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Friday, December 31, 2004

Sonoma Index Tribune

Editorial And Letters

Letters 12.31.04

Freedom isn't free

Editor, Index-Tribune:

The Freemasons have been getting some renewed attention in the wake of the Disney blockbuster movie "National Treasure," but the treasure they seek in the movie is a physical one. Masonry offers more of a spiritual reward for those who seek the truth. Many of the patriots who built this great nation were Freemasons, such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere. Nine of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and thirteen of the signers of the Constitution were Masons.

At the Alamo, Freemasons like Sam Houston, Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie were in the middle of it once again. At least 11 of the brave men who led the Bear Flag Revolt right here on Sonoma's Plaza were Freemasons, living between here and Benicia, and declared California an independent republic in 1846. Finally, some of the great leaders during World War II and the liberation of Europe and the Pacific Rim from the tyranny of Hitler and Hirohito were Freemasons, including Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Audi Murphy and our own Sonoma resident General Henry "Hap" Arnold.

Today, Freemasons are supporting the cause for our liberation from terror and a return to stability around the world.

Freedom is not free. It was bought and paid for by the brave men and women before us. It is this spirit of freedom that is America. This holiday season and throughout the coming year, please do your part and make your contributions felt. Support the troops, the Red Cross, USO and countless other programs like Soldiers Angels,, and Adopt a Platoon. If you have trouble finding a cause that suits you, give me a call (933-0717), I'd be glad to help point you in the right direction.

Ralph Hutchinson


Sonoma Index Tribune

Auld Lang Syne

Traditional Scottish

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For days of auld lang syne.

We twa hae run aboot the braes
And pou'd the gowans fine.
But we've wander’d monie a weary foot,
Since days of auld lang syne.
And we twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Since days of auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I’ll be mine
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For days of auld lang syne
And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine,
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
To all Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Angels, and their families -

For the Troops - New Year Greetings from Germany

Dear Soldiers

An eventful year 2004 draws to a close.

Thank you for helping to make the world a better place for all humanity. We appreciate all that you are doing for more freedom in our world. Thank you for fighting against the terrorism. We are very proud of you!We are glad that the Americans have done so much good things for us Germans since the WWWII. I remember me that my grandmother told me so often that our family was so glad that 1945 we received care packages from our Americans friends. The Americans brought us freedom and they have helped us to build up our country again. The Americans protected our life in the time as it was necessary. Over the years between our both countries we have done bonds of friendships. Why we not ought to give something return, if a friend needs us. For us it is not important if someone was for or against the war - It is important that you see that something is to do - and that you do it!

We are so glad that we have the great opportunity through Gen. Patton's Great Niece, Patti Patton-Bader (Soldiers Angels Foundation) and the Manager from Fisher House Landstuhl to support the wounded US troops here in Germany. They all have given so much for other people's freedom. We will wish you at home or in a very unusual place a prosperous New Year 2005.

Very Respectfully,

Wilhelmine Aufmkolk, Germany
"May No Soldier Go Unloved”

And Gutes Neues Jahr to you and yours, Willie. Thanks for everything you do. You are a very special Angel!

War in Iraq casts shadow over Christmas -

His wife noted, "We had an early Thanksgiving and Christmas in one week, and we got to exchange presents with him then."

But most of all, "Jacob wanted his Daddy to play with him," Kelly said. Quality time spent during the reunion included taking in a holiday film and visiting a popular children's eatery and indoor play area.

Kelly King is hoping her husband will be back in Latrobe for good in March. That's when his tour of duty as a transmission specialist is expected to end, allowing him to resume his job as a foreman-in-training with a local plastics manufacturer.

But, with Iraqi insurgents continuing to oppose the presence of troops from the United States and its allies, she added, "I know it's not certain until he actually gets his orders to go home."

Terry King will mark his seventh anniversary in the Army National Guard this February.

During the original Gulf War in the early 1990s, he remained stationed in Washington, D.C., part of his previous six-year stint in the Navy. But, his wife says, she knew if he were called to duty during the current conflict, that he would be headed overseas.

Still, "It was a shock when he got his orders," she said.

She explained her husband began as a member of the Signal Battalion's Company C, which now is headquartered in Torrance. "But when Company A got deployed, he had to fill in" a vacant slot for a transmission specialist. The latter company is based in West View near Pittsburgh, she noted.

While her husband is away, "I try to stay busy," Kelly said. That includes caring for and playing computer games with her son: "He's really good at it."

She also works part-time as a merchandise vendor at Heinz Field and as a representative for a line of culinary products.

When she has time for reflection, she is concerned about the impact her husband's absence and the images of war are having on her young son.

"He sees pictures of his dad in uniform and wants to know why he's carrying a gun," she noted. "He shouldn't have to think about things like that at age three."

Explaining the situation in terms that are more familiar to her son, she said, "I relate his dad to someone like Buzz Lightyear, a hero figure."

While her husband has assumed the task of hero, a group of volunteers has taken on the role of angels, giving both Kelly and her son a break during their stressful holiday separation from Terry.

Fellow Latrobe resident Laura Yuhaniak, who is an active volunteer in support of soldiers and their loved ones, learned of the Kings' situation and recommended them as one of three local military families which received a holiday boost from the Latrobe American Legion's Veterans' Outreach program.

