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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Jun 10, 2010

If you want to find a great example of cooperation between business and the Iowa Army National Guard, look no further than the exercise Guard members held Wednesday. The Guard was holding certification training on 105 howitzers in the Estherville Industrial Park. Thanks to an agreement with the Estherville Industrial Development Corporation, space was available for just such an exercise.

The training was to help Guard members show that they knew how to aim the howitzers. Obviously, it was not a life-fire exercise – that will come later, in Camp Ripley – but it was the next thing to it. The training Guard members get right here in Estherville now, and later at Camp Ripley and in Mississippi and California will ready them for a nine-month tour in Afghanistan.

While the EIDC and Guard have a great working relationship, unfortunately, there is something to be desired in the attitude of some employers toward hiring Guard members.

We have heard at least one Guard member remark that a prospective employer was hesitant to hire him because he was in the Guard. When he admitted he was in the Guard, that was basically the end of the interview.

That’s illegal, and it should be. To discriminate in hiring practices because one does not want to hire a member of the Guard or the reserve is not only illegal, it’s unpatriotic. Granted, it can put an employer in a crunch if an employee has to leave for active duty in the Guard or Reserve.

But let’s look at it in a different way.

Wouldn’t it have put employers in a crunch if Americans hadn’t volunteered by the hundreds of thousands right after the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Wouldn’t it have put employers in a crunch if we had ignored pleas from Korea or Vietnam for help?

Wouldn’t it have put employers in a crunch if we had just let Saddam Hussein walk all over Kuwaiti oil fields in the first Gulf War?

And wouldn’t it have put employers in a crunch if no one had signed up for military service after 9-11?

Employers have the freedom to run their businesses and make a profit because of the service of loyal Americans in the Guard and reserve – not despite it.

We wish that every employer who hires Guard and reserve members would put a huge sign in the front window, WE HIRE AND SUPPORT THE GUARD AND RESERVE. And we wish that anyone who ever had a family member serve in the military would patronize those businesses.

It would only make a stronger America for us all.