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Letters to the editor – Wednesday (12-9-09)

All have obligation to defend freedom
As a retired military person, I feel that all young men and some women should be required to serve in some branch of our military, or in some other service.
Of course, during my military service, there was a 20-year draft going on; 80 percent or more of the enlisted soldiers had a “U.S.” in front of their serial number. Today, all military personnel are volunteers.
I, personally, do not understand how they do it. Some men volunteered for the draft, for one reason or another. One reason being the judge said go into the Army or go to jail. A second reason being some had a girl in the family way, as they called pregnancy back when people could not say sex, and they needed to get out of town before the shotgun wedding. I know of both cases.
Some were very good soldiers and made a career of the military. But most did not. All they wanted was to go home. The “Greatest Generation” did a great job during the war years. Americans were fighting a world war. Today, the young men and women don’t seem to care about the freedoms we experience in this country. This country has a mercenary army, paying someone else to fight your wars.
Any country that does not require its youth to serve will not long stand. Freedom is not free, and someone else is trying to secure our freedom. We need to secure our own freedom and be willing to fight and die for it if necessary.
ó Hugh Martin
Salisbury
A stirring concertThe silence at St. John’s Lutheran Church during the performance of the Salisbury Men’s Chorus Third Annual Christmas Concert was deafening as congregants awaited the next stirring song signaled by director Rosemary Kinard. The most disappointing thing about the evening was sitting quietly without wildly celebrating each individual, masterful performance.
The 4 p.m. service of over 20 songs was brilliantly conceived and fluidly presented in a combination of choral voices and solos. Dr. Norman Sloop, tenor, and Ralph Hair, baritone, sang “As Lately We Watched,” arranged by Wayland Rogers with great style and emotion.
Hand bells directed by Rob Durocher sparkled in performances of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Bells of Christmas.” A song, “There is no Rose,” penned by Durocher was exceptional.
Guest soprano Madeline MacNeil, from The Shenandoah Valley, played a hammered dulcimer expertly. The antiquity of the sound matched the spirit of reverence and awe that the manger birth deserves.
Salisbury is fortunate to have quality arts programs and the seasonal perfor-mances by the Salisbury Men’s Chorus are among the best of offerings. Rowan citizens are doubly blessed to have director Kinard, whose talent, dedication, and leadership add to the magic of the season.
Mark this week on next year’s calendar. The church was filled this year and with another year’s practice, there will surely be turn-away crowds. Offerings during the annual performance are donated to Rowan Helping Ministry.
ó Gerrie Blackwelder
Salisbury

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