Many of you responded to our series about service and sacrifice during war time. The series featured civilians talking about how they support the troops. It also featured comments from sociologist Charles Moskos: "What struck me was that the civilian responses were so hypocritical: 'Oh it's good that somebody's fighting and dieing for us so I don't have to do it myself.' I call that patriotism lite – L-I-T-E."
Listener John Owen of Annapolis, Maryland, writes: "Sacrifice is something that is being done on our behalf by our men and women in uniform. Is it any wonder then that while well-meaning people say they support the troops, most of them have no idea how to tangibly and meaningfully do it?"
Charles Wetter, a veteran of the Vietnam War from Corona, California, had this to say: "As an 'old guy' in the California National Guard, I made the hard decision to accept an active duty assignment in 2004. There are those who talk the talk, but never walk the walk. It is essential that all share the burden of war in some shape or form."
Laura Reeve heard an error in our story about the French town Montargis, where many of the leaders of China's Communist revolution studied. She writes: "Although the Chinese and French would love to believe the story of Mao Zedong in France heroically founding the Chinese Communist party in the 1920s, Mao was never in France with Den Xiaoping. The young Mao was a true peasant and did not have the financial wherewithal to study abroad."
Listeners also wrote to us regarding my story about a new collection of writing, by people who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army contractor Ryan Alexander shared his essay about his friendship with a cat and the death of its kitten: "I thought I should say a prayer and bury this poor little thing. But I did for it what will be done for me. I laid it in the burn can amongst the ash and said I'm sorry."
Susan Pachuta of Corvallis, Oregon, was reminded of a story her father told her about serving in World War II. She writes: "As a sailor stationed in the South Pacific, he was often needled by a duck, coming around and quacking while he tried to sleep! One day, he decided he'd tape the duck's bill and walk it to the other end of the island. Upon returning, he couldn't sleep because he was worried about the duck and walked all the way back to find it and undo his hasty solution! With Mr. Alexander's writing, I now have another sweet story, another piece of a tiny 'best of humanity,' which may be bigger than we know."
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