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Your opinions: Sept. 10, 2016

Blessings must be earned
It would be refreshing for the politicians that ask for God to bless America to remind us that for the most part, Gods blessings have to be earned! As freedom is not not free, neither are the blessings of God. Only in rare instances do we receive “unmerited favor” (Grace).
Gods covenant with us is that if we follow His ways He will bless us, but if we turn away from Him, we will receive his curses (Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28).
A good example is what happened to the once great nation of biblical times — Israel. Under King David and King Solomon Israel was the most powerful and influential nation in that area of the world! However, idol worship and other abominations crept in and caused the nation to split, and both nations be defeated by foreign adversaries and the people scattered over the world. (Some of their descendants eventually coming to the Americas). Basically the people had turned away from God and subsequently Gods curses fell on them, as promised!
As a nation we must learn from history and not repeat histories mistakes. Let us as individuals and as a nation, embrace our Judean-Christian Heavenly Father and flourish again with His blessings — becoming once again that beacon of Light & Hope to the world!
Lamar Myers
Americus

Put best face forward for visitors
Americus and Sumter County should put on its best face in the next few days as we welcome back hundreds of our friends taking part in “The Ride Home.” This year’s 14th annual event pays tribute to former U.S. prisoners of war and the families of those missing in action.
The respect shown to our service members is of utmost importance. And the economic impact these good men and women bring to our community is phenomenal. Over a 60-hour period, these visitors spend $250,000 while visiting Sumter County.
One-hundred sixty honored guests will be among the crowd of 700 visitors who will visit our county this week, according to event chairman Jim “Moe” Moyer, of Lake Wales, Fla. Moyer says The Ride Home serves as a reminder to all that “We will never forget.” Moyer says the biggest tragedy of war is not losing your life, but “being forgotten. We do all we can to educate the American public.” Moyer calls the 83,000 Americans unaccounted for since the end of World War II in 1945 a terrible tragedy. “The message is … we’re not gonna forget. This is why we do this. We work on it every day.”
National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day is Friday, Sept. 16. In honor of that day,  the National Park Service, the Friends of Andersonville and Georgia Southwestern State University are hosting the 2016 National POW/MIA Convocation on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
The convocation begins that day at 11 a.m. in Convocation Hall of the Student Success Center, or Storm Dome, on the campus of Georgia Southwestern. Other events include a motorcycle ride through
Americus, in which residents and businesses are urged to wave flags and show support, en route to Andersonville. Additional stops also will be made in Andersonville and Plains.
Though geographically weighted toward the Southeast, The Ride Home attracts participants from across the country and beyond. According to Moyer, at least one participant this year is from Thailand.
Visitors from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, New York, Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, California, and all the southeastern states are among those who will attend.
Dozens of crew members from the USS Pueblo will be honored guests this year. The USS Pueblo, a Navy intelligence vessel, was attacked on Jan. 23, 1968, by North Korea. Eighty-three men wer captured. As part of their busy itinerary this week, USS Pueblo members will visit the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site at Plains High School in Plains. Carter was the first sitting president to acknowledge The Ride Home celebration. According to Moyer, President Carter asked Congress for a holiday, but the request was refused. Carter then made it a proclamation in 1978. Since then, all sitting presidents have followed suit. Because Carter was “the originator,” Sumter County is “the logical place” for the event each year, Moyer said.
The Ride Home is open to the public. All are strongly urged to participate countywide, and meet and spend time with a veteran, POW or MIA family member attending.
For more information or a full itinerary, contact Moe Moyer at 863-324- 7268.

Nicole Thurston
Steve Short
Americus-Sumter County Tourism Council Inc.