To the Editor:

The Romans coined a patriotic phrase: “Dolce et decorum est pro patria mori.” Their reign lasted almost a thousand years and their culture is still felt in our lives today.

Patrick Henry coined another version of that dictum: “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” That denotes a glorious spirit of patriotism.

General George Patton rephrased that patriotic sentiment and added a new dimension to the meaning. He exhorted his soldiers to be always alert and ready to strike. Their purpose in war was not to die, but to cause the enemies to die for their country.

Today’s sentiments have totally changed. Some members of our youthful generation have been schooled by different philosophical principles. Instead of maintaining the national honor alive, they want to overthrow and change our laws and way of life. Their rallying cry today is: “Burn, baby, burn!”

I have always admired progressive idealists like John F. Kennedy. One has to emulate people who are creative and progressive.

To me, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were historical figures of giant proportions because, while they lived at a time of poverty and subjugation, they held high idealisms. They did not enrich themselves but they left us with a rich historical legacy.

From that poor beginning, with their idealism and strength of character, they nurtured the young republic and made it possible for the United States to grow into a great, magnanimous and freedom loving nation; always envied, but never surpassed.

Instead of criticism, the leaders of today should learn from the past, reflect, tone down their criticism and continue to build on the greatness we have inherited.

Put the nation’s interests above personal squabbles. The whole free world is waiting for our leadership.

Rocco M. Calabrese

Watertown

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