As published in the Bellingham Herald on July 8th, 2002
A few hours ago, I paused from my computer work long enough to watch the spectacular fireworks display over Bellingham
Bay. As the rockets shot into the air and exploded, my mind drifted back to a similar display 34 years ago in Vietnam.
I thought about our firemen and police officers who are our first line of defense against the violence that continues to
plague our country. Our second line of defense is our military and intelligence agencies that protect us from the terrorism
that stalks much of the rest of the world.
From Afghanistan and Bosnia to the Middle East, much of the violence that consumes other nations is the result of secular
governments that will not tolerate differences in religion.
In America, our Constitution protects us from other people's religious beliefs or nonbeliefs. With this protection, Christians,
Muslims and Jewish people can worship according to their beliefs without fear that the government will interfere.
In less than two weeks, four Washington police officers were gunned down in the line of duty, one was killed and three
were wounded. Please take time from your busy life to give thanks to our founding fathers who drafted the Constitution and
the uniformed men and women who place their lives in danger each day so that we may pursue our lives in safety.
Sheila L. Richardson