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Prayers and Condolences for the Kursk

Letters about the tragedy of the Kursk nuclear submarine continue to flood our fax and e-mail channels. We thank our readers for their thoughts and prayers. If you want to add your contribution, please write to the Opinion Page Editor.


As-Salaamo Alleichum - May the Peace of God be upon you,

We have been closely following the story of the Kursk tragedy via Moscow Times and other media. Our hopes and prayers have been with the sailors aboard the Kursk, and with their relatives and loved ones in this sorrowful period. We wish to offer our deep condolences to all the families and beloved friends of those brave sailors whose lives have been lost in this terrible tragedy.

More Kursk Letters
August 23, 2000
August 22, 2000
August 19, 2000

Click here to read our Special Report on the Kursk Tragedy.

In Islam it is taught, that the dangers of travel in the seas are a reminder of Gods' power over all of our lives. When faced with wind and wave at sea, we remember our limited strength in the face of the elements, and we are inclined to call upon God for help. When we are ashore, we are equally liable to illness, accident, or disaster. Ashore, we merely think ourselves to be safe; and we forget our constant dependence on Gods' Graces and Favor. Because God uses the forces of the sea to remind all mankind of the Divine Power, there is a tradition that those whose lives are lost at sea are the equivalent of martyrs, and that they are forgiven all their sins, and specially rewarded in the life hereafter.

We pray that God Almighty will have mercy upon the souls of all the men of the Kursk; forgive them their mistakes in this life; reward them greatly for their every good deed, whether accomplished or merely intended; and we pray that God will admit them to paradise, and grant them there a happiness which will erase every memory of any suffering. And we pray that God will send peace to the hearts of those bereaved by this sad accident, and ease their grief by increasing their faith: that although bodies may die, the souls of their beloveds await them in the next life. And may God have mercy upon all humankind.

As-Salaamo Alleichum, wa Rahmatullah wa Barakata Hu - May the Peace of God be upon you, and His Mercy, and His Blessings.

Imam Rashid Patch San Francisco, California


From this far away land, Argentina, I want to send my sympathy to the Russian people, mainly to those parents, wives, children and sisters and brothers. I can imagine how much they might have been suffering and how much they are suffering now because here, so far away, we have also been anxious and very sad, praying for a better end to this story. This means that peoples, we, feel all brothers and sisters and belonging to the same and only race: the human one. Don't allow history and governments kill these feelings.

Maria Elena Rey


One hundred eighteen dead -- the latest instance of Russia's turn to Western values.

Now there will be much talk about spending priorities of the Russian government. Away from the special interests and back to basics. But, meanwhile, the give-away of Russian industry to special interests goes on. This is called 'privatization' and capitalism. It is supposed to be good for the people. Was it good for the sailors of the Kursk? No. Do any of the common men and women of Russia own the International Monetary Fund? No. Wall Street does, however. In matter of fact, Wall Street is building a bigger navy while Russian sailors lie dead on the bottom of the sea.

Let me suggest that Putin and his government be paid by the American Central Intelligence Agency to be traitors to Russia. Putin and his government are doing such a fine job of drowning Russian soldiers, that they should be paid by the CIA, if they are not. Or perhaps they are just prostitutes for the Russian Mafia, who no longer get money from loyal soldiers who are not paid money.

No wonder the average Russian man and woman are bitter at their government for the tragedy of the Kursk. And I can hear the peals of laughter coming from the back rooms of Wall Street. Perhaps its solution will be to 'privatize' the Russian Navy!

J. E. Gilman

To the families and friends of the Russian submarine KURSK.

May you, in your moments of sorrow, gain strength from the thought that your men where among the finest brotherhood of sailors. There is a very strong bond between fellow submarine sailors, and we alone can really understand the true makeup of a man who sets to sea in such a vessel. To say they are courageous, heroic, highly intelligent, are all just mere words when one considers the environment that these men voluntarily choose for their vocation. These men are outstanding individuals, and unfortunately have paid the supreme price for following their hearts. May you rest at ease and have trouble no more.. Sailors, rest your oars...

