When you get a call from retired two-war veteran like Col. O.G.A. Zoni Mastroianni, you feel like snapping a salute.
The Evans resident called the other day to pass along a letter hed received from Maj. Gen. Edgardo del Ponte of Italy, praising Americas actions in Iraq.
Mastroianni, past commander of the Military Order of the World Wars, sent a photocopy of the letter from the Italian general, along with an English translation.
We feel the duty to express to the great nation of the United States admiration for having done its level best on behalf of freedom and security, del Ponte writes. "It is a great and historic mission, worthy of the highest traditions, that only military and civil organizations can accomplish (when) imbued with incomparable training and background. God bless America!
And God bless Col. Mastroianni for passing the letter along. It makes you feel good to know, in spite of what some folks in the national media would have us believe, that not everyone in the world opposed our efforts in Iraq.
One of those folks who participated in that effort was Petty Officer Second Class Helena Lynch. She served on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Constellation in the Persian Gulf during the war.
Lynch is posted to the Naval Security Group at Fort Gordon. But just as importantly, shes rumored to have a phenomenal singing voice. On May 24, shes scheduled to sing the National Anthem at Columbia Countys Red, White & Blue Veterans Celebration in Evans.
The event is from 6-9 p.m. on the field behind Kroger in Evans, and includes singing and dancing performances and recognition for our soldiers and veterans. It ends, as always, with a fireworks show - but how cool is it that a bona fide war vet is going to sing for us to open it?
Thats almost as uplifting as getting a call from Zoni Mastroianni.
This is courage?
Its almost funny, after talking about such brave soldiers, to note that former Gov. Roy Barnes traveled to Boston to receive a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for his backroom deal that changed Georgias flag two years ago.
The Carter Center in Atlanta is having a big party for him tonight, less than a week after Roys flag, rated the worlds ugliest by an international organization, was replaced with a version of the pre-1956 flag.
Is this the best the Kennedys could do in looking for acts of courage?
A heavy challenge
Its not exactly war, but the Columbia and Richmond County Republican Parties are rolling up their sleeves for battle Tuesday, May 20, from noon-6 p.m. at the Warren Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.
The two counties will see who can donate the most blood to the Sheppard Community Blood Center - and more than just bragging rights are on the line.
The losing party will have to contribute $500 to that countys se-lected charity, says the Columbia County GOP announcement. The donation will be delivered via the losing chairman pushing the winner to the door of their charity organization in a wheelbarrow.
Well. Lee Muns had better hope his party faithful open up their veins at Warren. He has more than pride to worry about.
Columbia Countys party chairman, see, is an average size fellow, sort of a fire-plug type.
But Richmond Countys chairman, Dave Barbee, is a big man. Very big. Very, very big. Oh-my-God-hes-coming-toward-us big.
You get the idea.
If Columbia Countys Republicans win, Barbee shouldnt have much trouble wheeling Muns to the door of his favorite charity. But if Richmond County wins, Muns may find a hernia riding in that wheelbarrow.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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