In addition to gift cards from the Legion, Yuhaniak helped channel other assistance to the families from the Salvation Army, which provided food boxes, and Latrobe policeman Jeff Regula, who donated stuffed animals.

She and her family--husband Bill and children Jesse, 12 and Jenny, 3--provided additional gift certificates and 120-minute phone cards to help the families stay in touch with their loved ones overseas.

Yuhaniak also submitted Kelly King's name to a California-based, non-profit group, the Soldiers' Angels Foundation. Initiated in June 2003 by Patti Patton-Bader, mother of an Iraq war veteran and a relative of World War II's Gen. George Patton, the foundation's mission is to bring help and comfort to both service members and their families.

King was "adopted" by one of the foundation's volunteers in New York state, who responded with a series of cards and surprise packages which arrived daily at the family's doorstep last week.

"With each and every box, I cried," Kelly said. "I sent him an e-mail to thank him."

The presents she and her son unwrapped included clothes, a Fisher Price "Power Touch" learning game and even a trampoline. They also received admission tickets to the Overly's Christmas light display at the county fairgrounds.

When King and her son visited the Overly's attraction last Tuesday, she noted, "We both had a ticket to ride in a horse-drawn buggy and Jacob had a train ride and a visit with Santa.

"When we got home, there was a box waiting from Santa. That was the perfect day."

Though the Soldiers' Angels Foundation helps service members and their families year-round, Yuhaniak noted project volunteers especially want "to make things a little easier for the families at Christmas.

"Christmas is the hardest time for them to be away from each other."

Yuhaniak noted her family's ongoing crusade to help servicemen and their families began long before she and her husband became state managers for the Soldiers' Angels group.

She noted it all began about three years ago when Jesse saw a televised interview with a soldier who was in the Middle East, serving in the post-9/11war on terrorism.

She recalled, "The soldier said how he missed home and that they really weren't getting many things from home. So Jesse wanted to know if we could send things for the soldiers."

That launched the Yuhaniaks on a letter-writing campaign, seeking contributions for soldiers from local businesses. They also sparked a collection effort at Latrobe Elementary School, which Jesse attends.

"We were overwhelmed with the response," Laura said.

War in Iraq casts shadow over Christmas -
Iraq War News
Iraq's insurgents grow proficient in violence: "Washington - By key measures of the level of insurgent violence against American forces in Iraq - numbers of dead, wounded and insurgent attacks - the situation has grown worse since summer. While tho...

[in Denver Post]

In The US News: Iraq News

Parliament deadlock delays approval on extended SKorean mission in Iraq: "Photo: AFP SEOUL (AFP) - Opposition lawmakers put up a human wall in parliament, delaying approval to extend the deployment of South Korean troops in Iraq. Praliamentary work was paralized when doze...

[in AFP via Yahoo]

In The US News: Iraq News

Schofield Soldiers Return From Iraq: "WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Oahu, Hawaii -- More than 100 Schofield Barracks soldiers returned Thursday morning from a nearly yearlong deployment to Iraq.

[in The Hawaii Channel]

In The US News: Iraq News

Militants warn Iraqis to shun elections: "BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Three militant groups released a statement saying democracy is un-Islamic and warned Iraqis that if they vote in Jan. 30 elections they risk being attacked."

In Modesto Bee: Iraq


City Plans a Texas-Size Send-Off for Guard Troops Headed to Iraq: "WACO, Texas — Not far from the ranch where President Bush is spending the holidays, the impact of the war in Iraq is being driven home in this city of 113,000."

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

US troops see progress in Afghanistan, grateful not in Iraq for Christmas: "US troops see progress in Afghanistan, grateful not in Iraq for Christmas KABUL, Dec 25 (AFP) - "There but for the grace of God go I," is a common refrain among US troops stationed in Afghanistan for ...

[in General Sources]

In The US News: Iraq News

Rebels attack Iraqi security forces: "BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Insurgents launched multiple attacks on Iraqi police across the dangerous Sunni Triangle on Tuesday, killing 24 people -- including 19 policemen -- a day after the major Sunni Muslim ...

[in Casper Star Tribune]

In The US News: Iraq News

Iraq needs $55 billion for reconstruction: "DUBAI - Iraq has estimated a cost of approximately $55 billion for the reconstruction of the country for 2005-2007, said Dr Mehdi Hafedh, minister of planning and development cooperation and chairman ...

[in Business Times]

In The US News: Iraq News

Mortar strike sets fire to Iraqi oil refinery: "Baghdad - A mortar strike set fire to Baghdad's Dura oil refinery on Thursday night, an interior ministry official said. Baghdad firefighters were struggling to put out the blaze and called for hel...

[in IOL]

In The US News: Iraq News

Bush touts Iraqi election: "CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) -- President Bush on Wednesday denounced Osama bin Laden's call to boycott the Iraqi elections, saying the balloting offers a choice between free expression and a "dark vision of ...

[in Casper Star Tribune]

In The US News: Iraq News

Turkish Truck Driver Killed In Iraq: "SAMARRA (AA) - A Turkish driver was killed in northern part of Iraq, sources said on Wednesday. The driver was killed in an ambush near Bidiyah town, south of Samarra. He could not be identified yet. ...

[in Turkish Press]

In The US News: Iraq News


Key leader of al-Zarqawi network captured in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Multi-National Forces recently captured a senior member of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist network in northern Baghdad, according to a statement released Friday by Iraq's government.