June 3, 2013 Updated: June 3, 2013 at 7:50 am
A flaming-red warning to us
At the end of this year's Air Force Academy graduation, the thunder of powerful piston engines filled the air as 1,000-plus young men and women became lieutenants in the world's most powerful air, space and cyber force. Those WWII airplanes represent our nation's aviation heritage, and were flown by volunteers, at their expense - a wonderful testament to their patriotism and the bonds that link airmen across generations. They exemplify the valor that got us to today. It was a day for celebration, but .
The fact that those 75-year-old airplanes were there alone - because no modern aircraft were available to join them - should be a flaming-red warning to all of us. Three-quarter-century-old airplanes are the antithesis of the cutting edge in air, space and cyber technology these new lieutenants need to defend us across the globe. Instead, that 20th-century piston roar should remind us that we have been a nation, so far, unwilling to make thoughtful decisions about spending on national defense. Because sequestration has grounded numerous Air Force flying squadrons for the rest of this year, these officers looked up and saw none of the Air Force they're joining; instead, they saw airplanes whose most sophisticated computer systems used gears, not electrons.
Americans have come to expect complete dominance in every conflict. We marveled at video of precision strikes by aircraft, both manned and unmanned, until they became mundane. Our ground forces take air superiority as a given. But-victory in air, space and cyberspace is not an American birthright. The tools of victory are born of brilliant minds and built by talented hands in American industry; they yield dominance when highly-trained Airmen use them with discipline, at the times, places and in the numbers needed. Nations across the world have watched us, for decades, employ our sophisticated capabilities. In many cases they are hard at work to deny us the ability to use them in the future. We never, ever want to see some other nation release video of air weapons striking our deployed forces . but it will happen if we don't pay attention.
In air, space and in cyberspace, challenges to America's winning edge are multiplying. We won't meet them with 75-year-old airplanes, or with inadequate numbers of people and modern air- and spacecraft. This year's academy flyby was a high note for heritage, but had best be our nation's low point for funding, building and sustaining the air, space and cyber forces these new lieutenants deserve and need to defend us tomorrow.
Chris Miller, Colorado Springs
Has happened for generations
My husband and I have great sympathy for all who have served, developed PTSD, and were dismissed by the military because their behavior changed. This is not new. It has happened in one form or another for generations, just to reduce the cost the government owed and owes to those who serve them.
Since World War I (yes, WWI) we know that it has happened. My father-in-law, Aksel Tegen, served in WWI, was awarded a Purple Heart (gassed, woke up toe-tagged in a morgue) and ribbons for serving in Verdun and other places.
After the war, there was a final medical check required by the Army. The catch at that time was that if you left the hospital before being formally discharged by a doctor, you lost all future benefits as a veteran, injured or not in the war. He was lucky in that his family could support themselves until he was discharged - two years later. He was not sick, disabled, or otherwise unable to work. He knew that if he left the hospital he would lose his benefits. His "therapy" was learning to weave baskets, which we still have.
Penny Tegen, Colorado Springs
Do we just give up freedom?
Freedom. It rings from the tongue. It rings to the ear. We just spent the weekend celebrating those who have taken up the gun to ensure we and our children continue to have it. What noble men and women we honored.
We don't need the gun to keep our freedom in peacetime. We have honorable politics and we vote. That should insure we have freedom in the future. But, this administration has been proven to be less than truthful. They teamed up with the IRS to swart the Constitution. So our votes or would-be votes were subverted. Obamacare is the perfect structure for the statist to enslave us all and the dishonorable IRS are the managers, aren't they?
What event in our future will snap us awake and make us go to the gun to ensure freedom . if they continue with deception? Is there another event or point in time? Or do we just give up freedom and the practice of honoring those who once fought for it and with heads down, walk quietly past the cemetery on the last Monday in May?
John W. Irwin, Fountain
Don't honor terrorists with 'Mister'
Am I the only person in the United States that objects to the use of "Mister" when referring to terrorists, criminals, and general all-around scum of the earth? The word "Mister" is defined as an honorific. An honorific is a word or expression that conveys esteem or respect. Have we lowered ourselves so much that we hold terrorists and criminals in esteem, and that we respect them? When we place the word "Mister" in front of their names, we denigrate the whole of society that acts lawfully and responsibly.
While I'm on my rant, how about the use of the word "gentleman" to describe terrorists and their ilk? James Rosen, Fox News reporter, referred to the terrorists who hacked a person to death in the streets of London a few days ago as "gentlemen". What's up with that? Does he not know that in modern speech, the term "gentleman" refers to any man of good, courteous conduct? Is that how we now describe someone who hacks a person to death? I used Rosen as an example, but most reporters are guilty as well.
To the ladies who read this, I apologize for not taking your side. Honorifics for females are also abused, but I can get wound up about only one thing at a time.
Merritt Sanger, Colorado Springs