Sue Diaz's Aug. 22 Opinion piece "Walking the walk: From fog of war a son emerges a soldier," hit home for me. Though I am not directly involved with the military, Ms. Diaz's recollection of her son Roman's transformation reminded me of a more universal occurrence: change.
I am entering college in the fall, as are many other high school graduates. Parents' own expectations, as well as the desire for independence by their maturing children, can reveal a completely different picture of the parent-child relationship: as Diaz aptly puts it, "not only that the child has grown up, but that the parent finally has, too." Whether it comes through service in the military, or moving into a dormitory, change has the ability to completely alter our perception of those we thought we once knew so intimately.
Diaz's surprise at Roman's dramatic change stemmed from previous experience and knowledge. His story in some ways mirrors my own: I am 16 and moving into a four-year residential college. I hope that what I become will surprise those around me - perhaps as with Roman, they won't even recognize me. However, by walking the walk, we can all accept a little change and emerge into a better future.
The Aug. 26 article "Rural Greyhound passengers get last boarding call" reminded me of the long trip I undertook in December 1979 as a graduate student from India going from Lexington, Ky., to Dade City, Fla., to spend the holidays. Bus travel in India had not prepared me for Greyhound, and I say this with appreciation!
I did much more than sleep my way through. I rode through many "one horse" towns and that was a revelation (despite being OD'd on the TV show Mayberry RFD). Vegetarian food was difficult to get. (How much mashed potatoes and bread can one eat?) Oh, and my baggage was lost and recovered a day later!
Had Dade City been wiped off the Greyhound map in 1979, I would have been much the loser.
By the way, without Greyhound serving rural communities, we would not have had the pleasure of watching Ms. Geraldine Page as Mrs. Carrie Watts in that wonderful movie "Trip to Bountiful."
Reading the Aug. 23 article "Perennial Haitian exodus widens" brought back a rather vivid memory of a trip that I made to Port-Au-Prince in the mid-'50s. I was there with my ship for a weekend liberty for my crew. We had been training at the naval base at Guantánamo after a lengthy navy-yard overhaul and needed the training before returning to the Atlantic fleet.
I had been instructed by my squadron commander to go to the presidential palace and retrieve a movie he had loaned the president during a prior visit. Hence I put on my white uniform and shined my shoes and set off for the palace. When I arrived at the front gate, I rang the bell and in a matter of seconds, I was confronted and, so I thought, menaced by several armed guards. Unable to communicate, it was obvious that a decision had to be made.
Hence, I opted immediately for that action indicated by that old dictum, "discretion is the better part of valor," and I beat a hasty retreat.
I returned to my ship and notified my commodore that I had failed in my mission and that he must make other arrangements to retrieve his movie.
Capt. Lefteris Lavrakas (USN, ret.)
Costa Mesa, Calif.
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