• 82°

Goodbye Atmore, hello Washington, D.C.

By By Tray Smith
This month, critics of the war in Iraq will lead their cause to either a crescendo or a gutter as they respond to General Patereus's report on the successes and failures of the ongoing "surge" strategy. The wide-open race for the Republican nomination will grow even wider with Fred Thompson's entrance into the race. A new attorney general will be chosen to replace Alberto Gonzales. A show down over spending will likely occur between the White House and Congress.
During these exciting moments in our nation's history, I will be able to observe events first-hand, from the sidelines, in our nation's capital as I carry out my duties as a page. Unfortunately, I will not be able to write about these experiences in the Atmore Advance. After more than two years of writing my weekly opinions on this page, I must temporarily step aside in order to fulfill my duties in the Congressional Page Program. However, in January, I will return to this post full of stories about the experiences I have encountered and the individuals I have met.
I hope that while I am away, you Bottom Line readers, will email me and check in from time to time using the address printed at the end of this article. As amazing as Washington, D.C. is, there is no place like home, and nothing makes my day like hearing from a fellow Atmore resident. Furthermore, because of the strict press regulations confining employees of the U.S. House, these emails are the simplest way for me to have meaningful communication. They are also an effective way for me to stay abreast of the news in Atmore.
I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to my upcoming adventure, starting with United States congressmen Jo Bonner, especially including my parents and grandmother, and extending to all of those who have fostered my intellectual development and spurred my political interest in my classrooms, workplaces, sanctuaries, campaign effort and home. I would also like to thank all of the members of the Advance staff, including Adam Prestridge and Adrienne McKenzie, who give me the opportunity to write this column every week and take their time editing it. I will miss this weekly responsibly greatly, but I will return later in the winter with interesting content materials to share with you.
I cannot conclude without mentioning all of my friends and family members who have supported me so consistently throughout the years and now, I love each of them dearly. I will miss them while I am in Washington, but I will be home to visit during holidays. Finally, I would like to thank God for the fulfilling plan he has given me, and I hope you will pray for me while I am acting out his will.
Starting next week, these inches will be field with political opinions coming from a slightly different perspective, however, I hope the change will inspire a constructive political debate on this page. I look forward to responding to all of my successor's points when I come home.
That is the bottom line.
Tray Smith is the vice president of the Escambia County High School Student Government Association, where he is also a junior. In September, he will begin serving as a page in the United States House of Representatives. He can be reached at tsmith_90@ hotmail.com.