Not Just Catholic

I thank you for David O’Brien’s “Learning From 9/11” (8/29). Of all the horror we witnessed that day, this brings hope and assurance that we are a nation that cares about one another. I’m grateful that O’Brien followed God’s call to be an American historian, not just a Catholic historian.

Sue Huetter

Adrian, Mich.

The New Dominicans

The recent article by William Bole, “The Peace Front” (8/15), was most welcome at our residence of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and their associates.

Ours is a new congregation formed in 2009 from a merger of seven foundations of apostolic Dominican Sisters who searched for a name and were most inspired to choose “Peace.” We are committed to establishing an environment of peace—daily prayer for peace and year-long study of peace and nonviolence.

Our sisters and lay associates will demonstrate this “growth industry” as we provide basic education and health care to grassroots communities on the U.S.-Mexican border, in the Kansas heartland and in the other 26 states and six foreign countries where we serve.

Madeleine Albright’s endorsement of faith-based organizations (they have “more resources, more skilled personnel, a longer attention span, more experience, more dedication...”) has guided us in the reconfiguration of our new religious institute.

Margaret Ormond, O.P.

Columbus, Ohio

The Boss Is Best

Christopher Pramuk’s “A Dream of Life,” revisiting Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” (Web-only edition, 9/12) on the occasion of the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, may be the finest essay I’ve read on America’s Web site in the past two years. It speaks to me on a number of levels, and I find that I keep coming back to read it again and again—perhaps especially its last sentence. But there are so many sentences like the last one that I need time to digest.

Beth Cioffoletti

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

The Great Scam

Thank you to James Martin, S.J., for his compassionate response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, (Of Many Things, 8/29). The son of a friend of ours, an off-duty fireman who responded immediately to the disaster, was killed. A true hero.

But beyond that, I think the people of the United States have been scammed, as usual, by the government, the media and Congress. No one in history has done as much as Osama bin Laden to bring down a powerful country like the United States in one blow, delivered by a handful of fanatics.

At home I point to the culpable actions of George W. Bush in involving us in unwinnable wars, aided by Congress and leading to our economic downfall. The cost: the lives of our U.S. fighting men (mostly poor, young and expendable) and the stranglehold of the super-rich who control the government.

Jon Stewart, on “The Daily Show,” recently presented statistics showing the discrepancy between the United States and the poor countries of the world. Does any thinking person still believe we are a government of the people?

Eileen Quin Gould

Montgomery Village, Md.

Recovering What Was Lost

Re the Of Many Things column on Aug. 29: Looking for a resurrection, I am thinking of taking a train into New York on Sunday Sept. 11. I won’t get anywhere near ground zero to see the ceremonies or be able to approach the memorial.

I was there a year ago. The site was cleaned up and looked like one of those old movie sets for filming the building of the Great Pyramid, with ramps descending into a cavernous foundation. I am hoping to see, for the first time, a materialization from the ashes of obliterated people and structures.

I was there for the construction of these great monoliths. I loved the twin towers from the beginning. Many times I was at the Windows on the World restaurant for a drink or dinner with the view of the East River, the F.D.R. Drive, the jigsaw puzzle of federal, city and state buildings.

By sheer accident, three of my family members who worked at the World Trade Center survived the horror. Today we have hundreds of responders who survived the initial attack but were harmed in the process of rescue, recovery and demolition. Their families are now listed as collateral damage from the original devastation. May all of us participate in this resurrection.

Norman Costa

Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Streamline Immigration; Crack Down on Illegals

Re Signs of the Times, “Advocates: ‘Secure Commu-nities’ Brings Fear, Not Trust” (8/29): Why can’t anyone articulate the points for a comprehensive immigration reform? I would fortify the border but expand the entry points to 24 lanes and streamline valid visas with biometrics for all who want to enter for tourism, work or study. But the border is not sealed. Walls and fences are laughed at...but then fences secure the White House, Pentagon and airports with no one pooh-poohing their security perimeter.

Most illegals get jobs with a paycheck, not cash, and they do that with identity fraud using someone else’s Social Security number. That is not fair to those other people who follow the law. Businesses that hire illegals are on a par with scabs crossing union picket lines. They undercut the wages of legal workers and pull the entire middle class down. We hate big business for off-shoring jobs and profits, but that’s exactly what illegals do with their jobs and profits. They send them abroad. People do need to care for their families, and we do need to streamline immigration, but not just any reform will do.

John Lyons

Detroit, Mich.

The Risk of Pregnancy

I am grateful for two pieces in the 8/15 issue: the editorial, “Out of Afghanistan,” and the Signs of the Times report “Bishops Seek Broader Exemption From Controversial Requirements” on contraception.

I have never been pregnant and am celibate; but I have learned in my reading that the pill has been beneficial for many women. Having children every 11 months, I have read, is not good for the mother or the baby. Pregnancy is not a disease, but it can be injurious to a woman’s health if it occurs too often. I realize that writing about war is a “safe” issue, but that writing about women and sexuality can be “dangerous.” Nevertheless I am surprised at the coverage you gave the U.S.C.C.B. on this issue.

Mary Swain

Nerinx, Ky.

What 25 Cents Will Get You

Like Thomas Massaro, S.J., in his column “Car Talk” (8/29), I too have had an “open road” liberating experience, although mine involved paying just 25 cents to get me on a bus out of a mind-numbing summer job. For me, born and raised in Puerto Rico—a car-intense society—riding a bus for a quarter to go anywhere in the metropolitan area was freeing. From that moment I was determined to live in a town where public transportation was a priority.

But in Boston 25 cents doesn’t get you anywhere. Getting to a job anywhere costs about two days’ wages a month. Meanwhile fares rise and wages go down. A commitment to “jobs recovery” will depend on accessible public transportation.

M. T. Davila

Malden, Mass.

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