To the Editor:
The letter printed in the letters section on Feb. 11 has disturbed me greatly as it implies that the military in some way endorses President Bush. While portions of this story are true on the whole it is both incorrect and misleading.
President Bush did indeed salute LTC Brian Birdwell while he lay in the hospital recovering from burns. However General Van Antwerp was not present during this exchange, Donna McGuire of the Kansas City Star reported it on Dec. 9, 2001.
The misleading portion relates to military courtesy, by regulation the president of the United States is always saluted with respect regardless of the direction of approach, and military personnel are required to turn and face the president to perform this courtesy. The president, being a civilian, is not required to salute at all.
The next issue I take with this letter is the mention of the Medal of Honor. It is not nor ever was the “Congressional” Medal of Honor; this common mistake demeans the award.
Finally I would like to address the idea that one president gets more respect than another. President Clinton did many beneficial things for the military, the least of which being the largest pay raise since Regan. President Bush has denied disabled veterans full pay by continuing the double receipt laws. However the Marine Honor Guard salute both with the vigor and pride called for by that position.
We of the Armed Forces do protect and defend the Constitution and to follow the orders of the president. In doing so, we surrender many of our rights and freedoms. In the future I would hope that when fact checking an article or letter you would use the resources provided by the Army and Air Force ROTC departments.
Six-year Army veteran and ROTC student