Signed as an individual

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According to the editorial in the July 2 Sun Journal, “The Strong selectmen failed to recognize the contradiction of their actions,” by voting to donate $25 on behalf of the town to a memorial fund, established following the tragic death of Sgt. Richard Parker of Phillips in Iraq, and then signing a petition “declaring the small town’s airspace off-limits to controversial low-level military flights.”

I am one of those selectmen.

I only wish we had given more to Sgt. Parker’s memorial fund. Selectmen are responsible to the taxpayers of Strong and limited in the ability to raise funds except at town meetings. No dollar amount, no matter how large, could possibly be enough to truly honor the sacrifice Sgt. Parker made.

What I fail to recognize is how a professional journalist could possibly come to a logical conclusion that an individual, acting on his own by signing a petition, asking that the military not fly low-level flights over his town, was in any way a declaration by the town, or was in any way detrimental to the war effort in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I hope the Sun Journal’s confusion that we, as a board of selectmen, “acted on behalf of the town,” is based on the fact that we signed the aforementioned petition as individuals at a selectmen meeting. If that is the cause of the confusion of the facts by the Sun Journal’s editorial writer, then I formally apologize.

I also apologize to any citizen who read the uninformed and nonfactual editorial and now believes the selectmen spoke for them on the subject. We did not, and we will not.

Yes, training is a necessity to any military operation, but this particular type of training, low-level dogfighting, has no military effect one way or the other in either the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. That is my opinion as a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War.

I do agree with the Sun Journal’s statement that more should be done for the surviving veterans of America’s wars, but that, my friends, is another editorial.

James R. Burrill, Strong

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