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Veterans Day - GUEST COMMENTARY

Monday, Nov, 11 2013

Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today released the following statement commemorating Veterans Day:

“Veterans Day is a day to honor and thank the brave men and women who have put their lives on the line for our country.  We are grateful for their sacrifice, service and their commitment to keeping America strong and secure.

"When my dad landed on Iwo Jima, the Marines packed into LST-808 fought as one, for their brothers and for us.  In that same spirit we as a nation should always remember that supporting our troops means standing up for them not only when they are fighting overseas, but long after they have come home."

posted by: Dennis Lowe 9 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Veterans Day - GUEST COMMENTARY

Monday, Nov, 11 2013

Honoring our veterans and service members
by Iowa Sen. Jeff Danielson


November 11 is Veterans Day, a time to honor all American veterans, living and dead, for their service to our country.

Iowa is home to about 240,000 veterans. In recent years, record numbers of service members have returned to our state as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down.  We are grateful for the sacrifices of these men and women—and to thousands of others from previous conflicts.

Iowa is a national leader when it comes to supporting veterans.  Each year, we work to improve services at the state and county levels to help service members make a smooth transition back to civilian life.  Local veterans’ organizations tell us that education, job training and health care are among the essentials needed to welcome them home.

Over the years, we’ve boosted help for returning soldiers seeking a college degree or the skills to qualify for good jobs.  We’ve worked with employers to protect soldiers’ jobs while they’re serving overseas.  We’ve made it illegal to foreclose on the homes of active duty Iowa National Guard members.  And we’ve improved efforts to connect veterans to the help they need and the benefits they’ve earned.

This year, we continued Iowa’s strong track record of supporting and honoring our veterans, service members and their families by:

• Ensuring that those serving on active duty remain eligible to receive tuition assistance benefits and attend school once they return.

• Emphasizing the admission of homeless, honorably discharged veterans to the Iowa Veterans Home.

• Including a mental health treatment staff member on the care committee for patients at the Iowa Veterans Home.

• Providing care at the Iowa Veterans Home for Gold Star parents—that is any parent of a service member who died on active duty.

• Providing more than $12 million to train our service members and honor our veterans, including money for the Iowa Veterans Cemetery and the Iowa Veterans Oral History Project.

To learn more about the services and benefits available to Iowa veterans, go to https://va.iowa.gov.

posted by: Dennis Lowe 9 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Veterans Day - GUEST COMMENTARY

Saturday, Nov, 9 2013

Sesquicentennial Salute to Gettysburg Address by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley


It was seven score and 10 years ago.  On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his now legendary Gettysburg Address.  Four months after the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, the President returned to the site to remember the 51,000 Americans who lost their lives in the three-day battle, turning Pennsylvania farm fields into a battleground’s graveyard.

Arriving by train from Washington, D.C., President Lincoln delivered his historic speech at the dedication of the “Soldiers’ National Cemetery” where more than 3,500 Union soldiers were laid to rest.

In just 272 words, the President memorialized the enduring legacy of the most sacred principles of our republic.  In 10 sentences, the 16th president immortalized the unique vision of the Founders, a nation “conceived in liberty” and paid tribute to those who gave their lives on the battlefield so “that the nation might live.”

This Veterans Day – Monday, November 11th – let’s remember the “unfinished work” described by President Lincoln and so “nobly advanced” 150 years ago by the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg and by all of those who have fulfilled a patriotic duty to serve our country in times of peace and war.

President Lincoln did not realize the power of his eulogy.  Reportedly he reflected immediately afterwards:  “That speech won’t scour.  It is a flat failure.”  In those days, scour was a farming reference that described a plow’s blade moving through the soil.  A 19th century American inventor engineered a prairie sensation that scoured the rich Midwestern topsoil like a knife, falling smoothly from the polished steel plow. Like the “singing plow” invented by blacksmith John Deere, Lincoln’s words sing true to the soul of America 150 years later.

