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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Thanking Russia for Flowers and Compassion

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Email the Opinion Page Editor

I am a teacher. An average American citizen placed in the same state of shock as all other Americans. My grief, anger, confusion and even denial seem to leave no room for other emotions. While trying to gather news and come to terms with changes in our world I saw a news clip of Russian citizens laying flowers in front of the U.S. Embassy. Each with tears in their eyes. I have never been to Russia. I have never left the United States. I have never longed to be in another country as I did at that moment to hug and to thank someone, anyone, for giving this disaster a bright spot. This note is to the people of Russia to thank them for their warmth.

Rice Strange
North Carolina

I felt I had to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Russian people for their expressions of compassion to the victims of this terrible act of inhumanity. Although I have no family or friends among the casualties, we are all affected by the devastation. It is 3:00 a.m. and except for going out and getting on the tractor (I live on a farm) for a little over an hour, I have been unable to leave the television set for the past 19 hours. I know our two nations have had their differences over the years, but the outpouring of compassion I have witnessed over the news from the Russian people brings home the fact that we're not that different. God bless Russia and God bless the wonderful people of Russia. I would like for you to convey my, and I believe it is safe to say all of my fellow Americans', gratitude.

Terry Webb
Piedmont, Missouri

I want to thank the entire Russian nation for not only showing solidarity with all Americans but with all civilized people of the world. As I write to you, I'm watching my local news in Los Angeles and 6,000 body bags have just been requested to the site of the towers. Everyone must remember that Russians, Africans, Central and Southern Americans, Asians, Europeans and so on were killed brutally and without reason.

My sincere hope is that both our countries can cooperate, work together, get over all our small disagreements and get on with the business of securing our world from terrorists.

George Jorochilov
Los Angeles, California

I am very interested in Russia and its people and culture. I plan to live there someday, after I graduate from high school. I have been there twice. Because of my interest in Russia, I read The St. Petersburg Times every week, and because of what is going on in the United States right now, I decided to read The Moscow Times to see how Russia feels about the terrorist attacks. I just want to say that I am very touched and happy to hear how much Russia cares about what is going on in our country. That means a lot to me, and I am sure I am not the only American who feels that way. Thank you very much.

Melissa Bays
Colorado Springs, Colorado

I wish to thank everyone who has sent flowers to the American Embassy in Moscow and who has thought and prayed for us in this terrible time. It means much to each and everyone of us who has seen the heartfelt sympathy and friendship from around the world. Thank You.

Chris Feistner
Villisca, Iowa

I am just an American citizen who would like to thank all the citizens of the great country of Russia for all the support and thoughts for the people of the United States in this difficult time. We are truly thankful for having Russia among the countries that we can call friends and allies in this very tragic time. I hope that in the future we will only become closer. God bless the people of Russia. Thank you.

Jeff Schwisow
Monroe, Washington

It's been 3 1/2 years since I left Russia to go to university in America. The morning of the attack, I was on my way to school. There was traffic as usual driving down the highway. It was a sunny, gorgeous day. I had a lot of worries on my mind, planning my senior year as well as the future.

All of that got wiped out after I heard the news of the first plane crashing into one of the towers. I can't explain how it felt. You feel totally helpless and lost. You definitely do not think about yourself and the plans you've made. I could not believe something like this could happen in America. The second attack just minutes later made it clear that it was an act of terrorism, an act of war.

Everyone in schools and offices was listening, watching the more and more surreal news and praying for those hurt and killed. It is odd. Manhattan looks like a war zone. It just does not make sense in this country. Some Americans think that there are other countries that are cheering. I believe the opposite, and it makes me proud of my people and my country when I see a chance for Russia to help America in any way possible. I am proud of my country. I believe that in this horrifying situation, Russia has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show the whole world that it can be relied on. I think every Russian person here in the United States feels the same.

I want to say thank you to all the Muscovites and other Russians who showed their support to American victims and their families. My American friends ask me if I think Russia will be supportive toward America. They believe that Russia is a country that actually could help in a lot of ways. I say, "Of course, I have no doubt. I believe my country would not let anyone down."

Here, on the other side of the world, we are hoping that no more attacks will happen. It is just too scary. It gives me goosebumps every time I look at the photos or watch the news. Lost fathers, sons, families ...

A few of us spent an hour today trying to donate blood for the victims of the attack. There were lines at the Red Cross center and hundreds of concerned citizens waiting for their turn to donate blood. I wish we could do more.

Natalia Kurtuchova
New York City

Please, as you read this, take a moment of silence this minute to remember and pray for the victims of the attack upon America. Thank you. We must be careful now of how we respond to this vicious assault upon the Free World as a whole, and when we do retaliate we must be absolutely sure about any evidence that points a finger toward any group and/or country. We must provide our evidence when it is gathered -- truthfully and completely for the entire world to see. To do otherwise would be playing into the hands of the people who have committed this act of aggression. America has a great responsibility that comes with being the most powerful country on Earth, and it must now provide an example for other nations to follow. The people responsible for this cowardly act of mass murder and destruction are certainly wondering at this time: "What are you going to do now, America?"