Mark S. Carrig Ex STS-2/SS United States Submarine Service


Well, what I want to say may be it is not very satiable for the Russian government, but at the last I couldnt stand it at all.

Im foreign, a student in Russia and I finished my study this year (exactly before 2 weeks a go), Im preparing to continue my study in the USA after 2 months (I have an interview with the consul in the 1st of September).

I know that it is not my business to talk about what happened with the submarine Kursk or what is my opinion in this case, may be Im not expert in these cases but really I have so many opinion and many questions to the government of Russia.

In my opinion it wasnt only a chance to save the crew (or many of them), but it was so many chances that they can save them.

I cant image that they couldnt save the crew in deep 108M in my opinion it is not hard for the Russian rescue team even if they are not a professionals, and what is so strange that they didnt ask any help only when it was so late.

I believe that before Aug. 16 or 17 some sailors or many of them were alive, and lets say that even until now I believe that some sailors are still alive (of course the Russian government are thinking that all of them were killed by Aug. 14 or 15 AND AFTER THIS DATE).

Why the government didnt save the crew as soon as possible?

Keeping or removing their secrets FROM THE SUBMARINE before the foreign rescue team will come? Or it is the Russian conceit that no one on the earth can break it? The main question is why they didnt allow TV channels to be on the place of the disaster except one (RTR)?

May be I dont have the right to ask all these questions, but please think with me a little.

Is that right? The human in third place! (After keeping secrets about atomic reactors and military techniques!)

I think and it is my opinion in the same time that is only to think about the crew at first, how to save them, how to make a contact with them, how to think the right decision to save the crew. They knew that it is impossible to save the crew from the first or the second day, so why they didnt ask any help from the United States or Britain?

The TV channel RTR didnt show every thing that the others did, so why do they have right to be there?

Something else I cant get, they need a big money to pay for all relatives of the crew but they dont have this big money as I think, why the rich people (for example like Alla Pugachyova and the rest) cant give some money? ?? ?????, ??? ??? Why the government couldnt ask the New Russians for money? Or they dont have the right to do? But is keeping secrets and keeping the crew down in the cold water the right thing?

I knew that only some poor people and who felt so sad about what happened gave the money, and me too Ill send some money them but I dont think it is enough for all of them.

Sorry if I made you wasting your time with my opinions and my questions but I hope that you can understand me at least. I lived here about 8 years.

I felt that Im human and I could talk about what I want only in Russia. In our country we couldnt talk about politics or any situations happened before, because it is very simple we dont have the right to talk.

I cant tell you every thing but if you are interesting to know any thing please make your self-free and send e-mail about your interests or questions.

Bye and take care.

Yours faithfully:



Up to the very last, I hoped that a rescue of the crew could be made.

My sadness when the Norwegian divers found that the vessel was flooded is almost beyond ability to express. All my thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the all men who have been lost, and my heart goes out to all in Russia and the world who are touched in any way by this tragedy.

Any premature loss of life is a terrible thing. I think these deaths are especially tragic when one considers the fact that perhaps something more could have been done if help had been asked for earlier. Perhaps an international rescue may have met with partial success ?

This awful tragedy brings into sharp focus one of the fundamental issues facing our civilization. Until our absolute priority becomes the preservation and improvement of life for all, how can we really say that we are progressing in any way at all ? We have wasted half a century in pointless arms proliferation and military posturing - how many more lives will be lost needlessly before we learn ?

Andrew Walmsley
United Kingdom


As a past member of the United States submarine community my heart broke when I heard of the Kursk's tragedy. Now we have passed from tragedy to peace. The peace of men that have left our waters for heaven. We grieve for our Russian comrades.

Victor Acosta
New York City, New York

To the Russian People in Their Time of Grief:

Every day during the past awful week, I have spoken to many people here in Boston who have shared, hour by long hour, the Russian people's sense of agony over the sad fate of the young men on the Kursk.

