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We respond to letters from our listeners about the horses at Fort Myer, and the newest birth control pill.


Time now for your letters, and most of the mail we received about our interview with medical sociologist, Jean Elson, was critical of her objections to Lybrel, the newly approved drug that stops menstruation. Rebecca Edwards pointed out that it's not historically true that women have always menstruated as much as we do today. In the past, women were mostly pregnant and/or lactating. In the U.S., married women well into the 19th century were pregnant every two years of their adult lives so they were not spending a great deal of time menstruating regularly.

Second, while girls should certainly experience regular periods in order to understand their own personal cycles, as they near 40 year old, done with child bearing, I resent being told that I should still menstruate monthly as some sort of woman power statement. Please, been there, done that, bought the concert t-shirt. I think I am capable of deciding which form of birth control is best for me without being judged less of a woman from my choices in the process.

(Soundbite of trotting horses)

HANSEN: We received many comments about last Sunday's sound portrait of the Old Guard Caisson Platoon at Fort Myer that participates in ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, and several of you wrote in to correct my error. The present tense of the verb describing a ferrier's work is to shoe a horse rides Ara Catch(ph) from South Lebanon, Ohio. Shod is the past tense. A ferreir shoes a horse, that horse is then shod. Your grammar was I'm afraid, shoddy.

On a more positive note, Roger Strands(ph) from Lumberville, Pennsylvania wrote, given that I am ex-Army, I can say that your treatment of the subject was tasteful and eloquent, not only of the horses, but of their occupation. Sometimes tradition, however musty and worn, is a lifeline for those in need. Indeed, tradition gives life to those who have felt it taken away. Perhaps the horses know this, certainly the soldiers of the Old Guard do.

You can write to us by visiting our Web site, npr.org. When you're there, click on the Contact Us link.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.

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