Pendleton and the great state of Oregon is losing an American hero, Mr. Herb Bork ("Pendleton World War II vet leaves home after more than 50 years," Nov. 9 edition of the East Oregonian). During the war against fascism, Mr. Bork put his life on the line for American freedom. I honor and revere him.

Only 1% of the American people serve in the military. As a combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, I can tell you that being deployed to a combat theater is not like the movies. Death is omnipresent. It is hungry and devoid of mercy. The soldier, Marine or airman stares violence in the face and does not blink. Mr. Bork never blinked. For that, he's an American hero.

I fear for our future. Will our youth look to moral titans like Mr. Bork? Or will they pursue selfish and vapid goals? I am an optimist and hope for the former. Mr. Bork is carrying the torch of liberty into the future.

I have once heard it said that the meaning of life is shining light into dark places. Some 80-plus years ago our world was plunged into darkness, World War II. America could have embraced isolationism and selfishness, but it didn't. It chose sacrifice. Mr. Bork is an Olympic torch, bringing light and goodness to our fallen world.

Brian Fitzgerald 

Happy Valley 

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