Readers Respond to the March 2023 Issue

Your feedback on World War II heroes, baby puffins and more

A Vital Mission

Message Received” (March 2023) is an amazing story. What wonderful, patriotic and courageous women made up the 6888th. Thank you to all the people who brought the story the honor it deserves. It is heartwarming to see progress, finally. —Lois Rodenhuis | Dover, New Hampshire

I was filled with wonder and gratitude for the 6888th, who surely helped my father, Ray Cooke, survive World War II and even opt to remain in France for further training after the war in Europe ended. My Aunt Jean saved every letter from Ray. In 2022 I opened and read them after they had spent nearly 80 years untouched. He never failed to mention her letters and gifts from home. They meant so much to him. —Mary Cooke | Cove, Oregon

Puffin Patrol

As charming as it was to read about children up at all hours searching with flashlights for disoriented pufflings (“Make Way for Pufflings,” March 2023), I found myself asking what the townspeople are doing about their nighttime lighting, which is the cause of the pufflings’ disorientation. While the townspeople cannot by themselves alter the effects of climate change on ocean conditions, they can do something to diminish nighttime lights. That would have given me more hope about the puffins’ long-term survival. —Mary Barrett | Silver City, New Mexico

How utterly inspiring to read about this community dedicated to these baby puffins. The birds are so precious, and to see such young people—well, people of all ages—give the baby puffin an extra hand is heartwarming. It is lovely to know that this is happening generation after generation. —Beverly A. Fordham | Port Angeles, Washington

The touching puffling article glossed over the fact that, while puffin-hunting is illegal in Norway, it is still permitted in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Even though they are cute, puffins for Icelanders also mean “food.” It is common to hunt them in Iceland and the Faroe Islands for their meat, feathers and eggs. Visitors can actually order them in many tourist restaurants in Reykjavik, usually smoked to taste almost like pastrami, or broiled in lumps resembling liver. —Phyllis Thompson | Houston

Resisting the Nazis

The Vienna Agent” (March 2023) told the story of Muriel Gardiner, the only American woman in the Austrian Resistance. It’s also worth remembering Mildred Fish-Harnack of Milwaukee, who accomplished much in the German Resistance. An author and educator, she—along with her German husband, Arvid Harnack—was active in a resistance group known as the Circle. They both were executed in a Nazi prison. Fish-Harnack’s work is detailed in the 2021 book All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days by Rebecca Donner. —Bern Enright | Brookfield, Wisconsin

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This article is a selection from the April/May 2023 issue of Smithsonian magazine

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