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Readers respond to "Walking to Paris'

Walking to Paris is definitely one of the most interesting and well written narratives I've had the pleasure of reading in a long time. Your presentation of the very difficult subject matter was low keyed but nevertheless not lacking in empathy. This reader could almost feel the hopelessness conveyed in the story, but not in a maudlin manner. Well done!

Betty Lauschke, Clearwater

Thank you so much for starting my day with a most unflattering photograph of Jim Miller in the Floridian section. Perhaps you could have at least had him in a pair of shorts for this Fruit of the Loom shot, or changed the camera angle a bit.

Gena Halpin, Safety Harbor

Thanks for a well written series. I remembered the news report about Jim Miller's accident and often wondered how he was afterward. So often the news programs let us know about disasters, but then we never hear more about the people who have suffered such traumas in their lives.

Janet Barry, Lecanto

What a sight! Try to read a newspaper and have breakfast while looking at graphic pictures of a poor, unfortunate accident victim's amputated limbs on Sunday, and his male anatomy in jockey shorts on Monday!

The story line is well done and enlists much sympathy and empathy for Jim Miller and his efforts to walk. The photography is much too explicit for this newspaper. Why couldn't he have donned some appropriate clothing before the photo session?

Barbara Leritz, Clearwater

In regard to your recent series Walking to Paris, a simple question: Why? What's the point? Don't get me wrong, I have tremendous empathy for Jim Miller's situation. No doubt, he has been dealt a horrible hand. After reading the series, however, I find I have little empathy for the man.

Were we to find this man's story heroic? Are we supposed to feel better (about ourselves, the world or anything else) after reading the series? I experienced none of this. Only a burning desire to know why the Times felt it necessary to dedicate so much ink and paper to the story of an obviously conflicted man.

Is his plight really much worse than what many of us face each and every day? Many of us wake each day to the challenge of handicap, chronic illness or other obstacles and infirmities.

I only wish the best to Mr. Miller, as he continues his struggle. At the same time, I wonder what the Times had in mind.

Howard Posner, Tampa

In July 1944 my brother, Odell Vaughn, stepped on a land mine near Pisa, Italy, and lost one leg above and one barely below the knee. He believes GI amputees had a great advantage over men like Jim Miller. Odell was in a ward full of men with the same problem.

If a guy felt sorry for himself, he was teased out of it. They supported each other as they learned to use the terribly heavy limbs available in those days. Some gave up and took to wheelchairs. Most, like my brother, stored the chairs. Odell started as a VA receptionist at the Don CeSar and rose to become Deputy Administrator of Veterans Affairs (and Acting Administrator during the transition between the Carter and Ford administrations).

He had to travel a lot, and still does for pleasure. Of course at age 80, he sometimes has to resort to chair or electric scooter, but he's up on his feet most of the time, even when it hurts.

Congratulations on a well researched and well written series.

Bob Vaughn, Oldsmar

Thank you for your straightforward creative reporting and writing with unusually good use of photojournalism. The touching tenacity of Mr. Miller is heartfelt. His story is a gift.

Philip Morgan, Tampa

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