I have a real problem with that. Pennsylvania has lost more soldiers in the global war on terror than any other state. Guard members have saved the lives of countless Americans in domestic operations such as Hurricane Katrina, guarded airports and nuclear facilities after Sept. 11, 2001, and served yearlong deployments to ongoing operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. The Pennsylvania National Guard also sent nearly 30,000 troops overseas to fight terrorism. With roughly 19,000 soldiers and airmen in the Pennsylvania Guard, simple math shows that most have been deployed more than once.
Yet, in spite of the hardships they and their families have faced, we are at more than 100 percent strength with a list of recruits waiting for future slots to open up. I attribute this, in part, to the efforts of my recruiters and the quality of the recruits they enlist. All of whom, since Sept. 11, do so knowing they could be deployed.
To say that our guardsmen are lured in with a "campaign to make killing look like a cool and painless sport," as Swanson wrote, is an insult to each and every one of us in uniform. No one understands the risks of what we do more than those who put their lives on the line on a regular basis for the freedoms our country was founded upon.
Ironically, it is because of those soldiers and airmen that people such as Mr. Swanson are allowed to post such ridiculous opinions for the world to see.
Wesley E. Craig
Pennsylvania National Guard
Ali and Liberty Medal
Ali deserves no medal — he was a draft dodger. He did nothing for our liberties.
Being a white Catholic, I first met a Muslim in 1968 in Vietnam. Darral was a conscientious objector, but when he was drafted, he served as a medic. Every day he did his job treating the sick and injured. We didn't keep count, but I know he saved many American lives. He did this in harm's way, carrying just his aid bag and no weapons.
My best friend, Evans, died in my arms. He was black and he went through the same things that Ali complained about. But Evans also went to Vietnam. At 19 years-old, he was a greater man than Ali ever was.
Every day there are new veterans — men and women — returning home. Honor them, not a draft dodger.
1st Cavalry Division, Vietnam, 1968
Great, flawed Paterno
In her July 13 article, Christine Flowers provided a calm and measured voice of reason amid the media frenzy to demonize all things Penn State and Coach Joe Paterno.
Paterno was a hero to people of my generation, a man of values who coached hard-nosed football while emphasizing academics and character.
While this in no way excuses his inaction regarding Jerry Sandusky, it underscores the duality of all humans, the strengths and flaws of even the most exemplary of us.
I was greatly moved by Flowers' words. I suppose it takes a rational, intelligent woman to counter all this testosterone-fueled ranting by the Internet tough guys.
You offered up a fair, insightful view of a great, albeit flawed, man.
JoePa from another era
As a Catholic raised by an Italian mother from 8th Street in South Philly, I believe that Joe Paterno was in denial based on the way he was brought up. People from his culture and era are not comfortable with the new morality and have lots of trouble understanding, believing and talking about topics like homosexuality, pedophilia and the like.
What sickens me is that his accusers are attempting to make the point that he participated willingly in a coverup in order to preserve the legacy of the school and of him. In order to make that leap, you would have to believe that Joe chose those things over the safety of innocent children.
As is common in our society, the focus now shifts from the person whose actions and behavior caused all of this pain to a noble leader of young people who dedicated his life to helping his players — and all students at PSU — become productive members of society. That is the real tragedy.
Should priests marry?
Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and just about every other denomination of Christianity allow their ministers to be married. Even in the Catholic church, it was common for priests to be married as recently as 500 years ago. This is the main reason why no heterosexual male in his right mind wants to be a Catholic priest. If you don't believe me, then go look at the almost empty St. Charles Borromeo Seminaryin Wynnewood. Just about every holy man in the Old and New Testament had a woman.
Anthony C. Davis