President Lincoln’s humility grossly underestimated the enduring power of his message that underscored our individual rights as Americans.  His closing words remind us about the rights and responsibilities we bear as citizens of this great nation:  that “government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth.”

The Gettysburg Address holds relevance today on its sesquicentennial anniversary.  The United States was 87 years old when President Lincoln asked if any nation conceived in liberty “can long endure.”  This summer, America celebrated 237 years of independence.

Our republic endures because its foundation is strong.  The deeply held views of the electorate today focus largely on the size and scope of government.  The ideological divide among voters can be seen in the politics and policies that shape American society.  The no. 1 issue on the minds of the electorate arguably is getting the economy back on the right track.  It’s not a coincidence that a flourishing economy and a bounty of good-paying jobs will help solve many of the challenges facing society and families working hard to make ends meet.

For generations, Americans have followed in the footsteps of their predecessors who blazed a trail of self-reliance to raise standards of living, to pursue achievement that knows no boundaries and to pledge allegiance to the rights and responsibilities of self-government.  America has outlasted regional, cultural, political, religious, racial and social differences because we are united by the timeless principles on which our nation was founded and which are embodied by the Constitution.  Ours is the first constitution based on the principle that we the people are sovereign with unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, delegating to our government only such power as necessary to secure these rights.  Such a founding is exceptional in human history.  We are a nation built to last on the enduring principles the Founders “brought forth on this continent” that have served America for more than two centuries.

President Lincoln needed only two minutes in his Gettysburg Address to remind Americans about our shared destiny.  He called upon his fellow citizens to “take increased devotion to that cause for which (soldiers) gave the last full measure of devotion.”

From this Veterans Day to the next 11th of November – including each day in between and beyond – let’s carry on that exceptional legacy of the American spirit.  Just as President Lincoln paid tribute to the idea of America’s exceptionalism, let us honor our men and women in uniform who have answered the call to serve and defend America’s freedom and individual liberty, especially those who have lost life and limb in the fullest measure of devotion to our country.

posted by: Dennis Lowe 9 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Make Your Vote Count

Tuesday, Nov, 5 2013

Today is Election Day.

This is the day to make your voice heard when it comes to municipal politics.  Mayors and city council members will be elected.  Tax levies and bond referendums will be decided.

Voter turnout has suffered as eligible voters become more cynical about government and politicians.  That's not a good enough reason to pass on your civic duty.

If you have questions regarding your voter registration or the location of your polling place, contact your local county auditor’s office.

posted by: Dennis Lowe 9 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Halloween Fire Safety Advice

Tuesday, Oct, 29 2013

My previous blog had some basic safety tips for staying safe during Halloween activities.  This blog deals specifically with fire safety tips for Halloween.

The following tips are coutesy of the Cedar Rapids Fire Department.

*  Choose costumes made of flame-resistant fabrics.  Avoid costumes with flimsy materials such as baggy sleeves, large capes or billowing skirts to reduce the risk of coming into contact with candles and other fire sources.  Make sure that the eye holes of masks are large enough so that children can see out.
*  Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable.  Keep these decorations well away from open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.  Keep exits clear of decorations so that nothing blocks a home escape route.
*  Provide children with flashlights so that they can see and be seen.  Flashlights or glow sticks will provide greater visibility during dusk and darkness.
*  It is safest to use a flashlight or a battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern.  If you use a real candle, use extreme caution.  Children should be supervised at all times when candles are lit.  Be sure to place lit pumpkins a safe distance away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and decorations.
*  Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards.  Trick-or-treaters’ costumes may brush against the lighting.
*  Tell children to stay away from open flames.  Be sure that they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches on fire.

The Fire Department also reminds motorists to be aware of children darting out between parked automobiles.  Please use caution when entering and exiting driveways.  During twilight and evening hours, be mindful of children in dark costumes.

posted by: Dennis Lowe 10 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


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