In the hearts of our former POWs, we find unparalleled courage, loyalty, and allegiance to America. In their hearts, we find an unyielding faith in the democratic ideals of America. America's former POWs are among our nation's most revered heroes. They served with dignity and honor under the worst of human conditions — starvation, isolation, torture and the ever-present threat of death. Yet even during their darkest hour, they demonstrated remarkable personal courage and unwavering devotion to family and country. Their strength is a testament to the American character. In their hearts, we find the indomitable spirit that is America, and all we can offer from our own hearts is our gratitude and our commitment to honor their families and recognize their service and sacrifice.

Because of their sacrifice, and the selflessness and heroism of all who have served in our Armed Forces, millions now live in freedom, and America remains the greatest force for good on earth.

Not all Maryland's former POWs are enrolled in VA health care. They may be experiencing health care issues related to the deprivation they suffered as POWs but may not realize the connection. Clinicians at the VA Maryland Health Care System are trained to connect the dots, and we encourage all former POWs to enroll for VA health care, a benefit they earned and well deserve, by going to http://www.maryland.va.gov and clicking on the blue "Become a Patient" button.

Dennis H. Smith, director


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VA Maryland Health Care System

Baltimore County NAACP wants you to register and then vote Nov. 6

The Baltimore County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People makes this special appeal to eligible citizens of Maryland and Baltimore County to become registered voters and to participate in the forthcoming Nov. 6 elections. Important national and state issues will be decided.

Fortunate are registered voters in Maryland who are poised to cast ballots on Nov. 6 that will affect state and national issues.

Congratulations to those who take seriously their civic responsibilities as members of the electorate.

Recently, and even now, American blood and treasury have been spent in foreign lands helping to bring the opportunity to cast the ballot by their people, in choosing their form of government, deciding on their leaders, and shaping their futures.

Yet too many American citizens in our state seem to place little value on the right and the exercising of that right in protecting and advancing their own interests.

This letter is especially addressed to our fellow citizens who could be, but are not, participating in the electoral process. Why do you think those who seek power are spending a record amount of money on media advertisements in an effort to influence the electoral outcomes in their favor?

If the opportunity is missed to become a registered voter, become informed on the issues and candidates, and cast a ballot during this forthcoming election, then grin and bear the results.

Becoming a registered voter in Maryland is easy. Contact your local board of elections. Registering to vote may be done by mail or in person. The close of registration is Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 9 p.m. for this coming general election.

The Baltimore Branch, as a unit of the NAACP, is a non-partisan organization and does not support any particular candidate or political party. However, this does not mean the branch will take a back seat in urging the exercising of the right to vote as a means of gaining equality and equal opportunities.

The Baltimore County Branch views these elections to be of vital interest to the African-American community and, indeed, to our entire state and nation.

Vote for the candidate(s) of your choosing. Vote early and urge your family members, friends, and neighbors to vote.

Patricia Cook Ferguson, president,

Herbert Lindsey, committee chairman,

Baltimore County Branch

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People