Readers Respond to the March Issue

Declaring Route 66 an endangered site and a cultural treasure ["United States.
Rick Stuber
Creswell, Oregon

Spirited Debate
Thank you for your great research on endangered cultural treasures. My comments are about the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem ["Roman Catholic Church are behaving is childish and irresponsible. They are fighting over who scrubs a step, who fixes the roof, who cleans a chandelier—and they call themselves Christians? If anyone volunteers to do it, give the guy a rag and cheer him on. But they would rather take the ladder away and throw a stone instead of offering a helping hand. People are starving outside church doors, and all they worry about is who owns this or that piece of a stone building.
Ivan Parenti
Rocklin, California

To disrespect the Hill of Tara by building a motorway through archaeologically rich areas nearby ["Where Kings Once Tread"] is to slight the history of the Irish people; it slights our emancipation from slavery and serfdom as well as the heroes who sacrificed themselves for Irish dignity and freedom. The current economic recession, caused by the same types of greedy people who conceived of and financed this abominable road, is the obvious indicator of where this road will lead—to bankruptcy of the soul and nation.
Paul Bradley
Galway, Ireland

The statement that Tasmanian tigers went extinct more than 3,000 years ago ["Written in Stone"] is inaccurate. They probably went extinct on mainland Australia close to that time but persisted at least into the 20th century on the island of Tasmania. The animals' demise, like that of the threatened cultural "treasures" in your articles, also reflects the actions of modern human beings.
Bob Howe
East Machias, Maine

Uneasy In Northern Ireland
My wife, Tavia, and I spent two weeks in Ireland in 2007 and came away from Derry with the feeling that if you hold a people down long enough, they will fight for what they've lost ["William Moore of the Loyalist group Apprentice Boys really wants to reach out to the Catholics of Derry, he should start a campaign to point those cannons he is pictured with at the ground instead of at the largely Catholic homes surrounding the city. Everyone knows they are ornamental at this point, but when you look up and see rows of cannons pointed at you, it still looks ominous and threatening.
Bryan Murphy and Tavia Jamison
St. Louis, Missouri

An excellent article by Joshua Hammer—and timely! After I read it there was news about the killing of British soldiers in Ireland and the murder of Irish policemen. Denis Bradley, quoted by Hammer, was right in saying, "We have moved past armed conflict and civil unrest. But, we haven't moved past the political issues on which these things had their basis."
Caoimhin Ginty
Morgan Hill, California

Exit Strategies
Your article about home funerals ["Smithsonian. It added little to my existing knowledge and did not provide a cultural awakening. Nor did it appeal to my sense of adventure and exploration. It belongs in the news of the weird.
Keith Ahern
Paducah, Kentucky

"Which Way Out" provides an important service by letting people know that home funerals are a legal option in almost every state. Caring for and spending more time with a deceased loved one at home affords a positive sense of closure and connection for families. As stated, it can also save money on a service that has become outrageously expensive.
Rebecca Thomas
Santa Rosa, California

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