Letters to the Pilot

Monday, March 17, 2003

Governor calls for ringing bells to support soldiers


All across this state thousands of Iowans -sons and daughters, mothers and fathers - have been answering their country's call to what with each passing day appears to an irreversible march toward a war far from their homes.

Those of us who remain behind safely in our homes and workplaces must not forget these brave Iowa men and women in military uniform who guard and ensure that safety each day. We must also make sure they know - wherever they may be, whatever dangers they face - that we hold them firmly in our thoughts and prayers and await their safe return.

As a sign of our undivided, unwavering support for those valiant men and women called to arms, and their families, I am calling on Iowans across this great state to join in ringing bells in churches, schools and other community buildings at noon each day until our troops return safely home, and hopefully to a more peaceful world. The ringing of the bells will serve as a daily, somber reminder to each of us of the great sacrifices being made by our neighbors, friends and co-workers.

As we here at home - at family dinner tables and in the halls of Congress - debate the course for our nation, we must remember that when called, Iowans in military uniforms ask neither why nor where nor when. They pack up their gear and go, leaving wives, husbands, children, parents, grandparents and friends behind.

Let there also be no doubt that when the nation calls on Iowans to serve, the nation gets the very best - our engineers, our police officers, our doctors and nurses, our mechanics, our road and bridge builders. Our citizen soldiers.

We will need a cooperative effort by all Iowans to organize the bell ringing in towns and cities throughout the state. I call on community leaders to spearhead that effort.

Bells do not ring themselves. The ringing of a bell is an act of service, an act of kindness, an act of remembrance. Please join with me in this simple, but powerful gesture of support for Iowa's sons and daughters in military uniform and their families.

Thomas J. Vilsack,

Governor of Iowa