Wronging World War II POWs
As a former World War II prisoner of war, I find the reenactment of a POW camp experience very objectionable ("WWII replayed: History or offense," Tuesday). It was a disservice to the men who were incarcerated in Europe and Asia during World War II.
If you want a taste of history, talk to the men who were captured. Each day, there are fewer of us. Invite them to your high school and other venues. Every September, the VA Hospital in Philadelphia hosts these veterans for National POW Day, to hear their stories and honor their service. The Army Air Museum in Millville, N.J., has an oral project, with former POWs answering questions from high school students.
There are true stories out there - not this make-believe.
|George Rubin, Medford
What about 'Schindler's List'?
According to the story about Saturday's reenactment, ". . . experts in teaching the Holocaust say this war shouldn't be reenacted in any manner." I would ask those educators and other opponents of the reenactment: "What was your reaction to the release of the 1993 movie Schindler's List? Was there opposition from you then?" Surely there was no more graphic and truthful depiction of the horrors of the Holocaust than that.
|R.J. O'Brien, Richboro
Reenactments have value
Anti-Defamation League official Randi Boyette's objection to the reenactment at Fort Mifflin of a Nazi-run World War II camp holding American soldiers - stating that it "trivialize[s] the experience of the victims" - is unfair.
No reenactment of any historical event can completely capture the actual experience, but any reenactment is worthwhile when it gives us a taste of what actually happened, without purposely distorting history.
I faithfully attend the Battle of Germantown every October and have visited other Revolutionary War and Civil War events. Every time I see any reenactment, I am provoked to read a book or Google the event to get the full story. If those guys dressed as German SS prison-camp guards caused someone to research what really happened, then those reenactors have done a good thing.
|Rosamond Kay, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Get real, Penn State
For an institution of higher learning, Penn State continues to stun me with its inability to learn. The university was in the news twice in the last few days, for curtailing its Greek system after a young man died in his fraternity house ("Penn State steps up Greek life crackdown," Friday), and continued fallout from the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal ("The opposite of resolution," Sunday).
The university's fraternity and sorority members are four times as likely as the general student population to be heavy drinkers; sorority women are 50 percent more likely than other female students to be sexually assaulted; and fraternity men are 62 percent more likely to commit a sexual assault than non-fraternity men, said the vice president for student affairs.
That research didn't suddenly become available after the sophomore fell down a stairwell while intoxicated, yet Penn State failed to act until his death made headlines across the country.
Then there was alumni trustee Al Lord's email: "Running out of sympathy for 35 yr old, so-called victims with 7 digit net worth." This attack on Sandusky's victims showed an alarming lack of remorse given the magnitude of Sandusky's crimes and the leadership's failure to protect his victims.
I expect those with whom I entrust my children's education to be role models. Instead, they are acting like children, sticking their heads in the sand, putting image ahead of responsibility, and blaming the victims.
|Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein, Cheltenham
Business tax hike - at what cost?
It was encouraging to read that Philadelphia and the School District anticipate considerable increases from hikes in commercial real-estate assessments ("$118M in new tax revenue is seen," Saturday). But what happens when businesses start heading for the exits? What happens if no new businesses move into the city to replace the old ones and real estate taxes begin to plummet, as well as taxes on business operations?
Walloping business is a great short-term fix, but this is how cities begin to look like bombed-out shells.
|Mike Egan, Plymouth Meeting, email@example.com
Can't afford to keep teaching
I was sad but not surprised to read of high school social studies teacher Bryan Steinberg's resignation from the School District of Philadelphia because his pay was frozen at the 2012 rate ("Teachers have a use for money from reassessing," Wednesday).
I started teaching in February 2010; difficult fiscal times are all I have known. I have faced potential layoffs and lost more than $20,000 in promised wages.
These last few years have seen substantial life changes for me - obtaining my master's degree, purchasing a home, and having a child. I have not yet paid off my student loans. Like many women, my salary is the primary income in my household. With my frozen salary, I cannot afford to have a second child. I should not need to hold my family and life hostage for the sake of public education.
If there is no positive resolution to the contract crisis within a reasonable amount of time, I must search for another career. There are hundreds like me. When will the School Reform Commission see this?
|Elizabeth Diffenderfer, Philadelphia