The president visited Riga, Latvia, my birth town, where for two centuries many of my ancestors were born, lived and were buried.
The three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, had regained a weak independence after the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Weak, because the European countries were too timid to let them into NATO or the European Union. Shortly after entering the White House, President Bush reversed the course of the previous administration and opened the door and thus gave safety from the Russian behemoth.
The president continued a policy begun under Czar Peter the Great 300 years ago -- to use the Baltic States to shine light into Russia and wean it off its murderous ways. The tiny Baltic states, now independent, show all Russians that democracy is the way for a better future.
I am proud to have become an American citizen, a country that gives freedom to little countries smaller than an average California county -- even though there is no oil or other resource. It was the right thing to do. I thank George W. Bush.