Our Viewpoint: Emotions become fierce resolve

Hearing Friday morning that the Department of Defense wants to close Cannon Air Force Base after nearly 60 years as a premier training base was shocking, knock-your-breath-out-of-you news.
That was Friday. Today, the emotions have evolved into a fierce resolve to keep Cannon open because it is in America’s best security interests.
We believe in the coming months that local and state efforts will show the Doubting Thomases of the Air Force and the Department of Defense who made this decision that they did not evaluate Cannon fully or fairly.
That process formally starts Monday morning with a community rally in Clovis. Roosevelt and Curry County residents, and all our friends and neighbors in adjacent New Mexico and Texas counties, are urged to attend. The event begins at 9 a.m. at the Clovis-Carver Public Library.
We don’t yet know for certain that putting Cannon on the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) list was an honest mistake. Some, including us, suspect changes were made to switch a base or two to defuse congressional pressures elsewhere, so that senior Air Force leaders might protect or grow budgets for their pet equipment projects despite skyrocketing costs and unproven results.
Whatever the evidence, it is sure to turn up in the next few months.
Today, though, that is not our main focus. The goal is to convince five or more BRAC Commission members that Cannon’s military value is so strong they strike it from the closure list. We believe that is possible when the commission votes in September, after having seen the correct data for Cannon.
This is where you come in. To create this opportunity, your help is vital. We want to see and hear from a boisterous and aggressive crowd of Cannon supporters at Monday’s rally to save Cannon. Your voices will encourage Gov. Bill Richardson and others to stay the course, to fight as hard as Cannon foes have.
No matter whether you live in Portales, Clovis, Elida or Grady or Amarillo or Muleshoe, we hope to see you at the library.
By rallying, you are telling America you support everyone’s freedoms. Sure, everyone’s worried about the base’s annual economic impact on Curry and Roosevelt counties of an estimated $202 million and several thousand jobs. Those are worrisome numbers, no doubt. But the bigger reason we want you at the rally is because we instinctively know that our grown child, Cannon Air Force Base, and its pilots help make the United States safer when they train at a premier base with the least danger possible to the pilot or residents he flies over in times when something goes awry in the air.
We’ll see you at the Clovis library.