July: "Mississippi, After Katrina"

My name is Reginald Johnson, and I am one the Red Cross volunteers seen in one of the photographs. I am amazed and awed by the pictures that Russell (Big Rus) took of the hurricane katrina SURVIVORS. He did such an extraordinary job of capturing the pain and anguish those families, individuals, male and female, young and old are going through. His pictures reminds us all, those who went down to help, those who sent food, clothing, money and prayers that the relief effort has only begun. That the pain and anguish that the people of the Gulf and New Orleans area are feeling are just in the beginning stages. That it may indeed take a whole generation to erase the trauma but not memories. You see as the world, yours and mind keep moving along, their world still remains in disarray. Let's not forget those images but realize those pictures are of real people, in real pain, who will continue to need our help for some time to come. They are, without a doubt, the most sweetest, kindness, inspirational people I have ever met. God keep them strong.

I would like to also personally thank Big Rus for telling their story in his way. I am so proud to have seen Rus do his thing with the utmost compassion and respectability. He is an amazing photographer but more importantly he is an absolutely amazing human being. GREAT JOB!


February: "Death of a Responsible Man"

I am truly sorry for your loss and the loss to our Pennsylvania and National Community of a Concern Citizen. The photos express the true sorrow to Sherwood’s Family.  But, I do like the “Who’s Your Baghdaddy” tee shirt Debbi Baker is wearing, but that is not the reason for the memo.  
Who is the Half Ass “O” Grade (Officer) in Utilities (Cammies) giving Sherwood’s widow a Medal?  Lets get some respect and discipline here for the family’s sacrifice and at least be in Class A dress uniform when giving formally to Next of Kin, Our Nation’s Medals.
Honor The Warriors, Not The War.
John J Kline (USMC 1959-64, Life VFW Mem.)
Philadelphia, PA

To Dante Zappala and all of Sherwood's Precious Family:

What a remarkable essay, and a fitting tribute to a remarkable young man. It is easy for a stranger to say I share your grief, when, of course, only those who knew Sherwood can. But please accept that I respect your brother's sacrifice. And I thank you for the beautiful memoriam

Even though I, like you, Dante, knew from the beginning that this was an insanely wrong-headed and unjustified war, I still feel that Sherwood died for me and my family, and for all who did not serve in Iraq, because he followed a deep sense of duty and honor and patriotism - even though that fine feeling was misused by our dreadfully incompetent (and in my opinion, criminal) leaders. I am glad your family continues to protest.

There are so many things I, too, could say about the way we are following the wrong road in this nation today. But I will save that for my own writings on the subject. (I am an inveterate and indefatigable letters-to-editor person. Although, sadly, it did not help enough last year.) The main thing to remember here is the goodness and love of Sherwood. And anyone who has the good fortune to come in contact with his dear wife and son should not fail to pass on the gratitude of all of us, out here, who owe him a debt.

May God bless you family.

Warmest Regards,
Eileen Fay
Kingston, NY

I have read Mr. Zappala's words before, but now accompanied by photographs, they are even more poignant. My son, who just turned 18, joined the Marine reserves and is now in boot camp. Selfishly, I hope he never gets sent to Iraq.
I don't think I could be nearly as gracious as this family has been.

Kelly N. Wagner

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