Letters: Gen. James Amos; National Book Award Mix-Up

Michele Norris and Melissa Block read emails from listeners.

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It's time now for your letters. Last week, I spoke with General James Amos, who became commandant of the Marine Corps one year ago. During our conversation, I asked him about the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell that went into effect last month. In particular, what he thinks about a gay Marine who's told us he plans to take a date to the Marine Corps Ball.

JAMES AMOS: I'm fine with it. I expect it to happen and I expect it to happen across the Marine Corps. And, I mean, that's just part of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I mean, that's part of it. You can't go halfway. You can't say, we're going to repeal it and you can now become public, but I'm going to restrict your behavior. We're not going to do business that way.

BLOCK: Well, his response impressed Melissa Dickard of Denver. She writes this: General Amos presented an incredibly honorable response to the repeal and I felt tremendous respect for both him and our servicemen and women listening to him describe the Marines' acceptance of the policy change. The ability to stand up for the rights of someone that you may not agree with is a fundamental moral strength of the United States.


Also, last week, we heard from author Lauren Myracle about her book, "Shine." It was a finalist for the National Book Award, but her nomination was actually meant for a book called, "Chime." After Myracle was told of the mix-up, she was also asked to withdraw. She told Melissa how she felt when she heard the bad news.

LAUREN MYRACLE: You know, I went from exaltation to devastation and then pulled myself up and put on my big girl panties and say: You know what, they want me off? You got it.

BLOCK: Diane Tabachnick of Waterbury, Vermont writes this: I can only stand in awe of Ms. Myracle's integrity and humility in responding as she did. No matter what happens with her book, she may rest assured that she has set a beautiful example of what it means to be a mensch in a world in which they are few and far between.

NORRIS: Please keep your letters coming. You can write to us at npr.org. Just click on Contact Us.



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