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Letter: Reflect on what it really means to be American

The American holiday season is back. It’s a time when families reunite and there is a spirit of generosity and compassion in the air. One only needs to go to a supermarket parking lot and watch as the Salvation Army pot fills with donations thanks to the kindness of ordinary people, some of whom are visibly financially stretched but choose to give out of the goodness of their hearts.

With so many worthy causes and charities that represent them, finding the right one to support can be a daunting task. Judging from bumper stickers, a cause dear to many hearts in this neck of the woods is support for veterans, and there is no shortage of fine organizations that serve them — the Wounded Warriors Family Support, the Semper Fi Fund, the Gary Sinise Foundation and so on. Fortunately, it will be easier to make the right choice because, this year, there is one less charity to consider.

In 1988, the Trump Foundation was established in New York to collect money from donors and give that money to charities, including those supporting veterans. The foundation was dissolved in 2016 and fined $2 million last month after an investigation found that donor funds were being used, not for charitable purposes but as a piggybank for the Trump family. Some of the foundation’s “donations” included paying the family’s legal bills and the purchase of a portrait of President Donald Trump that hangs above a bar at one of his clubs.

This holiday season let’s all reflect on what it means to be an American and think about how, as Americans, we can support a president who is so morally bankrupt that he will steal money from the very veterans that we all revere.

— Jeffrey Zalles

Southport

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