Letters: A soldier understands U.S. bond with Israel

SHARE Letters: A soldier understands U.S. bond with Israel
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Brian Mast

Bravo to Brian Mast, featured in Neil Steinberg’s column on Monday, for taking the time to understand what Israel faces in its desire to live in peace with its neighbors, people who for the most part want to destroy this American ally. Mast, a veteran of combat who lost both legs in our defense, made the effort to travel to Israel and learn firsthand what this vibrant democracy contends with on an almost daily basis. His devotion to truth and the shared principles that distinguish the relationship between America and Israel are heartfelt and very welcome. Thanks for reporting this story.

Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati

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Wisconsin universities sinking to trade schools

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had this to say about education:

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. . . . Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”

In a related story, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a proposal to change the name of Wisconsin’s fabled educational edifice to: ‘The University of Wisconsin Trade School.’ Faculty seeking tenure need not apply.

Walter Zlotow, Glen Ellyn

Rauner, the rich and self-regard

It seems that Gov. Bruce Rauner’s solution to every problem involves cutting vital state services. The sooner he admits that the structural problem in our state’s finances is on the revenue side, the sooner Illinois can build itself up and become a state that we can once again be proud of.

Focusing on policy rather than personality is almost always the better course, but when trying to make sense of the governor’s agenda I can only imagine that F. Scott Fitzgerald had someone like Mr. Rauner in mind when he wrote about the very rich being different from other people: “They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are.”

James Patrick O’Connor, Evanston

Rauner cuts cost more in long run

Last week, Gov. Rauner announced cuts to the Community Care Program, which supports seniors who want to live in their own home instead of an institution. It’s likely similar cuts will be made to the Home Services Program, which links people with disabilities to personal assistants, who help out with day-to-day activities so people with disabilities can stay out of nursing homes, the emergency room and the hospital. These cuts will not plug budget holes or save money. They will force the disabled and seniors into more expensive services. Worse yet, seniors and people with disabilities may go without services, threatening their health, safety, and lives. While there are problems that need to be fixed with the Illinois budget, the answer is not cutting efficient programs that cost less than institutions and emergency services. The answer is not cutting programs that empower seniors and people with disabilities to be independent. Programs such as these, which save money in the long run, need to be preserved.

Gary Arnold

Access Living

Chicago

Snowden really is a hero

In a Friday editorial you tell Edward Snowden to come home to “face the music.” At the same time, you acknowledge that the surveillance state has compromised the freedoms of all Americans. It is those who have trampled upon our constitutional rights who ought to be held accountable, beginning with Barack Obama. Snowden shouldbe invited to return to a hero’s welcome.

Bob Schwartz, Edgewater

Put ‘Veteran’ on your driver’s license

Each year on June 14 we celebrate Flag Day in honor of the 1777 adoption of the American flag. The American flag represents many things to many people, including patriotism, freedom, liberty, fairness and hope.

As a veteran myself, I believe the American flag also represents sacrifice – specifically the sacrifice that our military veterans have made to ensure the United States of America remains the greatest country on earth. Our service men and women deserve our respect, appreciation and gratitude.

Nothing pleases me more than giving back to our military veterans. That is why I am pleased to highlight a law that takes effect July 1, 2015, which will allow U.S. military veterans to obtain a driver’s license or ID card marked VETERAN. Veterans who have received an Honorable or General Under Honorable Conditions discharge qualify.

The process is simple. Veterans must first obtain official certification from the Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs. They can do so by visiting one of the Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs offices throughout the state and providing a copy of their DD-214 or Certification of Military Service (NA Form 13038). For more information, please contact the Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs at 1-800-437-9824 or visit www.illinois.gov/veterans.

Once the necessary certification is obtained from an Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs office, the veteran may apply for a new, renewal or corrected driver’s license or ID card at any Secretary of State Driver Service’s facility. The driver’s license or ID card will contain the word VETERAN printed in blue directly beneath the signature on the front of the card.

I had the honor of serving as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and as a member of the Illinois National Guard and Reserve. There is no greater honor than serving your country, and our veterans can now proudly display their service on their driver’s license or ID card, which will help them receive the services and benefits they richly deserve.

Jesse White

Illinois Secretary of State

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