A Pennsylvania newspaper has apologized for printing a Memorial Day letter to the editor that called for a "regime change" and the execution of President Obama.

The letter, which appeared in the Daily Item of Sunbury, lamented the fall of Ramadi to ISIS militants in Iraq and criticized Obama's handling the situation.

At the end of the letter, Lewisburg resident W. Richard Stover wrote: "To the families of those fallen heros whose blood lies on the sands of Iraq; don't you think it might be time to rise up against an administration who has adequately demonstrated their gross incompetence?

"I think the appropriate, and politically correct, term is regime change. Forgive me for being blunt, but throughout history this has previously been accompanied by execution by guillotine, firing squad, public hanging.

"I have absolutely no reason to expect that current practice should be any different. The end result is elimination of the problem, the method is superfluous. When society dictates, the end always justifies the means, otherwise the action would not be taken."

The Northumberland County paper's editorial on Thursday said there was "no excuse" for printing the letter.

"The Daily Item apologizes for our failure to catch and remove the inappropriate paragraphs in the letter directed at President Obama," the editorial said. "We will strive to do better in the future."

While name-calling is common, the newspaper wrote, "we should have recognized that the final two metaphorical paragraphs of the Ramadi letter were inescapably an incitement to have the chief executive of our government executed. They should have been deleted."

The letter also referred to the president as "Barack" and called him a "coward-in-chief"

The paper said the letter made it to print simply because no editor flagged the offensive content: "The straight forward reason the letter headlined 'What is a Ramadi?' appeared is no bells went off when the editor handling the letter read it and placed it on the opinion page."

The paper said it had received more than 100 responses to the Ramadi letter. Many of them were posted online Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Our readers and critics have reacted in force, as they should have," Thursday's editorial said. "We accept their judgment and embrace the calls for heightened awareness and a higher standard for civil discourse."

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.
Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillydotcom on Twitter.