Free choice on childhood school vaccinations urged

Published 11:44am Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dear Editor:

Below is a letter submitted to the House Health Committee in support of House Bill 1420, Mississippi Parents Vaccine Rights.

To whom it may concern,

I am a proud Mississippian currently serving in the “World Largest Nuclear Navy.” I have deployed eight times throughout my thus-far 15-year career in the Navy. I intend to proudly serve the Navy for another eight years and ultimately retire. I willingly go into harm’s way to defend the freedoms of this, our great nation. I do so knowing with each passing deployment that there is a true potential that I may not return home to my family and love ones.

Why state this, you might ask? I perform this duty so that our civil liberties might be preserved. Civil liberties such as voting, the very liberty that resulted in your election to the prestigious position you now hold. That the will of the people might be represented by you, their elected officials, that they may be heard.

The great general, Robert E. Lee, once stated: “In all things, do your duty. You can do no more; you should wish to do no less.” Regardless of your personal opinion of the Confederate general you can value the wisdom of his words. So much so, it is the very value I try to instill in those that I have the great pleasure serve alongside.

It is my desire, Lord willing, that after my retirement I may return home to live on the land that is my inheritance in Ruth. However, through diligent research and thoughtful prayer, it has been mine and my wife’s choice not to vaccinate our children, and could potentially quell these desires.

Having graduated from Enterprise High School, I put great value on the interaction and social development that one can only achieve through the public education system. It has been these life skills that have served me well in my service in the Navy. It has taught me how to communicate with my fellow man; how these diverse qualities enrich our Navy.

Currently, by law, my children will not be able to benefit from or capitalize on these essential life skills. Not if we were fulfill my desires to return to Mississippi after retirement. That is unless you, the people’s voice in our government, decide to propose House Bill 1420 to the House floor.

I implore you to abide by Gen. Lee’s counsel, “Do your duty.” If, at the end of the day, you have done so and the bill does not pass, you have done your due diligence. The great populace of Mississippi could ask you to do no more, nor wish that you do any less.

I beseech to you think of all those Mississippians who have bled and died to preserve these just liberties before silencing the voice of the masses. Please, do not allow their pleas to fall upon deaf ears. Give the good people of Mississippi the choice to do what they believe is best for their children without the influence of government.

Proudly serving you and OUR Nation,

Chief Petty Officer Joshua R. Laird

United States Navy, Active