The Class of 9/11
Our article highlighting the experiences of three members of the West Point class of '05 prompted many expressions of gratitude for the cadets' exceptional patriotism and bravery. Some readers, however, were critical of America's sacrificing its brightest young leaders to the war in Iraq
Thank you for the insightful, compassionate story on the U.S. Military Academy and the profiles of three graduates [May 30]. They are very different yet are terrific in their individual ways. We Americans too often forget that the military academies have a mission to prepare leaders for the future, whether we are at war or not. We take for granted that there are young people who are willing to make extraordinary sacrifices in order to become those leaders. The 2005 graduates deserve praise and our gratitude. After 9/11, they could have decided the war on terrorism wasn't what they had signed up for and left West Point without any commitment to the Army. Yet they decided to remain, even though the stakes had changed. I salute them and those who are making similar sacrifices.
JOHN D. WOOTERS -- Morristown, N.J.
Your report on the class of '05 tragically illustrates how history tends to repeat itself. Today another young, idealistic generation is being fed into a vague, brutal war machine by an arrogant, self-righteous U.S. Administration. Forty years ago, the West Point classes of the '60s were sent to Southeast Asia to fight an equally vague, brutal war, ostensibly to promote freedom in that region. Many of us who served there came back scarred and maimed, and others did not return at all. The aims of our "glorious cause" were never achieved. May fate be kinder to the class of '05.
STEVE WILLIAMS, U.S.M.A., 1966 -- Fayetteville, N.C.
I have always been a supporter of our troops and the U.S. Military Academy in particular. America's best and brightest make up West Point's corps of cadets. We admire them for their service and dedication to our country. All the members of the class of '05 know exactly what lies ahead for them. All the cadets at our service academies are heroes.
ALAN BLOCK -- Jackson, N.J.
It was my honor to attend the recent graduation from West Point of my nephew, 2nd Lieut. Chad T. Fifield. Your article captured the sacrifice those young men and women are willing to make for our country. In this age of self-gratification and materialism, it is nice to see young people who exemplify the ideals that make our country great. I am sure that the U.S.'s future is in good hands with institutions like West Point producing our future leaders.
JEFFREY E. O'NEIL -- Chanhassen, Minn.
If you are worried about today's youth, you need look no further than the West Point class of '05. America's future is in very capable hands.
RON GEARHART -- Houston
I have a deep respect for the men and women in the service. But I wonder if there shouldn't be courses that allow young cadets to question or challenge authority. Is it ever a mistake to go to war? There are philosophical differences between disloyalty and healthy inquiry. We need to examine all the options before we send our troops into harm's way.
JON PRICE -- Pottstown, Pa.