Readers Respond – May 7, 2016

A long-lost friend: Capt. Ron Rod
Palmdale, California

I have good friend who was born on Dec. 25 in 1965. I happened to think of that for some unknown reason and what  I was doing at that time of my life and remembering that I was a young physician in Vietnam just over one year after graduation from medical school at Marquette. I knew Ron Rod and just out of curiosity, I wondered if he and I had attended Mass on Christmas in 1965. As memory tells me, we did. I decided to see if I could find the date of his death, and therefore came upon your article of Nov. 18, 2015.

I was stationed in Quang Ngai, the so-called home base for U.S. Advisory Team No. 2. One of the “outposts” that I looked after was Duc Pho. In that capacity, I met Ron and we became friends, especially as we were both Catholic and attended Mass at the adjacent orphanage when he was able to make it back to “home base.”

One of the saddest duties I had was on a few occasions was to “receive” all those who were killed in our area. Ron was one of those, and with tears I accepted his remains and prepared him as best we could for transfer to his real home in New Orleans.

He and I enjoyed each other in the few times we had together having breakfast after Eucharist at the orphanage. I have wondered many times over the decades what happened to Ron’s wife and the wonderful children he loved to talk about. Your article was a blessing to me and fills one of those empty holes we accumulate over our lives. May God continue to bless all of them.

JOHN MANNING, M.D.

The sad billboards
New Orleans

Re: “As New Orleans turns 300, isn’t it time we grew up?” (April 2 Clarion Herald).
Many times coming to and fro from the airport I have seen those signs, and it’s a sad, sad commentary on our city. It’s time to wake up and, as you say, “Grow up!”

I was driving a bishop to the airport a couple of years back, and he saw one of those signs. I apologized for it, and he said, “We have sin in my city too! It’s not exclusive.”

Pray the rosary for those youth, and God bless Covenant House.

PHILLIP BELLINI

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