In my estimation, Memorial Day 2002 has particular significance for all Americans. I've been around for a long time and appreciate more than ever what a great country we live in, the United States of America - and we're great at every governmental level, from local to federal.
In regard to the workings of local government, I'll just give one example of super efficiency. A few days ago I was at the Port LIRR Railroad station, "trapped" because of heavy rains and unable to get to my car without being soaked. Suddenly, the fire alarms sounded loud at the Port Fire Department. Almost immediately, volunteers came roaring in with auto flashing lights blazing away.
Then the big firehouse doors opened as the fire engine thundered out and rolled up Main Street with horn blasting away and big American flag flapping in the breeze at the truck's back end. Quite a scene! And how long did it take from the time the alarm sounded until the fire engine was rolling? Just about 90 seconds. Great job!
And the job the US military accomplished after September 11 is truly amazing. From my house at the top of Orchard Farm Road I could hear the two blasts, one shortly before 9 a.m. and the second about 20 or so minutes later. When I turned on the radio, I could hardly believe what happened.
And then on TV we get images of US troops in Afghanistan jumping out of airplanes to take on the Taliban. And later, US commandos are seen going into caves in Afghanistan's mountainous region to hunt down Osama bin Laden's terrorists - that kind of military operation taken by our finest and best trained soldiers.
And from a personal standpoint, I find that our Federal Government is super-efficient. As senior citizens, we get our Social Security check on time ... and when you get any US Treasury check with the Statue of Liberty vignette, you know it's never going to bounce. And with Medicare coverage from the Federal Government, we can go to any doctor and co-pay only a small percentage of the total charge. Recently, when I got my Social Security and Medicare statement on the same day, I said in effect, "Thanks Uncle Sam, you are really terrific."
And anyone who criticizes the Federal Government indiscriminately is a knucklehead.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935, he was moved to say: "When you pay taxes, you have the privilege of living in an organized society." These are my thoughts for Memorial Day 2002.