Letters: Woodstock And 'Who Is An American?' Host Liane Hansen reads letters from listeners reacting to the foreclosure crisis, the newly opened Woodstock Museum and our recent series on "Who Is an American?"
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Letters: Woodstock And 'Who Is An American?'

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Letters: Woodstock And 'Who Is An American?'

Letters: Woodstock And 'Who Is An American?'

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Time now for your letters. Throughout the month of July we asked the question, who is an American? Last week we spoke with Chet Brooks a member of the Lenni- Lenape tribe, and his words resonated deeply with many of you. Ruth Baker(ph) of Bellingham, Washington, had this to say. "Please relay my thanks to Chet Brooks for his comments and thoughts on what is an American? Throughout the piece I was commenting to my family, why doesn't someone say an American is someone who lives in North and South America? I was relieved that you finished the piece with Chet Brooks and his logical, commonsense remarks. Please tell him thank you for his contribution, and thank you for including him."

And Peter Barbonas(ph) of Baltimore, Maryland, says that he is so passionate about being an American that he's etched it into his skin.

Mr. PETER BARBANAS (Resident of Baltimore, Maryland): I have a tattoo of Ronald Reagan on my right bicep, and on my left bicep I have one of Jim Kelly who is best known for playing the title character in the film "Black Belt Jones." When people ask me why, I explain to them that we are all Americans and that only America could produce two such seemingly different icons. And this is the reason why I am proud to be an American.

HANSEN: Listener, Carol Ann Raile(ph) of Topeka, Kansas, wasn't sympathetic when she heard our segment about the housing crisis and the skyrocketing number of foreclosures. "What about those people who never could afford their mortgages, those who lied about their incomes or being employed at all? I mean, really, how many people over the ages have loaned money without checking out if the person getting the loan can pay it or not? Don't ask me today who is an American? I'll answer, a bunch of suckers."

And finally, Christopher Wood of Scituate, Massachusetts, wasn't feeling the music when he heard NPR's Robert Smith's story about the Woodstock Museum. "NPR's programming reflects the platinum level of news broadcasting. So it's with sadness that I question the agenda of the reporter and his predetermined attitude. One does not have to feel old because memorabilia is being housed in a museum. Perhaps if the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts was called a newseum, the media would see its timely relevancy. My 16-year-old daughter was stunned by the reporter attaching age to a museum. People are simply interested in places and events relevant to their interests.

Regardless of your age or whether you were at Woodstock, please write to us. Just go to npr.org and click on the link that says "Contact Us." And if you want to see Peter Barbonas' Reagan and "Black Belt Jones" tattoos for yourself then go to npr.org/soapbox.

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