AS WE APPROACH the second anniversary of the birth of the Veterans’ Views column (November) I cannot help but reflect on how it all came about when Union Leader Publisher Joe McQuaid and I were sharing a few ideas about veterans’ interests, organizations and concerns when out of nowhere he said, “Would you consider writing your thoughts and suggestions in print on a regular basis?”

His first suggestion was a weekly presentation which blew me out of my chair and I countered with a monthly format and we eventually settled on a bi-monthly agreement (first and third Thursdays). We discussed briefly a compensation package and a deal was struck on a handshake.

It was mutually understood that the column would cover things of interest to veterans, which, in my opinion, is all veterans.

Here are my thoughts and why I feel that all news is veteran-related, interest wise.

I spend a considerable amount of time out and about in the community and have found, to my surprise, that most people like hearing about the not-so-subtle connection with veterans and everyday events and the talking heads, cookie cutter versions.

The shootings

Exhibit A: mass shootings.

Veterans have more than just an interest because we have spent years in training with guns and know and respect their use and potential. My first knee-jerk reaction to breaking news of this nature is that I pray damage is minimal and that it is not military connected (PTSD) which, though far from the norm, does happen.

Once the time and place have been established, will someone please tell me what good comes from showing me dead bodies; fleeing panicked children and adults running for their very lives; grieving parents; the numbers of the dead, wounded and missing? Do we really need to be filled with the horrific details in order to grasp the enormity of the disasters? The answer is a big fat no! All that has taken place is that the sick, depraved whacko loser got what he was seeking — his moment in the sun, his moment of glory. Do we have to see his/her identity revealed? A picture? I do not give a rodent’s rear about his identity. The only thing the irresponsible media coverage of El Paso has accomplished is to have inspired the next smoldering nutcase.


Exhibit B: The gun control rush is on!

Best get out of the way as it is turning into a stampede as both sides of the aisle trip over each other to solve the Second Amendment “problem.”

First, be aware, it will never — I repeat, never — be repealed. Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing by allowing citizens the right to bear arms based on what they knew and could possibly foresee at that time.

Were they right? Ask the citizens of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy of pre- World War II or present day Russia and Iran. Point made.

Is it perfect? Is it working? Not by a long shot (pun intended). They had no way of imagining the weaponry available today but the basic plan in place can and would work if properly implemented.

We do not need 200-round-magazine, rapid-fire rifles available to the public. No hunting permit is issued to shoot 165 deer or 79 squirrels. I have a skunk problem in my neighborhood so I am looking to buy a rocket launcher so I don’t have to get too close and can blow it into the yard next door. I don’t think so.

We just need to update the laws we have and enforce them. It could be done fairly easily if we didn’t need to have politicians involved.

Background checks properly done would do the trick if we can find a way to keep the ACLU out of it and of course have no one from Massachusetts process them. See how easy?


Exhibit C: New Hampshire voting and the effect on veterans (and all residents).

I was a ward deputy registrar for many years and witnessed a number of little things that I felt were stretching the spirit of accuracy, but was always told that things always worked out in the end. I still disagree, but that is long past — but not forgotten.

The issue that I will write about is worth much more than a few lines and undoubtedly changed the face of my (our) state for years to come. Ominous? You be the judge.

First, this is not a reflection on any of our sitting congressional delegates.

Late on the night of our last presidential election I went to sleep with the outcome pretty much settled. I woke up the next day shocked (stunned!) to find that our junior United States incumbent senator had been defeated.

Two years later I still have feelings of disbelief. This person — a powerful, highly respected, squeaky clean representative of our state who was even in the mix for vice president consideration — had lost?! This couldn’t be.

After several hours watching and rewatching the news, the light went on. Guess who had decided the future of our state and denied New Hampshire veterans a powerful advocate? A plethora of temporary residents (domiciles). Is this a great country (state) or what?

End of rant. Sleep well.

Today we have the honor of a visit from the highest elected office holder of our great nation. Regardless of opinions, pro or con of this individual, the office itself demands respect.

May God bless the USA!

Al Heidenreich is past commander of Henry J. Sweeney American Legion Post 2. Write to Al with your questions and comments at