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Freedoms can disappear in a hurry if we aren't careful
Those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity.

I lived in Austria under Adolf Hitler's regime for seven years. Dictatorship did not happen overnight. It was a gradual process starting with national identification cards, which we had to carry with us at all times.

We could not board a bus or train without our ID card. Gun registration followed, with a lot of talk about gun safety and hunting accidents. Since the government already knew who owned firearms, confiscation followed under threat of capital punishment.

Freedom of speech was the next target. Free speech was curtailed with the enforcement of the federal police (Gestapo). With a large network of informers, people were afraid to say anything political, even in their own homes.

The liberal mindset in America has promoted gun control for a long time and is beginning to advocate national identification cards.

Law-abiding American citizens should not have to carry national identification cards. Aliens and non-citizens should be required to carry ID cards. Even their driver's licenses should be different than a citizen's driver's license.

Our government also needs to take strong measures against illegal aliens and tightly close our borders to protect American citizens.

Even though we are in a state of war, we have to protect our civil liberties. While some people need power to secure our freedom, we must be ever-vigilant to maintain a system of checks and balances.

I am sorely disappointed with France and Germany. If it was not for the United States, the French would be speaking German today. And if our troops had not protected Germany, Russian tanks would have rolled all the way to the Rhine River.

How ungrateful those nations are. We have to stand by our country and our troops. I am grateful that our troops are protecting freedom.

America is the greatest country in the world. After America, there is no place to run.

Kitty Werthmann
Kitty Werthmann 
For the Argus Leader 
published: 3/11/2003
Kitty Werthmann, 77, of Pierre, is president of the South Dakota Eagle Forum. She lobbies the state Legislature on family issues. She has lived in the United States since 1950 and has been a U.S. citizen since 1962.
'It dawned on me. It's freedom' 
Kitty Werthmann tells this story of her arrival in the United States: 
"I was processed in New York. I stayed in a hotel the first night, and the next morning asked the concierge for directions to the nearest police station. I asked if it was in walking distance, and it was.

"I walked in and told the desk sergeant I wanted to register. He said,'What are you talking about?' I said I wanted to register, so they'd know where I was. How would they find me if I broke the law? He said don't worry, they'd find me. And then he said, 'Lady, get the hell out of here.'

"I walked outside and it was a January day with a blue sky.

"I looked up and said, 'What kind of country is this?' All of a sudden it dawned on me. It's freedom."

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