So many of us here love Russia and its people--you have given us and the rest of the world so much of your beautiful life-giving culture, masterpieces of literature and music and art, that we cannot remain unmoved when such tragic deaths tear into your hearts.

I hope it will be possible for you to come to some understanding of the meaning of these terrible days. You have, all of you, survived a whole century of unparalleled terror and mourning. You have been so heroic. And now you must call upon that heroism to face the dreadful results of your horrible past: frightened and incompetent leaders who are themselves struggling to adjust to new ways of responding to human suffering.

I hope, too, that in the end you will find it in your hearts to forgive these leaders, who have so little experience with openness and democracy and simple compassion. They need time, so much time, and it may seem like too much time, to learn how to respond without fear and self-concern to the crying needs of the Russian people.

To the families and the friends of your young heroes, comes one American's hope that your grief will abate in the years to come, and that you may come to see that these painful deaths have not been in vain, but rather have served to waken all of Russia to the need for a responsible, responsive, and open community that will once more bring to you all the notion that some sacrifices happen for a reason, and that you yourselves can create this reason by bending all your great talents to the creation of a new Russia that will be a glory to the whole world.

Sincerely and with my Deepest Sympathy,
Allan J. Curran
Boston, Massachusetts


From all of us here at The Boeing Company

Edmund T. Allen Memorial Wind Tunnel in Seattle, Washington.

May we offer our prayers, and deepest condolences to the loved ones, families, and friends of those outstandingly gifted young men that so tragically lost their lives.

My only hope is that all peoples of our nations and throughout the world...learn something of value from this deplorable chain of events, and in doing so, these wonderful men, may not have died in vain. When will we ever learn?

Don Shultz
Seattle, Washington


I wish to add my own message to those that have already sent messages to the Family and Friends of the men who died on the Kursk.

I was married to a Royal Navy Submariner, and have lived the life of a service wife. My heart is breaking for the friends and family who these men have left behind.

Myself and other wives here have followed the story closely, and I wish to extend my deepest and most heartfelt sympathy to the families. We are all service families, wherever in the world we live. Although we cannot be with you in body, our spirits are with you, and so are our thoughts. There are friends for you, people you have never met, and maybe never will, but we are thinking of you, and praying for you.



I have been to Russia, and have seen that the Russian are just as we are They want a good life and Happy ness just as we do, I want to let the Russian families, who have lost a loved one on the Kursk that many Americans are grieving for your loss. With the deepest sympathy, I pray the Lord will help the Russian families and the Russian people, to over come their loss in time. It is a sad time for all of us.

Karl F. Reinbold
Palm City, Florida


Our thoughts are with the family members and friends of those brave men who lost their lives on the Kursk. This is a very difficult time, and we hope the Russian people can eventually find peace and recover from this terrible and tragic loss. Please know that although we cannot feel the pain you feel right now, we are deeply saddened by this event and the loss of your loved ones.

Valerie & Stasa Kovacevic
Washington, D.C. (& Serbia)


Please pass my condolences along to the families and fellow countrymen of the Kursk. My heart and prayers and tears go out to these people. I just returned from 2 1/2 weeks in Russia (my first trip) but certainly not my last. I found the PEOPLE to be friendly, warm, proud, giving and funny. They love to tell jokes. The PEOPLE were totally different from the impressions that our government gave us while growing up during the Cold War. Please let them know somehow that there are Americans that care very deeply about them. We should not allow our governments and our media to shadow our quest to learn, understand and care about each other. I'm really sorry that this has happened to the families of the Kursk.



I know that you have seen a lot of these but here goes.

I would like to add my voice to all those others in expressing my sorrow at the loss of the 118 lives aboard the Kursk. My wife was born in Kursk and I remember the kindness when we visited the city in the summer.

To the families I would like to say this. You will never forget your grief and the loved ones you have lost, everyone is trying to blame everyone else, but pray that some good does come from this tragedy.

