I have always been a proud American, thankful to those who sacrifice their lives to protect our country.

My dad joined the Army Air Corps at McChord AFB as his two brothers did. He was stationed in the Philippines. When he returned home at the end of his tour, he was a bag of bones. Starved of good food, weary for lack of rest, always keeping a constant eye on the camp's safety, always paying sharp attention for tricks of the enemy, weary of strangers who could lead to destruction.

My dad was just one man. There are so many others whom have suffered losses and still suffering today. Loss of life, limbs and their minds reliving the terror every minute.

When I see a soldier, I want to shake their hand, thank them for their service, bravery and sacrifices they made.

Who in their right mind could ever complain about the noise from the jets here on Whidbey Island? I feel only gratitude knowing they are training to be the best fighter pilots to defend us against the enemy of destruction. "Welcome to Whidbey. Please pardon our noise. It's the sound of freedom."

I live at the north end of Ault Field where they practice. Sometimes it's very loud and annoying, but it's a very necessary noise that I have learned to live with as I am sure others have.

Freedom doesn't come easy. Our soldiers work very hard to become the very best and pay a high price to be that, and I honor them no matter how bad it gets. Thank them for their  service.

Tess Pederson

Oak Harbor

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