I imagine seeing him on the golf course when my husband plays. My father would be thrilled to know that his granddaughters golf. I have the rosary beads he held each night when praying. Now, I pray for him when holding them. I have his dog tags and a journal from when he was in the Navy. I also have the flag that draped his coffin. In other words, I have every little piece of him I can find in order to feel connected.
Had I known that a fatal heart attack would take him, I would have hugged him and never let go. He was only 55. Although he's gone, I have never stopped searching for him.
Holly O'Brien Stauber, Blue Bell
Church fit for this Holy Father
How wonderful that so many inside and outside the Catholic Church are impressed by Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. But the church has always had a great deal to offer. For example, its ministry includes nearly 2,000 colleges and universities, 6,000 hospitals, 6,000 orphanages, more than 100,000 schools, countless charities, clinics, and nursing homes. In addition, the church has been preaching the faith for 2,000 years, making it the most influential organization in history. We must remember, though, these acheivements are due only to the power and protection of God, not any one person - regardless of how holy, humble, or honorable he might be.
Joseph Carducci, Pittsburgh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Summoning wartime memories
Reading about local World War II veteran Tom Hickey was especially touching for me as an Indian American here in the United States ("Priming WWII memories," June 10). I have met several veterans who had stories to tell, but not many with stories like Hickey's. Three of my uncles served in the Indian army, and one served in Assam along with American troops near the Burmese border. He had many stories to tell about the challenges Americans faced in that region. I also remember many of us rushing to the Assam train carrying returning troops and looking for American candies thrown by Indian servicemen as an expression of their joy when the war with Japan ended.
It was touching to note that Hickey had the good fortune of seeing Mahatma Gandhi, one of history's noblest human beings. Most likely, Gandhi was touring Calcutta to bring along both Hindu and Muslim factions, which had divergent views on a free India. From Hickey's understanding of the meaning of the Sanskrit word darshan, I got the impression that he was a curious intellectual. The Inquirer should tell more stories like these, which offer readers unique history lessons.
Tom Chennat, Exton, email@example.com
Suffer the little children indeed
More than 3,700 Philadelphia school employees just received pink slips. Conservative pundits say this is a good thing; that we have rid ourselves of overpaid school employees. But they and Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg and Gov. Corbett are dead wrong.
The layoffs include hundreds of teachers and just about every school nurse, librarian, classroom aide, and secretary. Imagine a major metropolitan school system with no music ensembles, art and drama programs, or sports teams, much less enough teachers and staff to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. You don't have to imagine it, actually; that's the city schools come September.
Our city will pay the price as residents flee to the suburbs, the real estate market crashes, our tax base shrinks, businesses relocate, and the region's national reputation declines. But the biggest price will be paid by Philadelphia schoolchildren.
Judson A. Aaron, Philadelphia
Fla. shooting was preventable
Writing on the Zimmerman/Martin tragedy, commentator George Parry may have been factual. But his article suffered from a fatal flaw: It started in the middle of the story ("Hysteria narrative," June 9). The true beginning, which Parry conveniently ignores, is this: Why in the first place was town-watch volunteer George Zimmerman tracking Trayvon Martin, the youth he shot? No law-abiding citizen should track another without cause. With Zimmerman armed, the case just as easily could be made that Martin feared for his life and turned on his stalker to defend himself. The true creator of the tragic scenario was Zimmerman. Had he minded his own business and not thought of himself as the savior of the world, we would never have heard of Trayvon Martin.
Steve Arcidiacono, Havertown
Issue shackled to misinformation
As a Quaker and a mother of four (much-wanted) sons, I was deeply offended by commentator Ashley McGuire's use of Wilberforce and abolition to dramatize her antiabortion screed. There is no parallel between the brutal enslavement of a people and a legal medical procedure ("The horrors are getting harder for abortion supporters to hide," June 2). Language is everything. An embryo is no more a baby than an egg is a chicken, and no amount of repetition will change that. A beating heart is not stopped in a legal, first-trimester abortion, because an embryo does not have one. The older the fetus, the greater the restrictions - for good reason.
Medical care given at women's health clinics, especially Planned Parenthood, has been maligned and curtailed dramatically by misrepresentation of biological and legal facts.
Using the horrors of the Kermit Gosnell case to outlaw abortion is like extrapolating from al-Qaeda that all Muslims are terrorists. It is a sad day when the well-being of women is challenged by misinformation and heated rhetoric. We have fought long and hard to legalize birth control and family planning. It has contributed in many positive ways to a society in which more children are planned, and wanted.
Susan Miller, Sumneytown
SEPTA tops the leader board
Attending a U.S. Open practice round, I found that general parking was nonexistent unless you had a special parking pass or were willing to fork over $40 at a private lot. Fortunately, SEPTA had pickup points throughout the Main Line and provided complimentary shuttles. Buses ran continuously, and fans never waited more than two minutes. The drivers were friendly and courteous and seemed genuinely enthused about the Open at Merion. SEPTA's much-needed service helped visitors navigate this tiny landscape. As for the bus drivers, they really were par for this course.
Larry A. Wernick, Fort Washington