Let me tell you what does concern me. Children starving in Africa. The TV news here almost nightly documents sights that will haunt me as long as I live. I saw starvation in Korea, but nothing like this.
With the misery, the degradation and slavery that confronts us all, I hope that all Americans will ignore the ignorance, snobbery and prejudice that will never quite be erased and concentrate on the alleviation of the lot of the oppressed throughout the world. It is here that our guilt and its cleansing must be found.
LIEUT. COLONEL FRANK A. REILLY
APO New York
Bravo on your article A Summer Hike to Share (July 22) by Rose Mary Mechem. The article and Hanson Carroll's fine pictures not only bring out the strong points in father-son relations but help to illustrate the need for conservation of our God-given country.
I am a Cub master for a pack in Italy and have a 7-year-old son of my own. While taking my son on a 25-mile hike (normal for us) up treacherous rock dominant in this country he said, "Come on, Dad, we have some mountains to climb." I'm still climbing.
JOHN H. COATS
FPO, New York
Someday, when one of your writers has the time, I would like him to write me a letter describing wherein lies the greatness of horse racing. I find the thought of intelligent men spending considerable time and effort to cultivate a breed of animals—beautiful as they may be—merely for their displays on a racetrack disgusting, to say the least. The people who persistently attend these races, with their concomitant squandering of supposedly hard-earned wages, present another point of disgust equally well.
The answer to my question is probably related to the fine and artistic tradition of horse racing as well as man's unavoidable compulsion to gamble. Such an answer, however, merely condones both the snobbery and selfishness of the rich as well as the easily curable "disease" of gambling.
The fact is that the world's priorities are changing. Sport's priorities are changing as well. We can no longer afford the aggrandizement of man's trivial activities and cults. Sport should be something that invigorates the body and builds character. It should not be considered the exclusive mystique of the rich, as is horse racing.
I'm gonna keep yelling my head off until someone like Ye Old Compleat Horseman answers. To wit: Is something seriously wrong with U.S. horse racing? Does pounding around the same dinky, iron-hard oval day after day hurt the horse? Break his legs? Drive him crazy? Has the whole scene been cheapened because distance racing has been curtailed?
And since today's Thoroughbred rarely goes more than a mile and a half or carries 130 pounds, how do you rate him? By money earned? Balderdash. Nowadays almost any run-of-the-mill plug can earn more loot in one afternoon than Man o' War could in a whole season.
I don't expect to get my answer from the Establishment. No. What I have in mind is the disinterested observer, the old-line horsy type who is in racing for the fun of it.