Letters to the Editor

Educate by example

A recent letter (Letters, July 23) proposed raising the legal drinking and smoking age to 25 for lack of complete brain development.

It reminded me of the time when, in the military, I was being transferred and was waiting at a New Jersey airport for a flight connection.

It was a hot August day, and I was thirsting for a cold beer. Sitting at the airport bar, the bartender asked me, “How old are you sonny?”

“Eighteen,” I answered proudly, happy that the bartender had taken an interest in me and my U.S. Air Force uniform.

“Come back when you are 21,” he responded curtly.

I was crushed. Here I was, old enough to serve my adopted country, ready to die for the same, but not old enough to have a thirst-quenching beer. What a country! The solution to drinking and smoking problems is not extending the age limit, incarceration or decapitation, for that matter. It is education by example.

Since I was a child, my father would color my glass of water at mealtime with a few drops of wine. I grew up knowing that alcohol is just a beverage, not a prohibited fruit to be coveted.