To Whom it May Concern:
I have read several reports about your recent "Loyalty Day" parade and the exclusion of the Veterans for Peace and other groups with messages calling for an end to war. There is video tape of parade organizer, Patty Louisiana saying that the peace message, even from combat veterans, "doesn't support the spirit of our community". Is this the true spirit of Newport? For a community of people lucky enough to live on a section of Oregon Coast most of us can only afford to visit occasionally to take that stance toward the rest of the citizens of this state, country and world is beyond comprehension. I am shocked and I will never, ever feel the same about enjoying Newport again.
On February 11, 2004 my beautiful 19 year old nephew was blown to pieces in his unarmored Humvee while patrolling the streets of Baghdad. He will never again play in the Oregon sand or run in the surf and wait for a beautiful sunset that you can enjoy everyday. If Newport believes that my family and other concerned citizens cannot call for an end to this senseless carnage, then I will not be bringing my family and my patronage to your town. Your treatment of these groups has circulated widely among the 69% of Americans who do not support this war and that will have an impact on your tourist economy.
More than that, however, what was done to these people, denying their right to an opinion and participation in a public event, is against the very core of our existence as a nation and Newport should be ashamed to be a party to such action. I understand "Loyalty Day" was founded to uphold and celebrate the basic ideals of our nation. Your actions prove how far from that original intention you are willing to stray. How ironic and truly sad. As our loved ones are fighting and dying for what many want to believe is our freedom and democracy, you are taking those very rights away from your own fellow citizens.
Aunt of PFC William Ramirez , KIA 2/11/04
Oregon City, OR