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A veteran kneels after laying a wreath at the National War Memorial during Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa November 11, 2012. (PATRICK DOYLE/REUTERS)
A veteran kneels after laying a wreath at the National War Memorial during Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa November 11, 2012. (PATRICK DOYLE/REUTERS)

What readers think

Nov. 13: Remembrance Day, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Lest we forget

As Remembrance Day once again recedes into the past (We Remember – Nov. 12), so, too, does the use of the word “sacrifice.” Those who served sacrificed much – jobs, marriages, broken bodies, shattered psyches and, too often, death. They took the risk not for their aggrandizement but for a better future for all.

If they sacrificed for the future we now enjoy, are we not morally obligated to honour them by sacrificing for the future that will follow us? Are we not obliged to face head on, with all the energy, honesty and resources we can muster, the issues that will affect future generations?

Our duty is to keep the word “sacrifice” alive.

Keith Oliver, Cobourg, Ont.

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Lest we remember

Re Why Won’t Guys Grow Up? Sexual Economics (Nov. 11): So the male of the species has gone from Dagwood Bumstead – clumsy, lazy, inept, but thoroughly dedicated to his wife and family – to … what? Charlie Sheen? Who says we can’t evolve?

Douglas Campbell, Vancouver

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Isn’t it a sign of getting old when one begins to imagine that young people are having lots of meaningless sex? When young men are feckless and unproductive, it’s because those young men are feckless and unproductive. Young women aren’t to blame for it.

Michele Bowes, St. John’s

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Special needs

Your editorial chastising the Supreme Court of Canada (A Ruling For A Perfect World – Nov. 10) reminds me of some of the editorials from southern states following the case of Brown v. Board of Education. Certainly its rationale is similar.

Brown was the U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively ended the segregation by race of public schools in America. It was an expensive decision because the old “separate but equal” schools were anything but. It cost states, and not only southern ones, a lot of money. But it ended an abominable practice.

The Supreme Court of Canada has done the same thing with its Moore decision. It has reinforced the requirement to provide the necessary facilities to ensure that equality of educational opportunity is provided in Canada’s classrooms. Is this expensive? Yes. Is it necessary? Yes.

Children who have learning disabilities do require special programs, but as many such children have proved over the years, Albert Einstein to name just one, with appropriate assistance, they can accomplish great things.

In short, the Supreme Court was right and your editorial was wrong.

Arthur E. Gans, Winfield, B.C.

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My autistic son has the good fortune to attend a public elementary school where a tireless effort to include him has been undertaken by the administrative, special needs and teaching staff. He has been attending this school for the past three years and has benefited immeasurably, as have his peers, from the program instituted by these amazing people.

I suppose I must have been extremely naive because I believed this was a typical arrangement for all Canadian children who face the challenges my son does. While my husband and I have always felt grateful for the dedication shown by these professionals, we feel even more so after having read your editorial.

All children deserve this kind of acceptance, and the Supreme Court ruling couldn’t be more right or more just.

Natasha Tarvis, Winnipeg

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Manhattan madness

Re A Parent’s Darkest Fear Realized (Life & Arts, Nov. 9): The location of the apartment in which two children were stabbed to death – their nanny has been charged with murder – is where horror and cinematic nightmare intersect in New York City.

The apartment, on West 75th Street, is three blocks from the thoroughfare of West 72nd Street, site of the Dakota apartment building at whose entrance John Lennon was assassinated in 1980 and whose exterior was used for the building featured in Roman Polanski’s 1968 horror film Rosemary’s Baby.

Another film, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, was based on the 1973 murder of Roseann Quinn, who picked up a guy in a bar on West 72nd Street. And a park on West 72nd Street and Broadway is where junkies hung out in the 1971 film The Panic in Needle Park, starring Al Pacino.

Jacob Mendlovic, Toronto

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Flood of fear?

May I amplify Barrie McKenna’s warning in How Sandy Revealed The Follies Of Federal Flood Insurance Programs (Report on Business, Nov. 12)?

As a retired professional geologist, I have spent the past decade reviewing the advances in scientific knowledge in the field of geological history, seeking clues as to what crises we may expect in the future.

Studies published in the journal Nature say cores taken from coral reefs both on and offshore Tahiti reveal that between 14,710 and 14,370 years ago, the Earth was subject to a substantial (between 14 and 18 metres) rise in sea level, probably the result of the fragmentation of the Antarctic ice shelves and consequent catastrophic collapse of the Antarctic ice cap into the Antarctic Ocean.

In light of current reports of instability within the Antarctic ice shelves, a recurrence could be imminent.

Obviously, such an event would be catastrophic to inhabitants occupying low-lying coastal areas such as the deltas of Bangladesh, the Mississippi and the Rhine, and cities such as New York, London, Tokyo and Cairo.

Could the story of the biblical flood have its origin in accounts handed down from prehistoric times of the great flood of the 120th century BC?

John Alston, Calgary

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Sign of the times

Perhaps the Republican Party should consider changing its symbol from the elephant to the woolly mammoth.

Gerry Stephenson, Canmore, Alta.

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Low-hanging fruit?

Your editorial on the Supreme Court of Canada’s striking down the Canadian patent on Viagra (Pharmaceutical Hide-And-Seek – Nov. 12) shamelessly includes a couple of erectile dysfunction-based puns, including the court “invigorated Canadian patent law” and “the decision revivifies the fundamentals of patent law.”

Canadian patent law is no laughing matter. Indeed, the subject matter should be treated with the appropriate level of reverence. What does it say for the level of discourse in Canada if our oldest national paper does not have the willpower to refrain from reaching for the low-hanging fruit of such base wordplay?

I, for one, refuse to rise to the occasion.

Jeff Feiner, Toronto

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