Alister and Elena Greenway


As we rightfully mourn the 118 lost on the Kursk submarine, we should take time to reflect upon our feelings in relation to the current posture of our nations. No politician prompted the outpouring of concern across the globe for 118 Russian sailors trapped in a condition that evokes the most human of fears, and the resulting human compassion.

My first visit to Moscow brought out an eerie feeling as I realized that I was now the target of thousands of American nuclear missiles. My return to America was no more settling, as I recalled those friends my missiles still targeted.

The high level incompetence in this incident is universal. Why was my president more concerned with his legacy speech than with earnest dispatch of American assistance? We already know that Russian pride stands in the way of Russian progress, but a true American leader can offer help in a nonoffensive manner that could have been readily accepted by Russia. Russian incompetence in this matter is well-known and well-publicized and need not be recited here. Other nations stood in the sidelines with their hands in their pockets when they could have and should have helped.

This incompetence persists in another arena as well. I am no peacenik. I believe strongly in a strong American defense. But, if we are ready to mourn with Russia over the loss of 118 men, certainly we are ready to move toward a more personable and friendly relationship.

If our feelings of sympathy are so great, couldn't we do more for Russia? Russian pride is often born of Russian humiliation. Now is the time for the West to make the first move of outreach. If not at the highest levels, then perhaps such an incident as the Kursk sinking can spark a populist movement. Real leadership is what was needed most, and true leadership is what is truly lacking across the globe.

Chris Laurence
Thousand Oaks


Hello. I'm not sure whom I should address this letter to but I felt the need to write to somebody to express my feelings about the tragedy of the Kursk. There are times when I have to say that I'm at a loss - that I don't know what to say. Words can't convey to you what I feel inside. Silently, I send your people compassion and understanding. It's not the words that are communicated, it's the intention - the attitude of caring.

My name is Rod Parr and I am a writer based in Adelaide, Australia. I am writing a book about survivors of war, my research for this work has been extensive and much has yet to be done prior to completion. I have contacted war-affected people worldwide inviting them to reveal how their experience of war changed or influenced their own, and their families' lives.

It is a fact that a nation's memories are drawn to those who died in service - as is the case with the submariners who perished aboard the Kursk. For them the struggle is over - but for many veterans and casualties of war the struggle for living is sometimes harder, the inner conflict continues. I'm sure that it is like this for many Russian veterans and their families, particularly for those who have lost sons in Chechyna, or are serving there.

I feel a deep sense of sorrow for the ordinary people of Russia today - they have endured so much over the years, in one way or another. I feel my book would not be complete without stories from Russians who have shown such stoicism and valor throughout history.

Is there some way that you can assist me to gain these stories? I realize that language is something of a impediment, but I'm sure that can be overcome.

Thank you for any help in this regard.

Rod Parr


I just wanted to say how sorry I and all Americans feel about the Kursk disaster. It's too bad we have to spend so much time and money on defense; if we spent more energy on working together, both our nations would benefit and the boys of the Kursk might be alive today.

Charles Dillard


Please relay the following to the Family of the Men of the Kursk.

"Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view." Ralph Waldo Emerson

My deepest condolences to all.

Sincerely, and in prayer,


I have followed this most terrible event since the beginning and prayed for the men to be recovered. Words cannot describe the hope that all the world had for a safe recovery, but it was not to be.

I screamed to the heavens for their safety and waited each day for some good news as most Americans did. What must the sailors still serving on submarines be thinking? Will anyone ask them?

My heart goes out to all the families of the brave submariners and I pray that God will sustain them in their grief.



There is a port of no return, where ships may ride at anchor for a little space.
And then some starless night the cable slips leaving an eddy at the mooring place.
Gulls veer no longer, sailor rest your oar.
No tangled wreckage shall be washed ashore.
Leslie Nelson Jennings, "Lost Harbor."

