Letters: Obscure Words; Fallen Soldiers

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NPR's Melissa Block reads from listener e-mails about adopting obscure words, and a piece about a memorial service for American soldiers in Afghanistan.


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block, and we're going to read now from your letters.

Unidentified Voices: Me, me. Over here. Yes, yes, me. Hello.

BLOCK: We heard some obscure words on our program yesterday all crying out for good homes. We found them at savethewords.org, that's a website dedicated to preserving old, endangered words such as frutescent and plebicolar. Well, Bruce Hamilton of Portland, Oregon heard their pleas, and he heeded the call.

He writes: Your story inspired me to adopt a word that will get quite a bit of use in our household: pugnastic. As the proud owner of a pug, aptly named Otis, we will now be able to refer to Otis' pugnastic skills that he uses daily to soften his bed.

And Mr. Hamilton concludes: Keep up the great work, ATC. P.S., Otis likes your program, too, since it is what plays near his bed.

On a more serious note, many of you wrote in to thank us for another story on yesterday's program. NPR's Tom Bowman told us about two U.S. soldiers killed recently in a suicide attack in Afghanistan and about how their unit has dealt with the loss.

As part of that story, Tom shared with us the sounds from the young men's memorial service, including this eulogy from Private First Class Jason Cavanaugh, remembering his good friend, Andrew Meari.

Private First Class JASON CAVANAUGH (United States Army): Drew, you were my best friend. You treated me like a brother in arms and a brother in blood. You will be missed dearly and never forgotten. I love you, man. You are my hero.

BLOCK: Noelle Carlson(ph) of Minneapolis writes: As a stay-at-home mom in Minnesota, I often find my focus while listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED to be getting dinner on the table on time. Your poignant piece on these two servicemen served as a powerful reminder of the reality some Americans are facing on my behalf.

With a brother headed to Afghanistan this coming spring, I thank you for highlighting the true cost of a battle fought overseas.

And Andrew Nemathy(ph) of Adamant, Vermont writes: There I was with tears in my eyes trying to see the road as I drove along listening to the story of the two soldiers who died in Afghanistan.

The audio of the service in their memory was one of the most wrenching pieces I have heard. As a vet myself, I wish more Americans understood what immense sacrifice our soldiers and their families are making in a war we seem to have forgotten. This story brought it home.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in, and please do keep those letters coming. You can send them to us at npr.org. Just click on "contact us" at the bottom of the page.

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