Some Americans' Flags Weren't Flying on Special Days of Thanksgiving

Regarding "President's Proclamation: Special Days of Thanksgiving," April 1: It disturbs me greatly that the traditional idea of Thanksgiving should be used for a politically motivated thumping of the chest over a much inferior foe. The Master Christian was very clear on how to deal with one's enemies. This proclamation appears to be nothing more than a group of politicians seeking divine vindication for barbaric human actions. We denounced Saddam Hussein for trying to make the conflict a "holy war"; with this proclamation, has not George Bush done the same?

Richard D. Soul, Vista, Calif.

My flag did not fly on April 5-7, President Bush's proclaimed days of Thanksgiving "for our troops, our families, and our Nation." The world has respected Old Glory as a symbol of the right of the individual to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It should not be flown to celebrate rights for Americans only. The success of American democracy rests in its relentless protection of individual rights. We are constantly refining laws to best protect those rights. Now, our American model must be extended to the rights of all the world's people.

We have entered a global age in which America could be a model of peaceful coexistence. But the recent war has tarnished America's best image. In our military zeal, we forgot that Iraqi citizens are individuals and saw them merely as extensions of one evil dictator.

Instead of National Days of Thanksgiving, we need a time of quiet meditation, a time of creative thought for the restoration of our civilized leadership in the world family. We must find ways to become the hope of the world once again.

Ellen K. Wilson, Los Gatos, Calif.

Anti-Arab racism Regarding the article "US Policy Seen as Backing One-Party Rule in Iraq," March 20: How disgusting and yet revealing to read a Bush administration official saying of the situation in Iraq, "If there's going to be another strongman, we'd prefer a military man over a wild-eyed Islamic type."

A prominent sports announcer was fired for antiblack remarks, and politicians suffer repercussions for anti-Semitic comments, and rightly so. But when will we also stand up to anti-Islamic prejudice and anti-Arab racism? We are one planet, one people; may we forge the mutual respect on which our survival depends.

Mev Puleo, Cambridge, Mass.

One case of Waldorf failure As shown by the article "Network of Waldorf Schools Grows," March 18, many people are quite taken by this system of education.

We chose a Waldorf school for my daughter, and subsequently her younger brother. However, we took both children out of the school for the reason mentioned at the end of the article - the dogma sometimes gets in the way.

I cannot speak of all Waldorf schools, but we listened to stories of emotional and social chaos, excessive yelling, corporal punishment, teacher-generated ethnic jokes and sexist behavior, erosion of self-esteem, and attempts to control the children and classes through humiliation and severe forms of behavior modification. I in no way consider this to be "a great leap forward" but rather a regression.

My children's behavior has had a dramatic transformation since leaving the Waldorf school. I am grateful to our local public school for supporting the values that I struggle to bring to my family.

Let us remember not to judge a book by its cover. Waldorf education may not be what it is made out to be. It certainly wasn't for us.

Marty Webb, Wilton, N.H.

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