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I will never allow my beloved country to be diminished by fear

To The Daily Sun,

Sure, go ahead and call me a naive, optimistic, grass-is-always-greener, smell-the-roses, the sun will come up tomorrow, always hopeful sap. Yes. I am. But I will not give up on the basic tenets that this country of ours was born from. No religious tests. All men (and women) are created equal. Innocent until proven guilty. Secular federal and local governments. The great melting pot. No official language. A right to choice.

I believe in what is engraved on the Statue of Liberty — the Mother of Exiles. It isn't just a statue or a place to visit. It is the raison d'etre of the United States. To whit:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

That is who we as a country are. That is why ISIS and communists and all manner of extremists hate us. Because we offer the promise of a life that those others can't. We are the United States of America and if you offer anything less than that entire promise, then you do not grasp what it means to be American. And anyone who seeks to diminish that is not fit to be president. I love my friends and people in general, but I love my country more and will never allow it to be diminished by anyone's fear. Especially not by frightened old white people like Steve and Don and Jim and Tony and Linda and Rosemary. You all stink of fear, which is why you voted for President-elect Trump.

So for those of you who stand in direct contradiction to the meaning of "American," then I will call you out every single day. I will counter your every move. I will shout from the mountaintops. And I will do everything in my power to maintain New Hampshire as not a red or blue state, but an American one.

Alan Vervaeke


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Steakhouse restaurant has a very big heart for U.S. veterans

To The Daily Sun,

In my 21-year career as a Navy Public Affairs and Media Relations officer, I served at sea and ashore in Europe, Asia and the across the United States. At Naval Base San Francisco, I coordinated a series of annual Fleet Weeks when parades of Navy and Coast Guard ships arrive with compliments of up to 12,000 sailors and embarked U.S. Marines, for a week of citywide events that celebrated Navy Birthday and gave citizens a wonderful opportunity to thank those in uniform for their service.

Today, Fleet Weeks are also celebrated in New York, and most recently in Los Angeles, where my son, the deputy mayor of Los Angeles and a Naval Reserve Intelligence Officer, just coordinated the first annual Los Angeles Fleet Week. These are each large-scale events where many thousands of service men and women interact with many tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians who honor and thank those in uniform.

For me, the best part of any Fleet Week was my joy in how warmly our sailors and Marines were greeted. Before they arrived at fleet weeks, sailors and Marines were encouraged to wear their uniforms ashore. Many didn't, until they saw uniformed sailors and Marines thanked for their service and treated to complimentary drinks and meals by restaurant owners and fellow customers. That was followed by whoosh of air as those not in uniform rushed back to their ships to change into the uniform of the day.

Now that I've retired to New Hampshire, I see that same public and patriotic support here for our active duty and retired military members. A sign outside the Elks Club in Holderness invited veterans to a barbecue and I heard radio announcements about no-cost meals for veterans at Applebee's.

The veterans event I saw advertised in The Daily Sun was the event I attended this past Wednesday. It was at the Steakhouse restaurant on Weirs Boulevard in Laconia, and when I arrived, the parking lot was filled, and there was no wonder why. The restaurant had advertised free meals for veterans — meals including a combination of prime rib and either scallops or baked stuffed shrimp, plus two sides. I had never before been to the Steakhouse, but I and my guest will be there again, because of the warmth and generosity of the owners and staff, and because of the restaurant's wonderfully delicious food. My guest and I agreed it was one of the best meals we've ever enjoyed.

I had the chance to talk with a number of other veterans that evening. I spoke with one who was leaving as we were arriving, and learned that at different times, we both had lived in Gaeta, Italy, and served on the flagship of the commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, homeported there. At the end of the meal, I thanked Dean, the master head chef at The Steakhouse, and learned that he also is a Navy veteran. If restaurant manager Sherrilynn DeCosta has any spare time, she should teach at a school for restaurant managers. She is so pleasant and gracious.

I was informed that owners Joe and Deanna Vanaria were not in the restaurant when I and my guest visited, but I believe all the veterans they honored would join me in thanking them for their great generosity and patriotism. In terms of thanking veterans on a square-foot basis, their Steakhouse restaurant is as big as any Fleet Week.

Frederick Gorell
Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired)

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