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Travel letters

December 16, 2012

A history that needs to be told

I sent Catharine Hamm's "Courage and Legacy" [Dec. 2] to my mother in Connecticut. In 1938, she escaped from Nazi Germany to the Philippines. President Manuel Quezon opened the doors of his country to more than 1,000 Jewish refugees. It is an amazing story that is not well-known — another "underappreciated chapter in the country's history."

Our family will always be grateful to the Philippines and its people.

Leonie Hershfield Kramer

Laguna Beach

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Thank you for this article. My father was British and my mother American. My father had been transferred to Manila, and that's where I was born. We were incarcerated in the Santo Tomas prison camp (which was and is a university), a concentration camp for civilians of different backgrounds.

We were being starved to death. I am forever grateful to the courageous Army cavalrymen who barreled through the front gates with their tanks to save us. I know why I love tanks.

To every military person who fought for and with the U.S. in World War II, a big thank you.

Andrea Geary Gardner Goodwin

Palm Desert

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This brought tears to my eyes. This is the type of article a good Travel section can and should do as often as possible, rather than just travelogues. Please, more articles like this that move, enlighten and inform.

Liz Galloway

Los Angeles

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The article seems excessively critical of U.S. commanders. They deserve some criticism, but that should be tempered by recognition that their decisions are being evaluated with 20-20 hindsight.

And the article seems less critical of the Japanese than I would expect. They started the war, after all, and they committed unspeakable atrocities against Americans and Filipinos.

Americans are criticized for having used the atomic bomb. I don't feel so bad about that because of the atrocities and because the bombs shortened the war.

George Carlyle

Costa Mesa

When I was a child in the 1950s, my parents would take my sister and me to visit family in Albuquerque, N.M., which always included road trips to Chimayo ["A Link to Tradition and a Helping Hand," by Jay Jones, Nov. 25]. I have fond memories of my mother and grandmother, with us in tow, crawling up the church's center aisle on their knees, in gratitude for a prayer request that had been answered. I remember the sacred hole of dirt that the faithful believed had healing powers.

It never got deeper or wider in spite of visitors taking samples throughout the day.

My mother believed in the Santo Niño, the Christ child. The belief was that the Santo Niño would walk through the village at night, wearing out his shoes. With each visit, my mom would leave a pair of baby shoes, along with her prayer request. I have visited Chimayo twice in the last four years and made a trek to the Sanctuary (although not on my knees) to leave a vial of my mother's ashes in thanks for an answer to her final prayers. Miracles do happen.

Tina Soto

Pasadena

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