At 9/11 memorial, new recognition for a longer-term toll (copy)

A rose rests next to a photo of New York City Fire Department Lt. Steven Reisman in the 9/11 Memorial Glade near the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Reisman searched through debris for remains on 9/11 and died years later, in 2014, of brain cancer. Research continues into the deaths of the many rescue and recovery workers who later developed illnesses.

9/11 memorial event

I was a participant in the 9/11 stair climb event in honor of the firefighters and other first responders who died on 9/11. I was honored to participate in an event that keeps the memory of those alive who made the ultimate sacrifice on that date.

I was amazed to see firefighters from various departments participate to show their respect and support. As I heard the sound their boots made when running up the stairs, I tried to think of the sounds of the many steps climbing the World Trade Center on that day.

Watching the firefighters in full gear on Saturday, I tried to imagine climbing up the 100-plus floors in full gear, trying to make it through the smoke and fumes, knowing that people were depending on them.

Not only did this event remind me of those who died in the line of duty on 9/11, I have the upmost respect for our firefighters and other first responders. Daily they encounter dangerous and deadly situations to save and protect others with the idea they may not survive.

Ann Febres, La Vista

Sex vs. gender

Robert Smith, with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, commented about a transgender woman running on a woman’s cross-country team (“The Y chromosome,” Sept. 7 Public Pulse).

He discussed the Y chromosome, specifically stating it was binary, pure and simple

Not so fast, my friend. Smith might want to consult with some of his colleagues in the genetics department at the university concerning his opinion, which not surprisingly didn’t discuss gender. He appears to confuse the terms sex and gender.

Sex is the chromosomal makeup of our DNA sex chromosomes. Gender is how someone identifies with those chromosomes, regardless of what they are. There are many chromosomal disorders where one’s genotype doesn’t “match” social norms of someone’s phenotype. One example is Swyer Syndrome. These individuals have a genotypic XY sex chromosome, and their phenotype includes female genitalia.

Regardless of the chromosome, gender is how people identify themselves, and it isn’t necessary that it matches social norms of a certain genotype. It’s important to understand the difference between sex and gender and not confuse or mislead others when discussing this topic.

Rex Moats, Omaha

Grateful to stores

I want to thank Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart for taking a stand on guns. It is that kind of courage that will save us from ourselves. I will continue to pray for the continued success and courage of these businesses.

Joan Scott, Macedonia, Iowa

Securing that gun

Kevin Bartels, a law enforcement officer, questions how “responsible” gun owners could leave their guns in their vehicles and still regard themselves as “responsible” (Public Pulse, Sept. 6).

He seems to forget there are places where firearms are not even allowed by legally licensed concealed-carry licensees.

What should do with one’s weapon if one wanted to enter such places? (Please don’t answer that sarcastically.) One would have little choice but to leave the weapon hidden and secured in a preferably locked vehicle.

Lock boxes can be secured to a vehicle’s floor, back seat, trunk or rear cargo area where weapons can be stowed. However, onlookers who happened to notice them doing it would immediately know the person was now disarmed and a firearm was in the vehicle.

An alternative is to stealthily hide the gun under the seat, in the console or the glove box, but those are the first places a thief is going to look.

Locked or not, windows can be quickly broken, and professional thieves don’t seem to have any trouble stealing entire vehicles.

To my way of thinking, legally concealed guns should never see the light of day from the time they are holstered and concealed in private before leaving home until the permittee returns home. The chances are the gun will never have to be used and therefore will never be displayed, but the bottom line is that it’s there and accessible in case it ever is needed.

That’s the whole purpose of concealed carry, isn’t it?

Dick Jugel, Omaha

‘Sweat’ a must-see

I just had the pleasure of attending “Sweat” at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

The acting was superb and content intense. I’m usually offended by crude language, but it was fitting for the time.

A must-see for anyone who loves plays.

Jeanette Dahlem, Omaha

America built by exiles

In his Sept. 7 Public Pulse letter, Joe Johnson Jr. says the poem on the Statue of Liberty is no longer “relevant” because the country has expanded as far as it can between the two coasts, and we no longer need people to do manual labor.

This curious theory ignores the fact that the U.S., like any modern nation, expands its economy to accommodate an increasing population.

Johnson could have dispensed with his unpersuasive economic theory and just submitted his contemptible last sentence, which is his real point: “We do not need any more poor, huddled masses, yearning to get welfare.” The notion that a person migrates to the U.S. for the sole purpose of seeking a handout is a slur against all immigrants, most of whom could teach native-born Americans what hard work really is. We need comprehensive immigration reform to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented residents and to permit workers to travel freely between the U.S. and their native country to work here, if that is their choice.

The eloquent words of Emma Lazarus are as relevant today as they were when placed on the Statue of Liberty in 1903. In her poem Lazarus brilliantly rechristened the statue the “Mother of Exiles.” We should remember that America was built by exiles. If we turn our backs on people for whom asylum is truly a matter of life or death, we risk losing our soul as a nation.

Patrick H. Brennan, Omaha

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