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Sound Off! calls published Dec. 30, 2009
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• Thanks for the tree photo!

Every year the Ceres Garden Club puts up a Christmas tree in the gazebo a Whitmore Park and has a little tree lighting ceremony as our gift to the folks in Ceres. Imagine my excitement and delight when I opened the Ceres Courier on Dec. 16 and saw a picture of some of the Nutcracker casy from Steps Dance Arts Center posed in front of our tree! We are so pleased that people are using the tree for photo opportunities and enjoying our work of love.

We also want to thank Ceres High School for sending us a group of their outstanding musicians to play for our tree lighting ceremony several weeks ago.

Thank you for a great picture.

-Pat Askew

• Nice column on salvation

Jeff I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the article on the divine plan of salvation. You put it in such simplistic everyday terms that even an intellectually impaired individual could understand it. I honestly feel that if there was more exposure to the Bible and prayer and Jesus himself that the world would not be in the position that it is in today. There is such a big hole in people today and they are dissatisfied and have no idea as to what to do to get relief so they try to fill it with worldly things that are really destructive for them. If only they knew how simple it is to ask God into their hearts. Everyone is looking for "a bail-out plan" so they can have a clean start and get out from under their oppressors or their debtors. Jesus already has a bail-out plan for humanity. All we have to do is ask Him for help and forgiveness. I would even venture to say that He invented the bail-out plan that the world is seeking today.

• Dennis should complain to store manager

This is in response to the article by Dennis Wyatt in the paper from last week. If he doesn't like the dogs in the stores - since all stores have it posted it's supposed to be service animals only - he has the right to make the complaint to management about other dogs in the store. The problem with the stores not putting their foot down about the dogs is because under the new rules and acts they cannot go up to somebody and ask if the dog is a service and/or therapy dog without getting into trouble by making them think they are being barred from the place and that's a big huge fine. So if there is a dog in the store and he doesn't like it, just ask an employee to ask for the manager and then the manager can ask if it's a service or therapy dog and if not the store can give a fine to the owners of the animals because dogs are not supposed to be in stores under the Health Department laws.

• Letter to President Obama

I read this wonderful letter and felt that it needed to be shared because this man is a true American! He dictated this letter to a friend, signed it and mailed it to the president.

Dear President Obama,

My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year. People meeting me for the first time don't believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chief Bos'n Mate. Now I live in a rest home located on the western end of Pearl Harbor, allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.

One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.

So here goes.

I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do, but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish.

I can't figure out what country you are the president of. You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like:

· "We're no longer a Christian nation"

· "America is arrogant" - (Your wife even announced to the world, "America is mean-spirited." Please tell her to try preaching that nonsense to 23 generations of our war dead buried all over the globe who died for no other reason than to free a whole lot of strangers from tyranny and hopelessness.)

I'd say shame on the both of you, but I don't think you like America, nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do, for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.

After 9/11 you said, "America hasn't lived up to her ideals."

Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British? Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War? I hope you didn't mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around, because we stand for freedom.

I don't think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.

Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man.

Shape up and start acting like an American. If you don't, I'll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue. You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.

And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more. You mean you don't want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts, who was putting up a fight? You don't mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don't want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.

One more thing. I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you're the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you're not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you're thinking of.

You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president. You're not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That's not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now.

And I sure as hell don't want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle.


Harold B. Estes