Letters: Medal of Honor Winner, Klan Quilt

Hosts Melissa Block and Michele Norris read from listeners' letters. They correct an error in identifying veteran Tibor Rubin's army unit as well as praise our interview with him. Other comments include on an interview with author Myla Goldberg, a story about a patchwork-quilts display and baseball legend Ozzie Smith's performance of the song "Cupid."

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block.

On Thursday, we read from your letters.

NORRIS: And we'll start with a correction to our interview with Tibor Rubin. The 76-year-old former Army corporal was awarded the Medal of Honor last week by President Bush. Rubin fought valiantly in the Korean War and saved a number of his fellow soldiers on the battlefield and later in a prisoner-of-war camp.

BLOCK: When we introduced Rubin, we incorrectly identified his unit during the war. He was a member of the 8th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division.

NORRIS: Alec Christiansen(ph) of Mililani, Hawaii, wrote in to point out our mistake and to express his appreciation.

BLOCK: `I greatly enjoyed listening to the interview,' he writes. `I am an anthropologist at the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command. We're still working to identify the remains of US soldiers who died in the Battle of Unsan, where Rubin fought, and later in POW camps. I'm always delighted to see any media attention directed at what has rightly been labeled America's forgotten war.'

NORRIS: Kathy Wade of Seminole, Oklahoma, sent praise as well.

BLOCK: `Michele Norris did a wonderfully sensitive interview with this great gentleman. His candor, humor and humility caused me to reach for a couple of tissues on my ride home from work. Bravo to this gentleman for being an unsung hero for so long.'

NORRIS: Historian Michael Smith of Ithaca, New York, writes to compliment our story about the quilts on display in a museum in Washington state. Some of them have very interesting stories, including one that was made from the masks and robes of member of the KKK. Mr. Smith writes, `I often cringe at the shallow understanding of history and historical interpretation promulgated in the media. Your story focused on the challenges of studying the past and appropriately showed that there are rarely definitive answers to historical questions. And John Finley's observation about the incomplete nature of the historical record and the challenge that poses to interpreting the past was a true gift to your listeners.'

BLOCK: Author Myla Goldberg spent quite a bit of time sifting through the historical record for her new novel called "Wickett's Remedy." It's set during the flu epidemic of 1918. I spoke with Myla Goldberg about the book and the research she did to write.

NORRIS: `I pulled over and parked to fully enjoy this amazing use of the public airwaves,' writes Jerry Kaufhold of Kearny, Arizona. `Myla's stories about haunting the stacks of the New York Public Library, her discovery of the manila folder wrapped in string containing old newspaper clips and her lilting voice reading excerpts was a major treat. Thank you very, very much.'

(Soundbite of "Cupid")

Mr. OZZIE SMITH (Hall of Famer): (Singing) Cupid, draw back your bow...

BLOCK: We kid you not, that is baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith singing the old Sam Cooke tune "Cupid." It's a track on the CD "Oh Say Can You Sing" that we featured on the program earlier this week.

NORRIS: `What a treat to hear Ozzie Smith,' wrote Ellen Ryan of Rocky Point, New York. `Not only does he have a crystal-clear voice and a sweet delivery, but his pitch is dead-on. He does not have a recording career, but he should.'

BLOCK: We want to know what you think. Write to us. Go to our Web site, npr.org, click on the Contact Us button.

NORRIS: And please tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name.

(Soundbite of "Cupid")

Mr. SMITH: (Singing) ...and let your arrow go straight to my lover's heart for me, nobody but me. Cupid, please hear my cry and let your arrow fly straight to...

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