I’m 81. At 19, with the Korean War unfinished, I joined the Marine Corps for a three-year hitch. “Semper Fi” (“Always Faithful”) courses in my veins.

As a citizen with “esprit de corps,” I blame our leaders for allowing America to become the world’s doormat. An ambassador and servicemen killed, our flag ripped, burned and replaced by the standard of a country that was supposed to provide a haven for our Embassy. Our flag defiled in other nations, not once but thrice within a week.

While foreign flames devour our national colors, flags here at home seem to be at half-staff half the time. When lives of our youth are sacrificed on foreign soils in an effort to bring better life to others, thousands of blood-thirsty foreigners with clenched fists,scream for our end, shouting claims their book of faith trumps ours.

At 19, I trained well, expecting to go to foreign land where troops were dying to prevent one nation from overrunning another. Today, our leaders travel abroad to apologize for our way of life; apologize for who we are. In so doing, our colors fade.

At 81, I’m passed concern about my future; my life has been one prayed-for miracle after another. But I’ve six grandchildren; the youngest 8 and 12. Will their future be wonderful or worrisome? My country has been worth fighting for; will theirs be?

Bless the hearts of those in uniform, fighting and dying for what they believe we have back home. Sadly though, too many of the populace has trouble finding time to practice citizenship. While our soldiers cope with highway bombs, those of us here at home should take the local road to the town office, before Election Day, and register to vote.

And pray our leaders get a life.

John Benoit, Manchester

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