Enjoyed the Death Valley article and video (lat.ms/1L8FiWg) ["Death Valley Comes Alive" by Christopher Reynolds, Jan. 25]. We visited Death Valley only a few months ago, my first visit since the '70s, and loved it. We were standing at the viewpoint at the western entrance, and my wife was describing the geology of the rocks across the ravine when an F-18 suddenly swooped down into it. It was followed by two more.
That shock aside, it is a stunningly beautiful place. I certainly will return.
I enjoyed the article about the events in England to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death ["A Force in War and Peace" by Roy J. Harris Jr., Jan. 18]. If one can't make it to England to see the sights, there is a wonderful museum in Fulton, Mo., the site of the 1946 Iron Curtain speech, that is dedicated to the life of Churchill. The National Churchill Museum is about a 90-minute drive from St. Louis and about two hours from Kansas City.
For all the good that Churchill did as cited in the Travel section, I cannot forget that he was the architect of the Bomber Command that erased the distinction between combatants and civilians.
He gave Arthur Harris, commander in chief of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command, permission to level as much of every German city as possible, thinking it would end World War II faster.
My mother, a Berliner, survived a flaming rain that ignited anyone or anything it landed on.
We should not forget that even great men have the capacity to be evil.
A Smart move
In October at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, I had an experience similar to one Josh Noel described in his article "Renting an Auto? Play It Smart" (More for Your Money, Jan. 18).
I made a reservation at Advantage Rent a Car. I tried a class the company called "Advantage Picks the Car," for a total of $177.89.
When I got there, the agent told me I would get a Smart car. He said I probably wouldn't want that, then offered me a vehicle for $100 more. I wasn't so sure I wanted to be stuck in a Smart car for the next few days, so I reluctantly agreed.
When I went to the parking area, I noticed there weren't any Smart cars. I asked an attendant about it, and she said the agent had been doing that to a lot of people and that I should talk to the manager. I went back and demanded to know where the Smart cars were.
After some back and forth, they ended up giving me a Toyota Yaris for the original price, which is very small but definitely a lot bigger than a Smart car. They never did come up with the Smart car.
In the end, I was happy with the Yaris; it was all of a week old with only a few hundred miles on it. Win!