Paid Political Letter: Make Your Voice Heard Nov 8: VOTE

Ideas and opinions in this letter are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stance of this paper. The author of this letter has paid for its placement. Because submission was declined for publication in the Commentary section, it is presented as a 3-part paid letter of maximum 250-word length; this is 1 of 3.

My name is Jon Gackle; I was keynote speaker at Veterans Memorial Park in Alexandria on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021. The Echo Press published two letters sent in response to the speech that day; both were derogatory. In the first letter, the writer shared their disappointment with the speaker and what they described as a Memorial Day tarnished by politics and right-wing talking points. The second letter was from a Veterans Memorial Park committee member who thanked the first writer for their concern regarding the keynote address, and then apologized for the circumstance and content of the speech. At the time, many of my brothers in the Marine Corps League offered to write letters in my defense, but I asked to please disregard; I was fine with the public criticism, and saw no value added in pushing back.

Fast forward to last week when I received a  telephone call from a Trademark Attorney at the Office of the Inspector General of the Marine Corps. I’m responding now, to draw attention to the upside down nature of things. The Memorial Day address delivered in May 2021, and the overblown, publicized minority response to it, is indicative; it’s a microcosm of what’s occurring in the larger landscape of American culture and politics today. To be continued...

John Gackle
Farwell, Minn.