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FOUR men weighed in on the trumped-up

controversy of calling the NFL team in Washington the Redskins: the four surviving members of the Navajo Code Talkers who along with speakers of five other languages (Basque, Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche and Meskawi) helped win World War II by communicating military messages that enemy code-breakers could not crack.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder brought them to a game and they proudly wore team blankets — as well as their red and gold trimmed Marine side caps.

"We didn't have that in mind but that is undoubtedly what we did do," Roy Hawthorne said when asked if he was intending to send a statement with the appearance. "My opinion is that's a name that not only the team should keep, but that's a name that's American."

Of course they are proud of the name. It honors them.

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AUSTIN "Gus" Deeds, 24, stabbed his father and then shot and killed himself on Nov. 19. Now his father, Creigh Deeds, a state senator and former Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia, wants to make some good come from this tragic event.

The son suffered mental illness and had been released from a psychiatric unit the day before the stabbing and shooting. Deeds plans to use this experience to push for better help for mentally ill patients.

"I hope we can make a positive change as a result of this tragedy," Deeds told The Recorder of Monterey, Va.

"I think there may be a bigger problem here. I am alive for a reason, and I will work for change. I owe that to my precious son."

A recurring theme in tragic multiple shootings over the past decade is that the perpetrator had a mental illness. While very few mentally ill people are mad gunmen, better treatment of mental illness would do more to reduce gun deaths than any additional gun control legislation.

Deeds takes up a cause in Virginia that the West Virginia Legislature and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin should rally around.

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SEVENTY-TWO years ago today, the Japanese air force unleashed an unprovoked sneak attack on Pearl Harbor — "a date which will live in infamy," President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared.

The nation entered World War II with a resolve to win unconditional surrenders of Japan, Germany and Italy. The world owes a debt of gratitude to those brave men who fought and the heroes who died for freedom.

America needs to relearn the lesson of casting aside partisanship of working together.


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