Once again, the U.S. Marines have met the enemy and prevailed. The whipped enemy is the coronavirus. Marine Training Center San Diego has no COVID-19 infections. The infection rate throughout the entire Corps is extremely low. As always, discipline and caring for your buddies won the day. The Marines modified training to carefully follow scientific hygiene guidelines. Masking and distancing are enforced, preventing COVID outbreaks and maintaining readiness to fight. Now, compare the Marine approach to that of Tootie Smith, newly elected Clackamas County commissioner.

Smith has gained notoriety, bragging she won't limit her Thanksgiving or Christmas celebrations, that she will "celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with as many family and friends as she can find." She appears to cherish the life of a super spreader. This lack of patriotism is appalling. Smith's unwillingness to make the smallest sacrifice to lessen the burden on hospitals, doctors, nurses, therapists and floor staff is selfish. Her lack of concern for the lives of the elderly and those with diabetes, hypertension or other conditions is heartbreaking.

Smith's words mock the sacrifices generations of veterans have made. Assigned to a destroyer deployed to the Atlantic and North Sea, I missed many Thanksgivings and Christmases with family back in Eastern Oregon. And I had it easy — with a warm bunk and hot meals — compared to my fellow vets with year-long tours in killing zones of Vietnam, obviously without family or old friends for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

And we paled compared to the greatest generation. My father boarded a troop ship departing San Francisco in December 1941 for the Philippines, but rerouted to Australia, then to the jungles of New Guinea. After three-and-a-half years continuously overseas (and malaria), he returned stateside in April 1945. Yes, he too survived Thanksgivings with no family.

I fear for my family and country if Tootie Smith's attitude of others-be-damned and no-sacrifices-by-me (no matter how small) infects others because of her position of power. I pray Union County leaders will choose authentic patriotism over Smith-style posturing.

Charles Jones

La Grande

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