Letters to the Editor: Every politician should be required to tell the story of a gun death daily | Letters to the Editor
Keep their pictures
According to Herodotus, Cambyses II of Persia around 500 BC discovered that a judge was accepting bribes. He had the judge flayed alive and turned his skin into strips of leather. He put these tapes on a chair for the substitute judge to sit on when giving judgments.
Every politician at all levels in our country should have pictures of victims of gun violence on their desks and on their office walls. They should take a picture and tell the story of the victim’s death at the start of each meeting. They should also reveal the money they receive from the gun industry and the NRA. Then they can explain how they vote when a gun law is before them.
We should take a picture of a victim of abuse with us when we vote, and then explain our choice to their family.
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The sacrifice of service
Opportunity, heritage, duty, purpose, patriotism: the reasons for choosing military service differ from person to person. But as varied as the reasons are, there is a universal understanding: service means sacrifice, even if that sacrifice is one’s own life.
When soldiers die, the impact ripples through our community. Their deaths affect more than the lives of their loved ones and friends. As their stories are shared in our neighborhoods, schools and places of worship, these men and women become part of the collective identity of our hometowns.
These stories, our Memorial Day celebrations, and the memorials and plaques dedicated to our military dead instill a sense of pride among citizens. They inspire new generations to raise their hands in service. Because perhaps there is no greater sacrifice than to lay down your own life for the lives of others.
We don’t just honor them at home. Memories and tributes to their sacrifice begin at the very places where they selflessly gave their lives, both for the brothers and sisters with whom they stood side by side and for their country.
Tributes include the Battlefield Cross, which some historians believe has its roots in the Civil War. Today it is most recognizable as a helmet resting on an inverted rifle stuck in the ground with boots placed in front. Identity tags are attached to the rifle. On the battlefield, unit members can come to this temporary memorial to pay their last respects.
Even the process of returning those killed in action, known as a dignified transfer, reflects due respect and honor. Small teams around the country perform the solemn duty of moving a transfer box onto a waiting plane and draping an American flag over the box for the service member’s return to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. There, a team meets the remains and begins preparation to return the service member to his loved ones.
But some who died in service have not yet returned to the United States.
We honor them through tributes such as the Missing Man Table, displayed to honor those still missing in action or prisoners of war.
We must continue to share their stories so we can remember what they sacrificed for the rest of us.
Because few men and women choose to put their lives on the line to serve and defend the Constitution. Few go into danger and willingly face atrocities most of us cannot imagine. Few volunteer to serve, knowing that death may result.
But we can ensure that those who make that choice and make the ultimate sacrifice can rest easy knowing they served with the thanks of grateful citizens and knowing they will not be forgotten.