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Reader questions validity of public safety funeral tradition
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    The editorial letter in Sunday’s Statesboro Herald (Public Safety Funerals Honor Servants of Community) concerning the use of police and fire department equipment and personnel for the funerals of firefighters and law enforcement was emotionally compelling. The writer makes some interesting points and we offer condolences to him and his family.
    We should, as he states in the opinion, honor those who serve in such capacities. Those who choose that career path have hopefully made such a choice with clarity of thought.
    But in reading posts on social media sites and in talking to various people from various backgrounds,  I find that some people are of the opinion that while paying honor to deceased first responders is a wonderful gesture, there is concern that somehow the average citizen loses out in these situations.
    For example, is the school custodian due a funeral like the one mentioned by the writer?  What about educators, bank employees, auto mechanics, or the clerk at the convenience store? Are they and the myriad of other non-emergency vocations eligible for such honor? 
    While it’s true that the work of emergency responders is at times dangerous and stressful, it is a vocational choice made on an individual basis, just like any other job. Like other careers, there is no compulsory requirement to choose any particular occupation (other than the necessity to provide for our families.)
    I agree with the writer that comments made on Soundoff and other popular opinion outlets are sometimes to be taken with a grain of salt, or not taken at all. I prefer to put my name on my public opinions.  However, some of the comments made on social web sites by individuals claiming to be emergency responders or spouses/friends of responders about this topic border on terroristic threats. It’s interesting that people sworn to keep the peace and uphold the Constitution could possibly advocate such maliciousness in a public forum.  
    Future contributors to Soundoff should use caution in espousing their views to an audience that doesn’t always embrace the concept of free speech. 
    The good news is that we have many fine police, fire, and first responder personnel who take their jobs and sworn duty to uphold our laws and protect our property as a nearly sacred oath. 
    Let’s keep it that way. 

J. Wayne Collingsworth
Statesboro, Ga.

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