Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Thursday, December 29, 2011

To the editor:

After seeing my community of Aurelia all over national news for treating veterans badly, I feel very embarrassed.

After reading people's comments on Facebook and other media outlets, such as "I Hope the people of Aurelia burn in Hell and are eaten by pit bulls," and other people insulting family members of the city council, I am for sure embarrassed. There are media outlets in Chicago and all over the country right now reporting how disrespectful this town is to veterans. And people in this community are giving them the ammunition to report it.

The media got it wrong.

Eight years ago I witnessed thousands of people in this rural community stand on the side of the road to salute a KIA Marine; where two young boys in the back of a pick-up truck held on to an American flag in 35 mile an hour wind to honor him; where an 83 year old veteran stood on the side of road in sub zero temperatures because he wanted to salute this young American for the last time; where fireman flew a flag over the road attached to a ladder because they felt it was their job.

I can honestly say as a former Marine with two years in combat and a total of five years in the Middle East, I am truly proud of this community BECAUSE of the way they treat veterans. I can't get those images out of my head because that day I was in the lead vehicle of that funeral convoy because the KIA Marine was my buddy.

If you have lived here for more than six months you would know of the turnout we get for the Legion pancake supper, the amount of people who show up to the cemetery on Memorial Day, the yellow ribbons on the back of cars. This community has been overwhelmingly supportive of veterans.

I am hearing many people assault the city council members, who were simply trying to do their job and enforce an existing law after they were petitioned to do so. They have even been called unpatriotic by some. As a veteran, I will say that this is a legal issue and the subject being a veteran has nothing to do with the conflict at center.

I would urge citizens to stop getting their information from Facebook or out of Chicago and encourage them to go engage the community at a council meeting in an appropriate fashion so they have the facts.

For those of you throwing mud at the council, insulting them behind their backs in the name of patriotism, and claiming to be ashamed of Aurelia, you need to know that veterans are not victims, they are strong individuals, and to consider one a victim is an insult to those left on the battle field.

And if any of you name-calling, city council-hating, facebook-commenting, self-proclaimed-patriots care, the Marine Corps is hiring..........

Dan Niemeier