Letters: More Remarkable Lives Lost In 2010

Talk of the Nation listeners wrote to the show to share their memories of remarkable people who died in 2010. Also, listeners elaborated on the problems young people face in coming years, in light of education costs and the slow economy.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your emails and Web comments. We talked last week about the VA, the Department of Veterans Affairs and whether it's changing to meet the needs of a new generation of veterans. In the promo for that program, we mistakenly referred to the Veterans Administration.

Andrea Zirker(ph) of Lawrence, Kansas wrote to correct the record: On March 15, 1989, President George H.W. Bush elevated the Veterans Administration to Cabinet status and created the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There has not been an entity called Veterans Administration since then. And thanks for the correction.

We ended the year with a conversation about some of the challenges facing young people in 2011. There are signs of improvement in the economy. Many new graduates told us they don't see it: Since graduating college, I served in the Peace Corps and then AmeriCorps and I'm now getting a master's in education. More and more, I'm going into massive debt. A teacher's salary doesn't seem like the smartest idea, but I feel strongly about public service. I wish I knew the right way to balance my idealism and financial commitments. That from Andy Shield(ph).

Another listener in Oregon found work half a world away: I'm six months out of university and moving to China. I have two part-time jobs in Portland, but I shudder when I see my friends working 60 hours a week. I'll have some fun and work in another country that can give me a full-time position.

Each December, we take time to remember some of those we lost in the past year but who do not get the recognition they might have deserved. Don Awdio(ph) emailed from Michigan to recall my longtime dentist's wife, Geraldine Doyle, the inspirational face behind the Rosie the Riveter campaign in World War II. Mrs. Doyle, as I knew her, had a lot of Rosie the Riveter pics in the office where she worked. Ironically, she only worked at the Westinghouse plant, where she was photographed, for a few weeks because she was also a musician and was afraid she'd damage her hands on the line.

Another remembrance from Beatrice(ph): My Tia Beatrice, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, born in Mexico and came to the U.S. in her early 20s. She was an inspiration to us all. Volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in South America and in her San Leandro community that loved and admired her. Thank you for this moment of remembrance.

And finally, Bonnie(ph) wrote to tell us about a man she did not know by name. She wrote: I like to remember the can man of Marietta, Ohio. He would collect cans from the roadside, trash in people's porches, where they would leave them for him. And he did it with dignity and without complaint. I would see him all over town, working hard and with people helping him out. I miss that nearly daily reminder of the kindness of folks.

You can read about many of the people we remembered on that program and listen to any other shows you might have missed. Just go to npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION. We're on Twitter. You can follow me there: @nealconan - all one word. And as always, if you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. That address: talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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