BIRTH OF A CEMETERY
THE BACKLIGHT PIECE ON GEN. MONTgomery Meigs [May 16] needs further clarification. Meigs did suggest Arlington, Gen. Robert E. Lee's family estate, as a burial site for soldiers who had died in combat during the Civil War. However, Meigs had good reasons for what was referred to as his "vindictiveness."
Meigs held Lee primarily responsible for the war's carnage. He also felt personally betrayed by Lee, since they had served together during their earlier careers in the "old" army.
Tragically, Meigs's son John was killed several months later while trying to escape from the custody of Confederate soldiers near Dayton, Va. Ironically, young Lt. Meigs was then buried in the cemetery his father had chosen. The elder Meigs was later buried beside his son.
PETER CARLSON'S ARTICLE "BEFORE the Cart" [May 23] leaves the impression that the caddies he met were tools to be used by the rich as they saw fit. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
In 1948 shagging balls was considered to be an honest way to make two or three dollars. At our club you got $3 for a "loop" and did not graduate to two bags until you were deemed ready by the caddymaster. The golf professional at the club, a Scotsman with a temper that made his face red but with a heart of gold, believed he was bringing truth to the heathens as well as giving young and old an opportunity to caddy.
The club members were known to help caddies out in times of need. Most important, you caddied for the good players as well as the high handicappers.
Caddying gave individuals an opportunity to work their way through school, meet interesting folks both rich and poor and learn a lot about life. Perhaps Mr. Carlson would have been a little more open-minded if he had carried a more positive attitude into his "caddying." It sounds to me like he was a "bag-toter."
I WAS DISAPPOINTED AND EVEN EMbarrassed by Liza Mundy's article "The Guilty Pleasure" [May 23]. I'm wondering if her implication is that motherhood can turn a professional woman into a scatterbrain who can't find wallet, keys or socks and is now faced with a life of guilt every time she takes time for some pleasure.
Women golfers are passionate about their game and are constantly seeking ways to improve it, learn everything they can about rules and etiquette, and encourage others to enjoy its rewards. This is evidenced by the growing number of members not only in the Executive Women's Golf Association countrywide, but by the number of women you will see out on the course, at the practice tee, and taking lessons any day of the week. Yes, we have all probably experienced "eye rolling" once or twice but I believe this is becoming the exception, not the rule.
I can only surmise that Mundy does not play golf, has no appreciation for those who do, and does not have a true understanding of the commitment and enhancement women have brought to the game.
LUCIA C. BRADY
DUTY AND SACRIFICE
MARC FISHER'S "ABOVE THE FRAY" [Potomac Confidential, May 23] articulates perfectly the convenient moral philosophy of young Americans: "We want to think of ourselves as good and right, but we are no longer capable of facing duty and sacrifice." At 18, I worry about the consequences of this all too prevalent mentality among my peers.
We have good intentions -- we devote ourselves to community service and promote political correctness and tolerance as our highest ideals. But these efforts ring hollow because we ourselves have never known real repression or persecution -- what have we in common, after all, with the student demonstrators of Indonesia or Tiananmen Square? We've forgotten that the freedoms we take for granted were won through bloodshed. Thomas Paine said it best: "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly."
I AGREE WITH MUCH OF WHAT MARC Fisher wrote about younger members of our society and the values of sacrifice and duty, but I think he should take a look at factors that may be making him more pessimistic than need be. The generation after World War I wasn't called "Lost" for nothing. In the 1930s the best-educated youth of Britain vowed that they would not die for king and country. This from the generation that was to sacrifice the most. The lesson may be that no one esteems these virtues because, in our lifetime at least, they have not been needed in full measure. If they are needed, they may be found in abundance again.
THANKS TO MARY BATTIATA FOR HER insightful and well-researched perspective on dogs in modern society ["The Trouble With Dogs," May 30].
It would be misguided for dog owners to construe from the article that environmentalists must somehow be "anti-dog." Rather, as environmental consciousness is raised, it is the dog owners who must determine by their behaviors if they desire to protect the environment or not. To the extent that dog parks encourage responsible stewardship (and wherever they don't seriously conflict with other environmental objectives), environmentalists should support this growing movement.
YOUR ARTICLE ON DOGS struck home with me. As a dog owner and neighbor of one of the hot spots you highlighted (Blake Lane Park in Oakton), I am all too familiar with the difficult task of balancing the needs -- and rights -- of all park users. The demand for legally sanctioned dog parks is urgent. However, to quote Robert Frost, "Good fences make good neighbors." Only a fully fenced dog park can ensure that dog owners have a choice between letting their dogs join in the group playtime or not. Being approached by a loose dog, no matter how friendly, can be a frightening and potentially dangerous encounter.
COLLEEN M. KELLY
I WAS AMAZED THAT THIS AUTHOR missed what I believe is the main reason why dogs are increasingly seen as a nuisance: noise! Why should dog owners have the right to impose their dog noise on everyone else? I live in a middle-class, suburban neighborhood that used to be rather peaceful and quiet. About six years ago, more and more dogs began to arrive; and now I'd estimate that there is a dog in at least every three houses. My family and I cannot sit in our back yard on weekends for more than a few minutes without hearing barking. The discouraging thing is that there seems to be little that we, or our other neighbors who are tired of this noise pollution, can do about it.
LESLIE K. DOWNEY
"THE TROUBLE WITH DOGS" SHOULD BE titled "The Trouble With People." I believe that the described annoyance with dogs from certain individuals reflects a greater annoyance within society in general toward many interrelational situations, be it human or canine, that require listening, love and understanding. If people cannot extend respect and proper care for one another, including our elderly, young and disabled citizens, how can we expect our faithful furred companions to be spared?
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