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Your Views: We all should thank our brave service members
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Recently, I sat in a restaurant having a conversation with a friend and fellow serviceman, he being in the Marines and myself in the Army a long time ago for both of us, discussing various things about the situations in our country.

As we talked, two U.S. Army men came in for lunch. As I looked around, I observed people wanting their food, ordering their food, in conversation with friends, people just sitting there waiting for friends, men and women on their lap tops to see what they could accomplish for themselves, people walking by these two servicemen without even smiling at them.

I felt lonely for those two men and thought how they must feel that someone could not even say "hello" to them. They were young and their lives were way ahead of them even if a battle was ahead in their lives.

I then felt it was my time to get up and thank them. I went to them and thought how grateful I was for them to be placing their lives out there for me. I shook their hands and thanked them, and they were grateful for that little handshake and smile.

As I walked away, I turned and still saw the people looking for their food, ordering their food, talking and on their laptops without even saying " thank you" to two brave men. As we walked out the door, I asked God to protect them and even those who could not find the time to say "thank you" to a service man.

America, Gainesville, wake up and shake the hand of a service man with a smile and a "thank you."

Larry Vecellio
Gainesville

Letter on Obama repeated the same ridiculous claims
I would like to respond to a letter to the editor that appeared in The Times on Friday from the Rev. John Spinks. I am a believer in freedom of speech and I respect the right of anyone to voice their opinion and a newspaper’s interest in publishing diverse opinions in letters to the editor. However, I was very disappointed that a respected newspaper like The Times would publish the Rev. Spinks’ letter in which he makes ridiculous claims we have heard over and over again by extremists that President Obama is a socialist, associates with terrorists and is likened to Hitler.

The Rev. Spinks stated that the president’s recent speech to our nation’s school children was harmless yet still inferred that, like Hitler, President Obama had a hidden agenda and was out to capture the souls of our youth.

Instead of publishing over and over again such insane dribble, I would ask The Times to instead publish those letters from reasonable readers who have a rational point of view. Let’s have a lively debate about health care or the economy, but please don’t waste any more of my time or your ink on such nonsense.

Ken Cook
Clermont

Cutting Medicare for affluent is a more practical option
Instead of scaring us with these 1,000-page bills, why not do something simple like actually reducing Medicare outgoing payments? Why not drop from Medicare those whose taxable income is $200,000 for a joint filer and $100,000 for a single filer?

In order to appease these folks the government could offer them a catastrophic health insure policy with a high deductible, say $5,000, from a private insurance firm with the annual premium being subsidized in part or in full by the government.

Two positive aspects of this type of action by the Congress are as follow: 1. outlay from Medicare would be reduced, and 2. the persons who would be required to be insured under the catastrophic health insurance plan would be complete masters of their own medical treatment.

Because of this independence, some medical clinics would be established to accommodate these patients with the result that patients could shop around to meet their needs; that is, competition would be reestablished.

Bob Carstens
Gainesville

State revenue chief had an ax to grind with Rep. Deal
The state Revenue Department is good at spinning the truth. The truth is Bart Graham informed the salvage inspectors last year that he was closing the salvage inspection unit and firing the inspectors. He said that safety was not a concern of the department. Only the issuing of salvage titles. He later recanted.

The fact is, he was mad at Rep. Nathan Deal and would risk the safety of Georgia citizens for his own political agenda. This man needs to be informed he is a commissioner not a law maker.

Sonny, get rid of this guy while the state still has the money to pay the light bill.

Mack Thompson
St. Simons Island (formerly of Lula)

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