Your newspaper ["Quick off the Dime," editorial, March 10] believes putting Ronald Reagan's face on our money would be "premature," because he is not a "figure of national consensus" so the movement to do this "is largely at this stage a partisan one."

Certainly, putting Reagan on our currency would not be premature; rather, it would be the normal way we have been doing these things.

Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945; his face went on the dime in 1946.

John F. Kennedy died in 1963; his face went on the 50-cent piece in 1964; Dwight D. Eisenhower died in 1969; his face went on the dollar in 1971.

Certainly the most partisan figure to be put on our money was Abraham Lincoln, who went on the penny in 1909, a time when a large number of the surviving Confederate soldiers were still alive. Putting Thomas Jefferson on the nickel in 1938 was also a clearly partisan maneuver, meant to balance Lincoln on the cent.

Reagan and FDR were the two great U.S. presidents of the 20th century; FDR deserves to be on the dime; Reagan should be on the $10 bill.

-- Michael Kurtz

Lexington, Mass.

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I was pleased that Tom Shales managed a quite gracious column on President Ronald Reagan, but he spoiled it with one graceless sneer about -- who else -- President Bush: "Bush thinks he hears Jesus giving him orders." Rather tiresome.

Compared with Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and certainly Reagan, Bush has been quite restrained in expressing his religious convictions, but the Bush-as-religious-fanatic bit has become such a staple of the liberal media that I suppose Shales just couldn't resist this witty sally.

-- Peter Kenny

Glenn Dale

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The phrase "he left office with the highest approval rating of any modern president" appears to have been inserted into the official script of every news reporter in the country writing about President Ronald Reagan. What most people are likely to come away thinking is: "Reagan was the most popular president ever!"

They're wrong.

Ronald Reagan left office with a 63 percent approval rating. Bill Clinton left office with a 65 percent approval rating. Averaging the final six polls (54, 53, 54, 51, 57, 64) gives Reagan 55.5. Clinton (58, 63, 60, 66, 65, 66) gets 63.

People remember Reagan being a popular president because the media have been telling us that for years. It's really that simple.

-- William Stosine

Iowa City, Iowa

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Regarding your June 11 illustration of President Reagan's caisson:

Artillery caissons do not mount a cannon -- 75mm or otherwise. The caisson in an artillery train carries two ammunition chests. Obviously these have been removed to accommodate a casket.

-- William Forbes

Chevy Chase