November 11, 2001 11:00 pm

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows protesters to burn the flag.

Father Denis Edward OBrien, USMC

Many people in Northeast Oregon are taking the day off today to celebrate Veterans Day, which officially occurred Sunday.

Its especially significant to celebrate Veterans Day this year in light of what happened just two months ago in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. The terrorist attacks were a national tragedy that has been seared forever into the American consciousness.

Since then, we have gone to war against terrorists in an effort to preserve our freedoms: the freedom of speech and of the press, the freedom of religion, the freedom to demonstrate and the freedom to conduct commerce free of threat. We need to remember it is soldiers past and present who have helped preserve these and other precious freedoms.

Since our nations founding, 48 million men and women have served America in military uniforms. More than 1 million have been lost in battle, and another million and a half have been injured.

Today, we need to thank our veterans, those ordinary people who have served us in extraordinary ways.


Caring and sharing. They are two small words, but they have slam-bang impact. A meeting in Eugene Sunday took those words to heart. Called Cool Congregations: People of Faith Caring for Gods Climate, the meeting focused on the threat of global warming and how Christians, Muslims, Jews and members of other faiths should respond to the challenge.

These people of faith are raising public awareness of an important issue, and illustrating how grass-roots strength, people doing everyday things, can make good things happen.

Ministers have an enormous influence on society. They can play a vital role in resource issues in showing how individuals can make a difference. But the mission is not without risk. A forceful leader will have enemies. And of course, overall solutions to global warming are complex. But it is important to remember not what the government can do but what each of us as citizens can do to make the world a better place.

A constructive debate has arisen over whether we should be alarmed by global warming, or whether it is really occurring. This has been billed as a partisan issue, but all of us are impacted by global climate change.The churches are showing the need for non-partisan solutions to environmental problems.

The ministers are also asserting that a complacent mindset is not acceptable. They are trying to instill a sense of responsibility by showing the people in their congregations the importance of following through on their commitments, whether that is meeting the needs of the less fortunate or doing what is necessary to help our planet.