Gratitude for those who put in the effort

I have had the opportunity to observe many construction sites where the men and women work in sweltering heat to build a two-story house or a 14-story hotel. Whatever it is, these folks are to be commended for being the builders of this country. What they construct is for all to use and cherish.

Americans have not lost the ability to build what needs to be built. Construction workers make good pay, but they are worth every penny as they sweat and toil in 90-degree temperatures for eight to 10 hours a day. How many of our college elite would put the hard work in to achieve such a goal as that which makes us all proud?

The next time you see a construction worker, thank them! The next time you see a soldier, thank them! It is the least we can do for those who build and those who keep us safe! Obviously, we do the same for policemen and fireman but we must not forget the builders.


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They're not all saints, as some seem to think

Regarding Dan Hanson's commentary about truck drivers ("Some food for thought for impatient drivers everywhere," Aug. 3) and getting home and the letter to the editor headlined "More dangers from life on the not-so-open road" (Aug. 8): Who are those writers talking about?

The same truck drivers who are on your rear end, talking on their cell phones, no signals, driving in the left lane during rush hour, pulling out in front of you, running red lights with a 80,000-pound tractor-trailer, running yield signs and forcing you to move over or else?

These writers know exactly the truck drivers I am talking about, and there are a lot of them out there. Truck drivers used to be the Good Samaritans on the road; now, with their terrible driving attitudes, they are not.


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Really enjoyed the article about the life of a trucker. I was married to a trucker for 28 years and know how hard they work, how much they have done, and how much pressure is on them to make deadlines.

Four-wheelers, as truckers call them, need "how to share the road with a truck" lessons as part of their driver's training. They will pull directly in front of a truck using the space that the trucker was planning on using for stopping in case an emergency arose.

I wish more articles like this would help us appreciate the hard life and skill it takes to be a professional driver. God bless them all!


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Injuries to a helmetless rider's head burden all

An Aug. 9 letter, a motorcyclist referring to helmet use, said that "I, for one, believe in my individual rights to make choices that may or may not be good in your eyes."

He should add that he is willing to accept the financial burden said choices might incur. If he chooses to not wear a lap belt or a helmet his choices might mean the rest of us will have to pay for his hospitalization, rehab and very long-term care.

If we had universal health care this would be a moot point, but I wonder if he has any idea of the enormous cost to society of those choices. Very few people can afford such care without government help.


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The meaning of 'thank you for your service'

I will not allow Elizabeth Samet's cynical, judgmental take on expressing thanks to our servicemen and women stop me from doing so again ("The hollowness of 'thank you for your service," Aug. 6).

I recognize that it is a very simple and safe act in light of whatever risks these young people might face. I would welcome an opportunity to discuss with them how their lives have been affected by their deployment, but that feels presumptuous on my part.

We live in a culture that all too often shuts down honest discourse due to political sensitivities. So I will proudly and with humility express my gratitude to people in uniform.


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I get Samet's point; repeating something over and over can eventually become pointless. And when I first came home from Iraq in 2004, I hated hearing "thank you for your service."

I would think: There are soldiers who have died and many more that have been injured -- why don't you thank them?

I haven't done anything, just my job, and I didn't even do that well. I thought, like Samet, that it was said just to ease some subconscious guilt. How arrogant was I.

Would I like it if every time I got a thank you, or if someone paid for something for me, that they would go off and donate to the Disabled American Veterans or to the Fisher House program or hire a vet?

Yes -- yes, I would. But not accepting their "thank you" would be like saying that my service or the service of those who gave so much more than I did wasn't worthy of praise. Who cares what their motives are?

It was my pleasure and my privilege to serve my country. I don't care if you are for or against the war. Not everything has to be a social or political discussion.

While "thank you" may be a small token in scheme of things, it has a big effect on people that it's said to. And to me that means everything.


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For those that might worry that their well-intended "thank you" is hollow -- trust me, it isn't; we get it. But, if the opportunity arises , you (we) can always do better. For instance, it was the fall of 1966, and I had just graduated from Marine Corps Boot Camp.

I was attired in my brand-new uniform and took my seat on a Northwest flight coming home to Minneapolis. No sooner were we airborne than the stewardess came to me, drink order in hand, and said, "There is a gentleman in the back of the plane that would like to buy you a drink."