Letters to the Editor for Nov. 8, 2011

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Message from a soldier

I am a Washougal resident and local middle school history teacher who enlisted in the Army in 2008. Today, I said goodbye to my family to join my team in deploying to Afghanistan for a year. Since so many people in the media and in politics so often love to speak on the behalf of soldiers, I wanted to write you and share with you why I’m doing this, in my own words:

There’s been enough written about 9-11, the War on Terror, duty, honor, service, truth, justice and the American Way and all that to fill the Library of Congress, so I won’t regurgitate it here.

And while all of those things carry a very sacred and deep meaning for me and are a part of my motivation, now — on the eve of leaving for war — they’re not where I choose to focus. At the moment, I’m choosing to focus on what I see everyday, and how it all compels me to leave my life for a year to fight in someone else’s country around people who hate me.

I’m doing it for the parents working two jobs to pay their kids’ tuition. I’m doing it so that kids can learn and grow and feel safe at home in a country where they’re free to become whoever they want to be. I’m doing it for that single mom who pulls double shifts everyday and then goes to night school after tucking the kids in. I’m doing it so those kids can hope for a better future than their current present.

I’m doing it for people like my friend, who pours his heart and soul into his non-profit, where he fights everyday to turn his passion into a better reality for South African school children, one soccer scholarship at a time

I’m doing it so that a place like America continues to exist; where people with big hearts and even bigger ideas can pursue better lives for strangers around the world, asking for nothing in return.

I’m doing it for that immigrant who finally succeeded in moving his family here (legally) can taste the American Dream. I’m doing so that American Dream can still exist for his kids and their kids.

I’m doing it for the guys who froze to death crossing the Delaware that Christmas night in 1776, whispering “Victory or Death!” as they lay down forever in the snow drifts, and so that no American ever has to sacrifice that much for our own survival ever again.

I’m doing it for all the wonderful things my family and I enjoyed recently: For pumpkin patches at family farms; so that small family farms can continue to work and thrive in a free country that rewards hard working families.

For things like football on Sundays and World Series that truly are Fall Classics; so that we as a nation will always share in great moments like College Game Day or Game 6.

For sunny days on breezy beaches or rainy days by the fire while watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”

For all the little moments that make life in America so freaking good; so good in fact, that we almost never realize that our lives and the way we get to live them are the exception, and not the norm in this world.

I’m doing it in the slightest of hopes that it means that someone else, somewhere, someday, won’t have to.

I’m doing it for my students, in the hopes that they can learn, through me, that it’s not enough to read about history, but that to truly understand history is to honor it; to honor the sacrifices of those who’ve come before us in places like Gettysburg, Valley Forge, Normandy and Arlington National.

I’m doing it for my sons, so that they can one day understand and appreciate the price of the freedom they’re still too young to fully get, much less appreciate. And so that, God willing, their daddy is the last Goble to have to fight in the Middle East (though I doubt it).

I’m doing it because at the end of the day, I wouldn’t know how not to. According to my research, a male in my family has been in every American war since the Old North Bridge outside of Concord in 1775. It’s just my turn, and I can’t shy away from that responsibility.

That’s why I joined the Army. That’s why I’m going to Afghanistan. That’s why I fight.

Sgt. Chris Goble, 445 CA Bn, 82nd Airborne Division

Senior citizens will redefine community

We are watching a change in our population that will take a measure of adjusting to.

I have been very interested in the well being of the growing adult population, along with those among us that become incapacitated for one reason or another. This can, and does, come about by accident, increase in age, and/or disease

Joining the “Aging Readiness Task Force of Clark County” has made me aware of the effort to make Clark County a place where housing choices agree with all, including those in need of special housing.

Some statistics to consider: Clark County has seen a rapid growth over the last decade and will begin to see a new trend emerging. By 2030, one in four will be age 60 or older. The forecasted population growth from 2000 to 2030 shows a 233 percent growth in residents ages 65 and older. This growing segment of our community is going to redefine what a livable community means in Clark County. People are living longer and working longer. We will need a senior job school.

The many details that have been discussed in our meetings have filtered down — or risen up — to the industrial world. For instance, look at the Sears catalog, you’ll find sinks that are adjustable up and down and leg space under kitchen stoves for the wheelchair bound.

We also want to mention the Elderfriends. These are people ages 16 to 90 who are trained to periodically call on the homebound. By friendly discussions, these people can assist the elders in solving problems, like drafting a will, or perhaps there is a problem with the meals that are being delivered.

This task force seeks anyone interested in this endeavor. Meetings are all announced in advance and I invite anyone who is interested to join. There is no fee, all we ask is that you show up if you are interested. The next meeting is in January and will be announced at www.clark.wa.gov/planning/aging/taskforce.html or email werfamle@comcast.net for information.

Ed Horsfall, Washougal