Freedom remains undaunted. Bravery is undeterred, and America still stands proud. Buildings and institutions can be replaced, and your many victims are now nestled safely and lovingly upon the palm of God. I feel at this moment that I could leave my home and go anywhere and up to anyone at all in my country or any other country in the Free World for that matter, and no matter who that person may be -- rich, poor, young, old, man, woman, black, white, Asian, whatever -- join them in saying, "We shall get through this great tragedy, and we shall become stronger because of it. My friend, we shall stand together." I also feel great hope for the future in knowing that we will never forget Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

Brad Westcott
New York

I would like to thank President Vladimir Putin and all of the Russian people for their support of the United States in our time of emotional need. We are strongest when we all stand together.

James Rettaliata
Baltimore, Maryland

My name is Igor Salnikov. Although I wrote the song "Autumn Generation" a long time ago, it came back to my head when I saw the New York bombing on television on Tuesday. Thousands of nice people from all over the world are gone. But they will stay with us. I have friends living in Manhattan and don't know yet what happened to them. I dedicate "Autumn Generation" to the memory of those who left us on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York.

Igor Salnikov
St. Petersburg

I frequently and thoroughly enjoy reading your articles. My great-great grandparents emigrated from Russia to America in about 1913 and I enjoy reading news from the "Motherland" if you will. I commend you on your articles and wish you luck in writing them in the future. I would also like to commend Russia and the Russian people for standing by us in this terrible time of tragedy.

Jeff Socks
Merrillville, Indiana

I am an American citizen, and I saw the response of President Vladimir Putin on television Tuesday after the attacks on my country. I wanted to say to the Russian people that I was touched deeply by his words. When he said, "We are with you," it gave me a very real sense of brotherhood toward all Russians. From the bottom of my heart I say thank you and may God bless the people of Russia.

Paul Douglas

I just want to thank the Russian leaders and the Russian people for their words of comfort for my people Tuesday, the worst day in my country's history. They were the first to speak out in support, and their history makes their words mean so much more to me. I think they know our pain better then any other nation. Thank you and God bless all Russia. You have friends all over my country, and I won't ever forget the words of comfort and support for my people.

Scott Alfei

I would like to thank the Russian people for the compassion they have shown to us in this dark hour. I believe we will one day be very close friends and great allies as never before.

Jason Riquelmy

I have been reading the stories and comments in your newspaper over the past two days, as have many other Americans, and speaking for Americans our heartfelt thanks should go out to the wonderful people of Moscow and Russia for their prayers. Over the past 10 years so many people from America have had the opportunity to visit Russia for the first time and discover how wonderful the people there are. We now have so many people living in America who have moved from Russia that the Russian traditions have become part of this melting pot we call America, and it is a wonderful experience for our country. The people of Moscow should know that all of America is aware of the prayers and well wishes that have come from Moscow and we say: "Thank you and God bless you."

This tragedy is very unfamiliar ground for our citizens, but the world is learning quickly that people who live in countries that are free are really one big society. We still have people in Russia who do not and will never trust the United States, as I am sure we have some in America who feel the same toward Russia. But the majority of people in our countries understand the relations between our governments and our peoples have just begun to grow. The future of our countries and our relations is very, very bright. We in America are very excited about the future of Russian-U.S. relations and when we see the show of sympathy by the Russian people at our loss it only makes us more certain our people will share a very special relationship. Thank you for your prayers.

Gary Dietrich
Charlotte, North Carolina

We Americans have been so lucky for so long that this makes me feel like we've just lost our innocence, if you can call it that. We always thought somehow that we were invulnerable, but of course we were not. No military defense system, no Star Wars -- nothing can stop this kind of attack. But somehow we still believed "it couldn't happen here." Our way of life changed today, forever I guess.

Dee Reid
North Carolina

Belarus Brain Drain

In response to "If Lukashenko Wins, They Will Leave," by Anna Uzelac, Sept. 6.

In your article on Belarus you emphasized a very important issue -- the emigration of young, skilled Belarussians from the country. Unfortunately, it seems to me this process is irreversible now that Alexander Lukashenko has won the election. His victory means that Belarussian society and the economy will be conserved as a Soviet-style preserve for the next seven years -- until 2008. For most young Belarussians in their early 20s it will be difficult to start a new life at the age of 30 when some change may happen (assuming that Lukashenko won't be re-elected again).

That's why they are leaving and, indeed, many have already left.

I am a Belarussian myself. I left the country in 1998 when I realized there was no future for me there. Most of my friends did the same: My address book is full of phone numbers in Britain, the United States, Canada, Israel, Germany, Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. When my best friends from school were thinking of doing a reunion we decided that it would be easiest to meet up either in London or in Boston -- so that guys and girls from both California and Moscow would attend.

Although the official figures for Belarussian emigration are low, in reality the figures are much higher. Most people are leaving on student or temporary work visas and, thus, are registered as emigrants from Belarus. Due to the existing propiska system they all are residents of Belarus, even if they do not actually live there. For instance, according to official statistics I am a Minsk resident, although in the last three years I have spent barely two weeks there on my way from Moscow to London and back.

If there is no change in the government's economic policy (and it is very unlikely there will be), Belarus may suffer another tragedy in its history. It has been depopulated so many times: by the Russian armies in the late 17th century, by the French in 1812, by the Germans in World War II. Now it may lose the best thing it has: its young, ambitious and skilled people who are heading in all directions but not in the direction of their native country.

Name withheld