From Our Listeners

Letters: Soldiers' Burn Unit, and a Snake

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Each Thursday, we read from listeners' e-mails. We've received many letters about our recent stories on the Brooke Army Medical Center, where burned soldiers are treated. Several of those comments come from people whose family members were treated at the burn center. On the lighter side, we'll also hear a limerick inspired by our story about a python.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.


And I'm Robert Siegel.

Each Thursday we read from your emails.

NORRIS: Our inbox has been packed with comments about Melissa Block's stories on Brooke Army Medical Center, or BAMC. That's the Defense Department's only facility for treating burns. It's been receiving a lot of patients from Iraq.

SIEGEL: From San Antonio, Texas, Alesha Adamson writes, "In April, 2005, my baby brother, Corporal Tyler Joe Dickens of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, was admitted to BAMC. He sustained burns to 80 percent of his body while serving in Iraq." Adamson says she set off from Portland, Oregon, to drive to Texas to see her brother in the hospital.

NORRIS: She continues, "I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when I received the news that he had passed away. Your story is the closest thing I have to being in the burn ward with my beautiful, courageous brother. I'm experiencing a very complicated gratitude."

SIEGEL: And Matt Percival in Washington, D.C., was surprised to hear about Sergeant Joe Fowler, now an outpatient at BAMC. He writes, "My nephew, Private 1st Class Jason Erhart(ph), was in the Humvee with Joe Fowler. Like Joe, he suffered burns to 60 percent of his body and was a patient at BAMC for three months. Your story brought back everything - the sweat, the tears, the wondering, the hoping, and the surreal experience of flying a C-17 from Germany to San Antonio alongside soldiers barely clinging to life."

NORRIS: Percival adds that his nephew is now doing well. He's in therapy and getting care for his wounds five to six hours a day.

SIEGEL: Yesterday's installment of Laura Sullivan's series on solitary confinement has brought in some comments.

NORRIS: Listener Diane Brumberg(ph) was impressed. She writes, "Sullivan gave an in-depth look at a situation people on the outside know very little about. Both sides of the issue were convincingly argued, showing that there is no easy answer to the problems in our prisons."

SIEGEL: James Forkens(ph) of Chicago felt otherwise. He writes, "Why are you wasting your time on the rigors of isolation for prisoners. Choices, it's all about choices, those made before incarceration and those made during. What's the reason for this naked plea for what, sympathy? Certainly not empathy."

NORRIS: To lighter topics now, a couple of listeners were inspired by our story about a python that ate not just his allotted rabbit, but an electric blanket as well. Fred and Sherry Reams(ph) in Madison, Wisconsin, composed this limerick about the python.

SIEGEL: There once was a python, Houdini. The blanket he ate was a Queen. He thought it a rabbit. He shouldn't have had it. The bill from the vet was not teeny.

NORRIS: Finally, our story about the missing Rs in Greencastle, Indiana, caught the ear of at least one listener. Rs from store signs were stolen, apparently by some teenagers.

(Soundbite of They Might Be Giants)

Mr. JOHN FLANSBURGH (They Might Be Giants): (Singing) On this fateful day, in the history of whenever, an epidemic of missing letters has swept the land.

SIEGEL: Carl Worth(ph) of Wilsonville, Oregon, drew our attention to The Alphabet Lost and Found, from an album for kids by the band They Might Be Giants. He writes, "It whimsically describes almost the exact situation as the Indiana story."

(Soundbite of They Might Be Giants)

Mr. FLANSBURGH: (Singing) But the car had lost its R in a pothole on a street that lost its E when the garbage collector with a missing -

NORRIS: As you can see, we set a high bar for songs and poems, but at the very least send us your comments. You can email us by going to the website,, and clicking Contact Us at the top of the page.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from