Surely I was in Boonville, Mo., with Catherine Watson as I read about Missouri's role in the Civil War ["Conflicts of Interest," April 10]. As an immigrant, I embrace the great legacy of the Confederates and Union armies with sincere thanksgiving, honor and tears. Long live America.
I've never been able to understand the fascination this country has with reenactments of Civil War battles ["Call to Arms Again," April 10]. Those who support these events would probably say they are paying tribute to American history through these reenactment battles. My question is why. The Civil War was not this country's finest hour, with thousands of missing, dead or disfigured for life; a horrible economic backlash; the rise of the Klu Klux Klan; the destruction of family units; and an estimated 618,000 dead. Why celebrate something like this?
I'm by no means a pacifist. I realize that war (for better or worse) has and will be a part of our history. But with what is going on right now in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, I just don't understand how adults can play simulated war battles and feel good about themselves.
London travel on a budget
Regarding "Save a Quid?" [On the Spot, April 17]: I was astonished that neither Catharine Hamm nor any of experts mentioned the Premier Travel Inn chain (http://www.premierinn.com/en). It has 590 hotels in the United Kingdom and more than 20 in and around London (plus Heathrow). I enjoyed my stay at the London County Hall, which is adjacent to the London Eye and across the river from Westminster. (A room there is shown on its website as costing 69 pounds, or $112). I've recommended the chain to friends, who have been pleased. The properties are highly rated on TripAdvisor.
Twice in the last two years we have seen the value of trip insurance. In 2009, we had planned an Italian land tour with Gate1 Travel.
A few days before the trip, our adult son, who was to accompany us, was hospitalized with severe strep throat. Because we had cancel-for-any-reason coverage, we were able to get back our money. Other than providing a letter from our son's doctor, no questions were asked and the refund was prompt. Our local travel agent — R&R Travel in Seal Beach — was a tremendous help in negotiating this.
In 2010, we planned an Aer Lingus vacation to Ireland. The morning we were to fly to Dublin, the volcano in Iceland grounded all air traffic to Ireland. Because we had Aer Lingus Travel insurance, our money was eventually refunded and we were not required to rebook. Our advice on travel insurance? "Don't leave home without it!"