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Your Views: Let us live the principles of Constitution
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We often overlook the fact that our country is the only country established with the fundamental belief that as a people, we can govern ourselves; that through a democratic process we can elect friends, neighbors and colleagues to speak on our behalf as our representatives for the nation.

Let Constitution Week provide us an opportunity to reflect on how our country was founded and remember that it was the people, people like you and me, who sought to take responsibility for themselves, establishing a governing structure that allows us to govern ourselves. It is this country’s greatest strength. We don’t need a dictator, emperor, king, queen or supreme general to tell us what we need, how to think or what to believe. We can be responsible for ourselves.

And it is to that strength that we must look as we face the challenges of today. Today, many of us feel the effects of a down economy. Many of us struggle with paying for our medical costs. As we look to our government for help, let us not forget that the government is here for us, and not that we are here for the government. To that end, we must take responsibility for rebuilding the health of our nation and our citizenry. When was the last time you checked in on a neighbor to see how they were doing, to see if they needed anything?

Studies abound with the value to our health when we interact with each other rather than keeping to ourselves. People who have friends and relationships live longer, healthier lives. We can rebuild the health of our nation one neighbor at time.

During this week, as we remember the basic theme of the Constitution and the principles for which it stands, we are offered an opportunity to demonstrate our love for our country by carrying out the principles of the Constitution to take care of ourselves and our community. In that vain, let us take the time to care for one another. Visit a neighbor, call a friend, stop in on family and take advantage of the benefits afforded to us which result from this great document.

Sept. 17 marked the 222nd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the world’s oldest written constitution. In 1956, Congress designated the week of Sept. 17-23 each year as Constitution Week in recognition of its historic importance. The Daughters of the American Revolution are proud to offer this reminder.

Gov. Sonny Perdue and Gainesville Mayor Myrtle W. Figueras have signed proclamations designating Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week. As Daughters of the American Revolution, we ask that you join us and take action to reunite, at home, in your neighborhood, in your community and remember that our country stands as the preeminent example of our right, and success, to govern ourselves.

Melinda J. Wade
Flowery Branch

Americans should start their own basic training
Last week in this space, local author Steven Siebold urged "Americans should take control of their own health." Having fought a number of personal cycles of what I call fatness and fitness, I could not agree more. If we are going to win the war on obesity, then we need to take on more individual responsibility, not just for ourselves but for our children.

Growing up in a small town in upstate New York similar to Gainesville, you never heard the now constant calls for proper diet and exercise. Meals were what Mom put on the plate, always nourishing and in proper proportion. Exercise was sitting on the bank of the lake fishing. Of course it was an eight-mile bicycle ride to get there and another eight miles to get home. After school, I delivered newspapers, which added more exercise. Playing high school football continued to keep me fit.

I didn’t feel the pain of fat until it was time for college graduation. I had taken Army ROTC and the baggie uniform they issued me as a freshman now felt like a brass-buttoned bologna skin. I would soon learn what thousands of Vietnam draft era citizens would also learn: Basic training is one way to get in shape.

The first morning you are awakened at 0600 hours by the sound of the bugle. We bent and stretched, squatted, lunged, groaned and jumped with Jack as we completed our first 30-minute set of the Army’s "daily dozen," calisthenic exercise drills designed to torture every muscle in the untrained human body. For the cardiovascular portion we would close ranks and double time march two or three miles. I lost 15 pounds by week 6!

I’m not advocating we all go to basic training, but I do believe we need to do some basic training. And calisthenics are one cheap and effective way to burn off fat and enhance your personal strength and balance. What I propose is a new CCC: Citizens/Children’s Calisthenics Club.

It could start with homeowners’ associations and neighborhood watch groups who could add weight watching to their job descriptions. It will take someone in each group to obtain a copy of the exercises, blow the bugle each morning and get a squad together for 20-30 minutes a day. Gather in the cul-de-sacs, parking lots and on sidewalks to do the exercises and then go for a walk around the block for a little heart stimulation.

Or we could use the Hollywood approach where the stars hire a personal trainer to come to their home and whip them into shape for a price. There’s probably not enough stimulus money for all of us, though.

Kevin J. McAvoy

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