I am a veteran and am very happy with the VA health care I receive. I read with alarm the Jan. 13 article "VA to shift billions of dollars to private care for veterans." I'm also a member of both the American Legion and Veterans For Peace, two vastly different organizations at different ends of the political spectrum. Both, and it's perhaps the only thing they agree upon, are against the privatization. They both know what it is about, and that is funneling money to the private sector.

The biggest problem with the VA is lack of resources. If the change is made, I predict three things will happen. Taxpayers will get billed more; the excellent treatment the VA provides for veterans will decline; and the private sector won't be saddled with a lack of resources, and its CEOs will be getting very rich. Which is what it is really about. And I can already hear the PR campaign down the line explaining how some copays for veterans are now necessary to provide better care. Myself, instead of being thanked for my service, I'd rather someone contact their representatives and senators and urge them to fight this change.

Gary Jenneke, St. Paul
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I have received all my health care through the VA for the last 15 years. I have never waited more than two months for an appointment, and that was for routine, non-urgent care. Since moving to Minneapolis last year, I have made appointments in a week to a month for eye, ear and preventive care. My physical therapist showed me ways to solve complaints I had, with good results. I like my VA care.

Perhaps what I appreciate most about VA care is that I feel like I'm a human and feel cared for whenever I go. I believe the sense of community that is an integral part of VA care is a major reason why veterans want VA care to continue and be improved and not privatized. There are reasons (i.e., distance or lack of specialty staff) for VA care to be supplemented by the private sector, but private care should not be increased using funds designated for VA facility use.

Surveys show most veterans want the VA to continue. To my knowledge, all veterans groups are against privatization with the exception of Concerned Veterans of America, a group founded by the Koch brothers. Veterans being cared for at the VA are not wealthy. They are those who served and now are the everyday people you pass on the street. Do not allow Congress to divert funds from the VA to the private sector, where that sense of community is lost and many problems are not understood.

Arlys Herem, Richfield

Commentary gave technology too much credit. Celebrate Sully's skill.

As a retired airline pilot and amateur glider pilot, I must raise an issue with the Jan. 13 commentary "Rescue remedy," about the "Miracle on the Hudson" — the emergency landing of a US Airways flight in 2009 — and how, according to the writer, a sensor developed in Minneapolis made it possible.

The ring laser, wonderful as it is, had no part in the success of the landing. The success of Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's landing in the Hudson River in New York was accomplished strictly by superb airmanship — that is, a natural feel for flying enhanced with a very great deal of experience. No type of equipment can add to that. The only important instrument in this case was the airspeed indicator. As a glider pilot, he had a great deal of experience in flying aircraft without engines. It was plain raw airmanship.

Frank Bacon, Edina

An era for redefining, not for surrendering, masculine honor

Steven B. Young's most recent retrospective on the effect of the 1960s upon the current state of American culture and politics ("This 50-year anniversary isn't all golden," Opinion Exchange, Jan. 13) seems quite similar to earlier articles of his. He repeats yet again that opposition to the Vietnam War split our country. Has he never considered that prosecution of the Vietnam War split our country?

He goes on to castigate Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Donald Trump as sons of the elite easily avoiding combat and "unwittingly" surrendering "their claim to be respected for living up to the ancient ideals of masculine honor." Well, I agree with Young's disgust for these men's lack of courage. I am even more disgusted by their silence on the issue once in office, when they might have been protective of others rather than continue the pace of military adventurism resulting in the needless slaughter of Americans.

Young continues his dirge for the death of American masculinity using gay rights, feminism and rock 'n' roll as foils for his thesis. He ends his message with a Latin phrase meaning "thus passes the glory of the world." Really?

It is ironic that this week we will be celebrating the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a major figure in the 1960s civil-rights movement who used Jesus Christ (guts and glory galore), as his model for a most courageous expression of masculinity. During a time when the popular American zeitgeist was based upon the idea that a "real man" would protect his family and friends to whatever extremes required to eliminate a threat, King and his followers forswore violence in any form when they were insulted, spat upon, knocked down or assaulted.

Mr. Young might do well to consider that the '60s, rather than being the death knell of American manhood, may have instead been a time of evolution when so many of us recognized the futility of employing wars of aggression to solve international disputes in a nuclearized world where millions can be killed in an hour.

Richard DeBeau, Northfield

Let's celebrate advances in art without denigrating the past

I'm writing to compliment Jenna Ross for her Jan. 13 article, "For a diverse new generation, poetry is a 'growth industry.' " I hope she'll accept it even though it comes from what she calls "an old white dude," of which I am one. Sorry — I can't help it. I can't do anything about being Caucasian and, as another old white dude — my dad — told me long ago, the only way to avoid getting old is to die, and I'm not yet ready to do that, at least not voluntarily.

I do, however, offer this lesson, learned long ago from yet another old white dude, a humanities professor who always introduced the work of old masters with their likeness, a painting or photograph, literally a portrait of the artist as a young man. His point was that before they became gray eminences they were young men fired by the myriad emotions and experiences that fuel art, that they were humans before they became icons.

It's great when any art form finds new audiences, new outlets, new forms. Let's celebrate that. But let's also literally watch our language, lest we disparage or minimize the value of any work of art merely because of where it came from, because all art ultimately springs from the humanity we all share.

Steven Schild, Winona, Minn.

Not a win-win, indeed

Thank you for the Jan. 13 article "Timber harvest isn't a win-win." I spend between six and seven months at my home on Ten Mile Lake in Cass County. The land contiguous to mine has been sold for logging by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. It is on a dead-end dirt road and on a lake loved and used by many for recreation. It is heartbreaking to know the forest is going to be logged. Definitely this is not a win for residents and tourists, and it is a big mistake for the DNR to think this doesn't matter. I would guess most Minnesotans love their forests and don't want so much logging.

Karin Arsan, Hackensack, Minn.

Strength by circumstance

The recent, dramatic conclusion of Jayme Closs' ordeal gives me hope in the future of America. Here's why: It was the triumph of "everywoman" over a determined and prepared predator. The three women (Jayme's pluck beyond her years has earned her the honorific) were selected by circumstances. Ms. Closs, presumably chosen by her predator for her beauty and grace, also had grit and steel in her character. She acted with courage and determination to seize her opportunity. She then recruited to her team Jeanne Nutter, who happened to be the first person she found. That woman acted boldly — in the face of considerable personal peril — to hustle Ms. Closs into refuge provided, again, providentially, by the third member of this ad hoc team, Kristin Kasinskas. She, calm and decisive, provided shelter and summoned the cavalry. All the while the predator was still at large, the risk apparent.

Most remarkably, these were not trained peace officers or first responders. They were women who happened to be where they were when they were. If America can produce three brave and resourceful women selected at chance, there is hope for our future.

James Watson, Maplewood