By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
As our "better angels" would have it, I was drawn on this Memorial Day to the "Terrain of Grief" cover of the May 22 issue of the Dallas Observer. I've been out of town for the past week and drove through my neighborhood post office parking area to see if there were any copies left this late in the issue week. The only one was in the display slot of the machine door, perfectly placed for me to see the cover's reference to what was, of course, your [Megan Feldman's] article.
I—we—cannot thank you enough for your perfectly timed piece. I would like to say I am familiar with your writing, and while I cannot, I can promise to become more familiar...yours is an impressive gift.
I often eat, deliberately, in noisy, baby/child-rich restaurants in my area of Dallas, always with something to read, just in case the lulls in the natural entertainment and noise level permit. Tonight's Memorial Day gathering of young parents and kids at Cafe Express was expectedly impressive, but the power of your writing literally drowned them out. As I opened the paper to the stunning picture of Daniel Markham at his father's gravesite, my intention to focus and understand all that I was seeing was momentarily drawn away by a young girl Daniel's age, hopping up to my table to the accompaniment of her (designed that way) squeak-with-each-step shoes. As engaging as she was in our very-brief-for-me visit, Morrey Taylor's photo of Daniel and his parents distracted me throughout. As I had guessed by then, your article provided much more than the thousand words to match the photograph. As I finished your article and rose to leave, the sound of the many children and their families returned, in stark contrast to your closing reference to Stacey's love for "...a man who's 6 feet underground."
Please extend my thanks to Mr. Taylor, as well. While I already provide financial support to various groups dedicated to helping mend the broken lives of returning vets and their families, I had not yet turned my attention to HUGGS. Now, of course, I will...thanks to you. To Stacey and Daniel, and the thousands they so strikingly represent, you—with the assistance of Mr. Taylor and the Observer—have extended a heart-rending homage...for many of us. Now, your readers, I trust, will respond in kind.
Since my first trip to the District of Columbia in the mid-'70s, I always find time for a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Last year, my 30-year-old son in Seattle picked D.C. and surrounding Civil War sites as the spot for one of our semiannual (or so) "meet-up" vacation trips. He'd not joined me on a D.C. trip since he was 10 and looked forward, as I did, to some quiet time in Arlington. As we entered and struck out to parts little visited by most "tourists," we quickly found ourselves in reverent attendance, albeit from a distance, at two burial services. Ms. Feldman, if you haven't attended such a service, with the Old Guard in charge of every aspect, I hope you will do so. Your article and those services, in very much the same way, perfectly and profoundly invoke in me the stark awareness of these particular debts we never repay.
Elliott Stonecipher, Dallas
"Out of Africa," by Megan Feldman, May 29
Found Boy of Sudan
I read with great interest your story on the African players. My son Adrian is the head soccer coach at Conrad High School. His team won the DISD district championship with a mixture of Mexican and African players, grades 9-11. His top player is from Sudan, Santino Anguey. He was also voted as the Newcomer of the Area by The Dallas Morning News. My son is petitioning the UIL to allow Santino to play next year as a senior since he is already 18 years old.
Again, great story!
Rene V. Martinez, immigration coordinator, LULAC District III
Rule of Law
You let the infamous photograph distract you from an essential point. The state of Texas had no evidence to remove an overwhelming majority of the children [from the polygamist compound].
Thomas, via dallasobserver.com