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Letters from Readers

November 2014
Letters from Readers

An immigrant’s call to service

I am an attorney, a mother of two small children and a recent graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. I am also a veteran who had the honor of serving alongside some amazing men and women as a JAG officer in the United States Navy.

I’m as unlikely a military officer as you will find. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from India over 40 years ago, and I immigrated a few years later. We come from a caste of merchants, not soldiers; so when I wasn’t in school, I spent my time working in my family’s convenience store. Military service was never even a topic of conversation in our home. So, you can imagine my parents’ surprise and confusion when, in high school, I told them I had earned a competitive nomination to West Point. Not knowing anything about military service, they vetoed my plans.

But a few years later, when a Navy recruiter visited my law school campus, I signed up.

It certainly wasn’t the most lucrative path I could have chosen. But in my heart, I knew I had to give back to the country that had so generously opened its doors to us and allowed my parents to lift our family out of poverty.

This time, my parents thought I was crazy. “The Navy?” they protested. “You don’t even know how to swim!”

But thanks to the YMCA, I learned how to swim. And when my parents later saw me in uniform, and saw that I was a part of something greater than myself, they could not have been prouder.

I’m often asked why I chose to serve. I knew even as a high school student that it was important to serve, but I’ve struggled in articulating why. … The truth is there is no guarantee that the rights that make us American—and the values that underlie them—will endure. Anyone who wants to ensure that those rights and values are passed on to the next generation must serve a cause greater than his or her own self-interest, be it in the military or otherwise.

Deval Zaveri
by email (also published in The Huffington Post)

The past will always shore us up

I just read this again, after Tweeting it earlier (“Let’s Preserve Our Stories” by Franklin Abbott, October 2014). The sense of “community” I’ve felt personally with Franklin Abbott is already here, but I love that he shared an even larger voice in this essay. My own mother is in hospice at this writing, and I continue to jot down notes. Bits and pieces of the past will always shore us up, by allowing us perspective. Thank you, Franklin, for reminding us that we all have stories, worth telling.

Lisa Nanette Allender
online comment

Why not burn old temple calendars?

This is in response to Dr. Gopal Veerasamy’s letter (“Do temple calendars belong in the trash?” October 2014). God lives in our hearts. When we realize God in our heart, He is everywhere. I understand the dilemma of throwing away the God’s pictures in the trash. May I suggest to burn the used calendars in the fire.

T. Nagendran, MD, FACS
by email

Understanding begins when stereotyping ends

“Racism and South Asians” (Editorial, October 2014) is a good point to discuss. South Asians are stereotyped as grocery store/gas station owners, hotel or restaurant owners. I’m a South Asian and I feel sometimes it’s better to be a black or white in the USA, not a brown. You get all the attention if you are on the extremes, but go unnoticed when you are in the middle. That’s my personal opinion…I’m not debating anything.

online comment

What’s on YOUR mind?

We welcome original, unpublished letters from our readers. You could either respond to a specific article in Khabar or write about issues relevant to our community. Letters may be edited for length and other considerations. Longer submissions by readers may be considered for the “My Turn” column.

Email: letters@khabar.com • Fax: (770) 234-6115.

Mail: Khabar, Inc. 3790 Holcomb Bridge Rd. Suite 101, Norcross, GA 30092.

Note: Views expressed in the Letters section do not necessarily represent those of the publication.


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