Regarding the May 26 article, "With war on, Americans have troops in mind": Overwhelming pride, sadness, and gratitude surround me on Memorial Day. My family has had a presence in the military in every generation, and my family members have given of themselves for the preservation of the freedom we all enjoy and often take for granted.
It saddens me to see that it takes such tragedy as war to bring people together to honor our veterans. The oldest to the youngest of our veterans deserves our gratitude and respect for their service. Any spouse, parent, or child of a veteran knows how special his or her "vet" is, and I am encouraged that in the public sector we are seeing increased respect for our veterans.
For the past 12 years, my husband and I have been going to "Rolling Thunder" in Washington, D.C. It is the annual Memorial Day motorcycle rally that was started to honor Vietnam veterans, who, as most of us know, were not welcomed home as heroes. "Rolling Thunder" is now recognized as an event honoring all veterans.
Let us all honor and respect our vets and remember that they need our support during their service and after they come home. For them, the horrors of war never really go away. The sights, sounds, and smells of war are not erased simply by changing location.
West Warwick, R.I.
Regarding the May 30 article, "Levee progress report: much done, more to do": The people of New Orleans should be reminded that they live below sea level in an area that annually gets hit with hurricanes, and every decade or two is hit with a big one.
The answer for New Orleanians is not technology. The answer is for people to accept personal responsibility for where they live. It's their choice, and they should accept the risk or move. Some people in New Orleans lived in homes that had flooded before. They chose to stay. Sooner or later, another storm will hit that exceeds the levees' capabilities. US taxpayers can't bail New Orleans out again when the next big one hits.
I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It gets cold in the winter, and it snows. I don't ask the taxpayer to pay for shoveling my roof and for the heat bill. I choose to live here and am willing to accept it when it gets to be 40 degrees below zero or when it snows three feet. New Orleanians live where it's warm and sunny most of the year, and they should accept the risk of storms.
In response to the May 30 article, "The gator cops": I am a Florida resident who sees people overreacting to alligators that are moving around at this time of year because it is mating season. Developers fill in the Everglades for profit and displace native wildlife, and people are surprised that animals that were here first are able to survive, in spite of human meddling. Alligator holes provide water in the dry season for up to 24 different species of animals. Can you imagine the terror of the alligator that finds itself trussed, duct-taped, and desperately trying to escape from the back of a pickup truck?
Come on, Florida, there has to be a way for us to live with our displaced, wild neighbors. Stop feeding alligators your lunch and wanting to get up close to them to take their picture. Such behavior dissipates the alligators' fear of people. Perhaps we can stop filling in the Everglades and, instead, start renewing the urban areas that have been abandoned. There is nothing heroic about killing native wildlife.
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