I apologize to all the residents of Astoria. ("Not Patriotic," The Daily Astorian, July 8) I would like to thank the few people who responded to my letter. I am deeply sorry if I offended anyone. I made a simple observation, and at the time, it made me angry. That's why we live in America - so we can say what we feel, although you missed the point. I was only talking abut the American flag. It is a visual symbol of this country and should be respected.

I know this community is very supportive in other ways - so am I. And yes, I do notice the men and women on Friday night near the post office waving the American flags in support of our troops. I admire them.

Maybe it shouldn't be mandatory for military housing to display flags, but they should want to. It is unfortunate that in this day and age military personnel cannot display a flag for fear the terrorists will find them, but that is the age we live in.

Last but not least, in reference to ("Judgmental," The Daily Astorian, July 21), and this is the only reason a reply was needed, putting me in the same sentence with Adolph Hitler is horrendous. You should be a little more sensitive to people's feelings. Your comment regarding "putting out the stars and stripes on each holiday is easy to do and is really quite meaningless unless one fully involves oneself in the community" is a bit disturbing. The American flag is a visual symbol of our freedom and is far from meaningless unless, of course, you have defend it. It should be put out in addition to community involvement.

My letter was intended to honor the American flag. I grew up in a small Midwest town much like Astoria and to fly the flag was an honor and a privilege. It was just something that was done.

I remember a conversation I had with a local veteran when I was nine years old. He told me a very inspiring story that I would like to share with you. I asked him how he had lost his leg. He told me that he was shot down over enemy lines, and when he crashed, his entire crew was killed except for him. Both of his legs were severely damaged and one was bleeding uncontrollably. He was thrown far from the aircraft and could not move to get help.

As he was losing consciousness, he looked up and saw an American flag caught on a tree branch waving in the wind. One of the crew members carried that American flag with him always for luck. As he looked at it, thinking it was the last thing he would ever see, the wind picked up that flag and carried it straight into his hands. He used that flag as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding in his leg. He was eventually rescued by American troops.

After telling me his story, he looked at me with a tear in his eye and said, "That flag saved my life, and I honor and cherish it every day and so should you." That story has stuck with me for my entire life

I guess an opinion is just an opinion. Everyone has one. I guess I just feel differently. I don't have to look in the dictionary to know what patriotism means. I live it every single day. When I see the American flag, I think of just how lucky we all are. I will fly my flag always, no matter what. Enough said.

CANDY SMITH

Astoria

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