Like our son, Staff Sgt. Louis Bonacasa, who was recently killed in Afghanistan, we love this country [“Husband, father, soldier,” News, Jan. 3].

At our son’s funeral, we saw an America in unity that we had not seen before Sept. 11, and it was an overwhelming blessing. Our community, including children, police officers, firefighters and veterans with flags saluting our Louie, taught us that there are people with hearts greater than we ever imagined. Our military honored Louie more than we can express in words.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) invited our daughter-in-law to the State of the Union address in Washington. At her insistence, we became part of that invitation.

However, in his Jan. 12 address, President Barack Obama did not recognize the six U.S. soldiers who were killed by a suicide bomber on Dec. 21, including our son. Their deaths were fresh in our hearts as we sat in the audience. We were extremely disappointed and angered.

The president referred to “political hot air” and “rhetoric about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker.” Our son was killed by this enemy, which is not only getting stronger, but also has infiltrated the United States and is killing Americans. We are not taking the lead in defeating this enemy; rather our strategy is to lead from behind.

Reprimanding those who call our enemies what they are, and failing to recognize the families who are hurting from the loss of loved ones, seems unprecedented for a president.

During his address, Obama mentioned that we spend more on our military than eight nations combined. However, our son explained that because of budget cuts, the military was shutting down mess halls and he asked us to send him real food. Although our son was a soldier with a gun, he was restricted to using a paintball gun when local civilian youth threw rocks in his direction. This undermines the authority of our soldiers.

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We hope that the next president will not continue in the same direction.

Vincent and Diana Bonacasa, Manorville