In deepest sympathy
Douglas M. LaRock (EX) IC1 (SS)
U.S. Navy
USS Ethan Allen SSBN 608
USS Sea Owl SS405
USS Tecumseh SSBN 628
USS Volador SS405


I have been just one of many millions of people around the world watching the tragic events of the last week or so unfold, and held my breath in anticipation of a positive breakthrough for the men on board the Kursk, and their families. I have despaired, along with all Russians, at the delay at seeking international help. I fear, though, that even an immediate response may have still been too late.

In difficult times, and especially tragic times, there should be no "us & them" ... there should only be "us", one humanity who regardless of political or religious differences, geographic differences, seek to hold out a helping hand whenever possible. Indeed, this should always be the way. In some ways, as the days went on, I hoped that both your government, and those of western nations, would, through this tragedy, be able to reach out to each other in such a way that old wounds may at last have a hope of healing.

The ability to put old hurts and fears behind you and accept genuine assistance when it's offered, and the ability to likewise put those fears behind you and offer help, is something each individual grapples with at some point in their life, at some level.

My thoughts, and I'm sure the thoughts of all Australians, are with the Russian people, and particularly the families of the Kursk's crew members. We see your faces on our media, and we feel your pain.

I think of you. I wish I could do more.

Carol Duncan


To the families of the Kursk, and the people of Russia, I have followed with deep sorrow the loss of the Kursk, and my thoughts are with the wives, mothers, fathers and children, who are suffering a level of pain I cannot even imagine. The images of grieving families are hauntingly evocative of so many tragedies and sacrifices endured by the Russian people in the previous century. I feel much sadness that the new millennium has already brought new grief to a people who have already faced so much adversity. It will be of little comfort to the families, but their sorrow is felt, in some measure, across the world community.

Steven Hendrickson


My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those brave young men who lost theirs lives on the Kursk.

I expect all of us can learn more about how to prevent against this kind of accidents. This is the price we will pay for this tragedy.

God Bless you

Elias Mansur Neto
Belo Horizonte MG


It is with the deepest sorrow that I extend my condolences to the families of the men on the Kursk Submarine. I can only hope that with prayers and time that the deep wounds of loss may heal.

Melissa L. Lawrence
Kansas, USA


I would like to join millions of other Americans in expressing our sorrow and condolences for the Kursk tragedy. We have followed the events closely every day. Everyone I know thinks only how they would feel if it was their loved one lost in such a tragic accident. Our thoughts are with you.

Robert Sullivan

Dear Russian friends!

My heart goes out for the souls of the officers and crew of the Kursk.

May God grant peace to the Kursk families.

Dale Ara Nielsen Baronian (American Armenian-Danish)
Bakersfield, California


As a long-time student of Russian history, I followed the news of the Kursk with a feeling that I was watching a tragedy involving my own people in America. I know we offered assistance, and I know from my study of the Russian people, that if the tables had been turned, the same offer would have come from you.

Please accept my sympathies as an American citizen and admirer of the Russian people for your immeasurable loss. Tomorrow, on your day of morning, my staff and I stop our work for 118 seconds in memory of the brave sailors still on board the Kursk.

Phyllis A. Duncan
Alexandria, Virginia


I find it absolutely appalling that the Russian Government Officials did not accept the aid that was offered by other countries to possibly rescue the trapped the Russian submariners. What a waste of life. Why did the Admiralty not even admit to a problem initially???? Why would it not accept assistance from other nations?? Absolutely unbelievable!!!



I am so sorry that this tragedy has occurred. Please know many Americans have been crying over this sad event. May one day we all live in peace with each other, respecting our differences and sharing our hearts. I am sorry this has happened, may our countries become closer because of it.

God bless you all

Clarence-jon Heisler
Santa Monica, California


The Prayers of myself and my family go out to the sailors, May Jesus embrace them and hold them in his heart, ease their pain, and may he ease the pain of their loved ones until they can be reunited in the afterlife.

Steve Gordon
Stoughton, Massachusetts