Regarding D.J. Tice's April 15 column ("Fort Snelling: new vision, old wounds"): My own experience of the Minnesota Historical Society's presentations of our history has been that it is always measured and fair in attempting to inform the public of our past. It seems to me that what Tice says should be our approach to history — to try to "understand the passions and motives of ALL (my emphasis) peoples of the past" — is precisely what the MHS is trying to do in its revitalization of Fort Snelling.
Why, precisely, would veterans be afraid of this expansion of attention to be given to African-Americans and the Dakota? According to the MHS draft program overview, stories will include "diverse veterans experiences through many eras"; its YouTube video says the Fort Snelling historical site will feature "stories of the many soldiers who prepared here to fight for America, soldiers who are buried nearby."
Tice says that critics fear a "simplistic tale of villainous whites and victimized minorities." That has been the overreaction of many conservative whites every time efforts are made to ensure a more inclusive telling of history in the U.S.
Where Tice sees a "censorious spirit" and "score-settling over slavery" in recent efforts to remove Confederate monuments and rename Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska, I see efforts to be honest about our past and more comprehensive in the telling of the story. I see an effort to recognize all of this area's inhabitants, including its indigenous people. I see more careful evaluation of who we label "heroes." And that is real history, instead of myth.
Diane M. Ring, Minneapolis
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Thank you, D.J. Tice, for your comments. Our family has visited Fort Snelling a few times since 1985. Our children loved the soldiers, the "school" where they sat on benches, and looking out over the rivers. I was there a few weeks ago at a Civil War symposium. Each visit is a positive experience. At the last visit there was a diorama of the fort during World War II.
I, too, am concerned about this tendency to emphasize certain parts of history and portray the events in light of current thinking. History is history. Telling the correct story, with explanations and facts, is important. Not just rewriting or reporting partial facts.
My father came to Fort Snelling from Meeker County when he enlisted in the Army. That was early 1942. He had never been to the metro area or out of the state. There were many rural farm men like him in 1942.
My father went on to Europe, helped liberate Paris, fought in the Bastogne in the 101st and occupied Berlin before returning to his Meeker County home. In the Bastogne, he was in a frozen foxhole with little food and nothing warm to eat for three days. When I told him the whole world was watching the 101st, his response was, "We didn't care about that. We didn't care about the war or the Germans. We were just a bunch of young, frozen GIs fighting for our lives."
Who will tell the story of these young men if we emphasize just certain parts of our history?
Darlene Kotelnicki, Litchfield, Minn.
So get cracking, Star Tribune, and tell us about competitors
Thanks to Lori Sturdevant for bringing to our attention the lack of information the average voter has regarding the candidates for the upcoming governor's race ("The Pawlenty advantage: In governor's race, he is known," April 15). She notes that Tim Pawlenty has a big advantage because people at least know his name.
I lay this problem at the doorstep of the Star Tribune. Why haven't we heard from the paper about who these people are? What are their qualifications?
The position of governor is a management position. So who has good management skills and experience? (I ask about skills rather than just experience because not all managers are good managers.) Who knows how to deal with budgets?
For example, on the DFL side, let's look at just the two front-runners. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz is a lawmaker who has experience as a noncommissioned officer in the National Guard and as a high school geography teacher. What management skills does he have? What does he know about budgets? On the other hand, Rebecca Otto is the state auditor. She knows a lot about local governments and what makes them work efficiently. What management skills do you think she has? What do you think she knows about managing budgets?
Get going, Star Tribune!
Burke Hilden, Maplewood
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"The Pawlenty advantage" sells Rebecca Otto's candidacy short! She is the only candidate who has outperformed Tim Pawlenty, winning more votes, more rural counties and more statewide races during her political career. She is running a strong statewide race for Minnesota governor. She is a proven winner based on her hard work advancing a progressive agenda over the past 17 years. Her outstanding vision of achieving affordable health care, sustaining vibrant communities, protecting the environment, and especially her leadership in tackling climate change and supporting access to quality education, sets her campaign apart from all of her opponents.
David L. Trauger, Marine on St. Croix
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So, former Gov. Pawlenty is pulling in the usual support from the wealthy donors who, evidently, don't think the recent federal tax windfall was enough, so they have to remind Tim from Eagan that they would like a huge cut on their state taxes, too ("Funds pour into race for governor," April 18). So, there goes the surplus, and we'll get back to the good old days of the Pawlenty potholes and those pesky taxes he calls "fees." Do these wealthy donors know that they are only subsidizing his second shot at the White House? Minnesota will once again be his short minor-league stop as he seeks another shot at the "big leagues." Party and politics aside, can't we just elect someone who wants to serve Minnesota and not themselves?
Tom Intihar, Brooklyn Park
SCHOOL START TIMES
But we're not completely stuck with our preferred sleep hours
Michael Howell ("Best thing we can do for teens? Later school starts," April 15) makes a good case for recognizing that there tends to be a shift in sleep-activity rhythms during development in humans and other animals. These circadian (about a day) rhythms are potent at all ages, and if they differ too much from optimal for individuals, there may be substantial adverse consequences.
The summary above Howell's article notes that "Teens' body clocks make them later to bed, later to rise." But I question his next statement that "They can't change it, and development demands we not fight it."
Even as adults, one tends to have cycles a bit longer than 24 hours (perhaps 24.5 hours), but we usually are entrained to 24 hours by external factors. These include plenty of light early in the day (easiest if we rise about the same time daily) and tapering-off light in the evening.
Unfortunately, the teen culture tends to favor staying up later (to allow time to do things they want to do, after much of the day doing what others insist they do), then sleeping as late as they can to try to compensate. I think these external factors should be considered, as changing them may be more appropriate than insisting that school be later. Changing school start times may be a transient fix, as teens then stay up even later.
Dr. John T. (Jack) Garland, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired endocrinologist.