, as well as a veteran of the journalistic trade.

Remembering old days, old times and old friends can bring a tear to one’s eye. So it is with me.

This is a time of remembering. I have been thinking of the veterans who have touched my life and those who are still touching it. I think about them on Veterans Day — hopefully, everyone does — but my thoughts increase as Thanksgiving approaches.

My mom and her friends, all women of advancing age, went to the turkey bingos and paid to “win” a holiday bird. I told my mother she could have bought a bird for less and she became angry, saying I missed the point.

It’s like spending $20 on pulltabs for the granddaughters and having the oldest declare a $5 win “worth it.”

The more I think about it, the more I realize that it was.

It still is. Numbers on cards and tickets are viewed as being of ultimate importance.

When I was in college, we played a game called “liar’s poker” with dollar bills, winner takes all. I “won” $25, almost breaking even.

Since Election Day, TV news has concentrated on, “we won,” “they lost” and “whose head will roll next?” I gladly change the channel to “Family Feud” or “Judge Judy.”

Life in our country is not a matter of win or lose. It should be win-win.

Many, many young people went away to war and some never returned or returned so badly damaged that their normal lives ended. One by one, many of them are taking their own lives to escape the demons combat gave birth to in their souls.

The person talking incessantly about his or her military experience may embellish the story a bit, but, to me, being a veteran is heroic.

Due to their service, we have much for which to give thanks.

Thanks may be easy to say, gratitude is more difficult and respect is often hard to come by.

Even the U.S. Constitution is under fire, despite the fact that it is the basis for our freedoms.

The free press is a target of disdain, told to “shut up” and tossed out of meetings and press conferences for asking tough questions while bereaved parents of persons killed in war remind us that those who fought and died for the cause of freedom also gave their all to protect freedom of expression and information.

Home of the free because of the brave.

I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.