Letters: Service, Sacrifice, Mao, Etc. Listeners comment on the series about service and sacrifice during war time. Vietnam War veteran Charles Wetter says it's essential that all share the burden of war. Laura Reeve heard an error in the story about the French town Montargis.
NPR logo

Letters: Service, Sacrifice, Mao, Etc.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/11903740/11903741" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Letters: Service, Sacrifice, Mao, Etc.

Letters: Service, Sacrifice, Mao, Etc.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/11903740/11903741" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Time now for your comments.

Many of you responded to our series about service and sacrifice during wartime. The series has featured civilians talking about how they support the troops. It also featured comments from sociologist Charles Moskos.

Mr. CHARLES MOSKOS (Sociologist): What struck me was that the civilian responses were so hypocritical. Oh, it's good that somebody's fighting and dying for us so I don't have to do it myself. I call that patriotism lite - L-I-T-E.

MONTAGNE: That's Charles Moskos. Listener Charles Wetter from Corona, California writes that he's a veteran of the Vietnam War. Quote, "As an old guy in the California National Guard, I made the hard decision to accept an active duty assignment in 2004. There are those who talk the talk, but never walk the walk. It's essential that all share the burden of war in some shape or form."

Laura Reeve heard an error in our story about the French town Montargis, where many of the leaders of China's communist revolution studied. She writes: Although the Chinese and French would love to believe the story of Mao Zedong in France heroically founding the Chinese Communist Party in the 1920s, Mao was never in France with Deng Xiaoping. The young Mao was a true peasant and did not have the financial wherewithal to study abroad.

Listeners also wrote to us regarding my story about a new collection of writing by people who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, part of its series on literature and war. Army contractor Ryan Alexander shared his essay about his friendship with a cat and the death of its kitten.

Mr. RYAN ALEXANDER (Army Contractor): I thought I should say a prayer and bury this poor little thing. But I did for it what will be done for me. I laid it in the burned can amongst the ash and said I'm sorry.

MONTAGNE: Ryan Alexander reading the end of his poem, "The Cat."

Susan Pachuta of Corvallis, Oregon was reminded of a story her father told her about serving in World War II. She writes: As a sailor stationed in the South Pacific, he was often needled by a duck coming around and quacking while he tried to sleep. One day he decided he'd tape the duck's bill and walk it to the other end of the island.

Upon returning, he couldn't sleep because he was worried about the duck and walked all the way back to find it and undo his hasty solution. With Mr. Alexander's writing, I now have another piece of a tiny best of humanity, which may be bigger than we know.

We do love hearing your stories and your comments, so write to us. You can go to NPR.org and click Contact Us.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.