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COLUMN: Democrats are not the only ones who want peace

By web

Section: Opinions

January 28, 2005

When people asked me if I was going to Inauguration with Students for Peace, I really didnt know what to say. I am a conservative Republican, yet I am also a student for peace. In fact, my love of peace is precisely the reason I am a conservative Republican, and that is the reason I wanted to go celebrate the crucial victory of our commander in chief.

This past fall I was given the fortunate opportunity to campaign for our president in Nashua, New Hampshire. The man who I worked with and who drove us around resided in Washington, D.C., and he left his job for three days to help insure that the president would emerge victorious. All of the campaigners had different reasons for being there. However, his reason had a deep impact on me. He had served in Iraq for a full year, and he had seen how crucial the war in Iraq is to the freedom of the Iraqi people and the security of the world.

He had traveled the country and seen the wonderful things the Americans were doing for this people, who for decades had been brutally oppressed and without freedom. He told us that countless times, the Iraqi people would come embrace the American soldiers, thanking them desperately for freeing them from Saddam. They thanked him for their freedom. They thanked him for helping them live in peace.

He told us that despite what the media would have us think, wonderful things are occurring in Iraq. For this reason, he said, around 80 percent of our brave soldiers in the military supported our president in the election of 2004.

For these reasons, as soon as I received an email from the Brandeis Republicans asking me if I wanted to attend Inauguration, I was ready to pack my bags and go. After working two ten-hour days in the fall to help the President win this ever so crucial election, I thought this would be an extraordinary way to celebrate my efforts.

The eight- hour bus ride was interesting, to say the least. Aside from a heated argument at a rest stop in Connecticut, the four Republicans onboard generally got along very well with the Students for Peace. I realized that we pretty much want the same things. We both want peace. However, it is in how to obtain this peace that I suppose we disagree.

As soon as we got into the beautiful yet brisk city of D.C., we got on the subway to head for the Senate offices to secure the tickets to the inauguration.

Being from Colorado, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Mountain State reception where I was able to meet my senators as well as a representative. Following this, it was off to the inauguration where we waited in line for two hours before entering the ceremony. After finding a place where we had a clear view of the Jumbotron, we saw the Vice-President take his oaths. Finally, the President took center stage to give his moving inaugural address.

Standing in an awe-struck silence, I found myself beginning to really appreciate what the President was saying. My grandmother, of blessed memory, survived the horrendous brutality of the Holocaust. Therefore, I could not help but shiver as I heard these words:

There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom. We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.

“The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it.
“By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well – a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.

As I heard these words, I felt a tingle down my spine. As a grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, I found such solace in the fact that our Commander in Chief fully understands the importance of freedom and liberty for all.

As I left this memorial event, I realized that peace doesnt always come free. Tragically, it costs thousands of lives. However, our presidents efforts will lead to greater peace for the citizens of Iraq as well for the entire world. Sadly, we will not see the results of his efforts right away. Nevertheless, I am confident that in twenty years we will look back at Bushs handling of terrorism just as we look at Reagans handling of Communism. We will emerge victorious, and millions of people will finally gain peace, freedom and liberty.

My support of Bush, therefore, makes me a student for peace, too.

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