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U.S. should have kept Elian

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Last year on Thanksgiving Day, Elian Gonzalez, a 6-year-old Cuban boy, was rescued by fishermen off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He had spent two days clinging to an old inner tube. His mother and 10 other Cubans drowned as their boat capsized somewhere in the Florida Straits in a vain attempt to reach America.

Elian was taken ashore and placed in the temporary custody of loving relatives in Miami. Recently, our government sent him back to Cuba in the name of non-existent parental rights.

The only dissenting voices I heard to this decision came from south Florida, the voices of those who had placed their lives in jeopardy by fleeing the horrors of a communist dictatorship, the voices of those who had left everything, yet nothing, behind and cast themselves into the sea upon anything that would float, in the hope of reaching America.

Like Elian's mother, many of them failed in their attempt; but those who survived, those who raised their voices in protest, understand that freedom has its costs. The echoes of their protests should have penetrated the ears and hearts of every freedom-loving American.

I fear that easy living and the pursuit of pleasures and wealth have robbed us of the fires of freedom that should be burning in the gut of every American.

Something has been lost, and we need to find it.

Last November Elian Gonzalez won the lottery. And now our government canceled the winning ticket.

David N. Brockbank