An eight-year-old girl named Virginia recently reminded me that Christmas is not about the presents wrapped under the tree or the dollars spent filling stockings. The season is about the magic that happens when normal humans believe in something extraordinary.

This Christmas, my family witnessed the amazing care and compassion of the doctors, nurses, technicians, pharmacists, patient care assistants, janitors, cooks, and staff at the Yale New Haven Health: Smilow Cancer Hospital.

My mother, who has had cancer four times in her 58 years, continues to recover from a double mastectomy with DIEP flap breast reconstruction. Her most recent complication sent her to the Emergency Department on Saturday afternoon, just as we started to celebrate the holiday weekend.

Although my mom thinks she ruined Christmas, she actually made it more meaningful. She made us believe in the love, generosity, and devotion of strangers, who spend time away from their own families to care for the families of others.

Eventually, we will thaw the stuffed shrimp from Anthony’s Ocean View and unwrap an Amazon Fire Stick or two. But this year, I want to share my gratitude for those in the healthcare profession. Thank you, Dr. Horowitz, Dana, Alex, and all of the others who have treated my mom. You will continue to make well the hearts of moms and sons for Christmases to come.

Patrick O’Brien

Milford

The people of Milford and the surrounding areas have no idea what a gem exists in our community. That gem is Milford Hospital, under the leadership of Joe Palaccia.

I have been a patient in Milford Hospital more than once. And, every time I’ve gone to the emergency room, I’ve had the most wonderful care. The doctors in the ER could not be more knowledgeable or more caring, no matter whom they are dealing with or what they come in with. The doctors give you undivided attention.

Recently, I was seen by a wonderful doctor, Dr. Adora Drye. The head emergency room doctor is Dr. Richard Grenier and on previous visits to the ER Dr. Michael Corius and Dr. Christopher Gennino have treated me wonderfully. These doctors are so knowledgeable. When I came into the ER this most recent time, I was frightened. There is no cure for my condition. I was frightened late last night and immediately Dr. Drye came in and put me at ease. She knew what was wrong. I did not have to be admitted. Sometimes I do if it’s real bad.

Milford Hospital handles you like you are the most important person in the world. No matter how busy that ER is it’s like you are the only person that exists. The care is wonderful. I just wanted to express my gratitude by sending in this letter.

Easter Miles

Orange

One of the Irish soldiers who experienced the World War I day of truce when the Germans came out of their trenches, waving white flags, and spent the day with their Irish soldier opponents, who they had been shooting at the day before, wrote about his experience.

For me the most powerful words were what he realized when the Germans returned to their trenches and were once again their enemies. "I realized we were the same at both ends of the rifle." I would also add that, as a surgeon, I can also tell you we are also all the same color inside.

Peace,

Bernie Siegel, MD

Woodbridge

There were a lot of problems with Geoff O'Neill’s recent letter to the editor, unfortunately I only have space to address three of his most offensive falsehoods:

The tragic assault by Israeli forces during the Six Day War in 1967 on an American vessel, the USS Liberty, has been a source of conspiracy theories since it occurred. Several government investigations have concluded that the attack was carried out in error. Furthermore, every piece of information declassified to date has supported this conclusion.

Many of the founding goals of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, including denying the Jewish people the universal right of self-determination - along with many of the strategies employed in BDS campaigns are anti-Semitic. Many individuals involved in BDS campaigns are driven by opposition to Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state. This dynamic can create an environment in which anti-Semitism can be expressed more freely. All too often, BDS advocates employ anti-Semitic rhetoric and narratives in their effort to isolate and demonize Israel.

However, O’Neil’s final point was far and away his least accurate and most offensive. Absolutely no comparison can be made between the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews. Nor can Israeli actions or policies be characterized as acts of ethnic cleansing or genocide. O’Neill has purposefully directed this charge at Jews in an effort to associate the victims of Nazi crimes with the Nazi perpetrators, and serves to diminish the significance and uniqueness of the Holocaust. To make such a comparison constitutes blatant hostility toward Jews, Jewish history and the legitimacy of the Jewish State of Israel.

Andy Friedland

Hamden

Assistant Director at the Anti-Defamation League's Connecticut Office

Because Progressive Liberals have long been champions of national and local wealth redistribution, I find John Stoehr's recent comments on the GOP tax reduction bill to be curiously conflicted.

Even though Stoehr admits that “middle-class taxpayers in blue states will probably see a slight decrease in taxes in the short term”, he now finds unfair a bill that removes only a portion of state and local tax (SALT) deductions from 'rich' blue state people to distribute more wealth to 'poorer' red state people. Does he view poor people in red states differently than poor people in blue states?

While remaining consistent with liberal thinking that everyone is responsible for a result, except the perpetrator of the act that caused it, Stoehr laments that as Connecticut sends more money to red states it can't spend on things like infrastructure, education and other programs the Connecticut citizens desire. It is moronic to suggest that Conservative tax reductions are now responsible for the lack of our state's direly needed financial resources. It is the effects of almost thirty years of Progressive Liberals leading our state legislature's profligate spending that has brought us the fiscal disaster Connecticut now faces.

He goes on to explain that “as a whole, Connecticut and blue states will see a net loss ... on top of an existing loss”. Although nothing is really going to change, Progressive Liberals are disappointed that they will continue to get what they desire!

To Stoehr and other Progressive Liberals like him I say, beware what you ask for, you may actually get it.

Michael P. Maturo

North Haven

The North Haven Democratic Town Committee has a strong history of long-term members with many years of commitment and experience. Moreover, we continue to encourage and welcome new members who wish to join our efforts in representing the array of ideas and diversity of participants that are synonymous with democracy.

We welcome discourse that reflects a broad range of background and a variety of opinion considered with careful deliberation and critical thought. It’s our goal not to simply chase your vote, but to hear your voice.

On Tuesday, January 9th, 6:00 pm at the Mildred A. Wakeley Recreation and Community Center, 7 Linsley Street, the North Haven Democratic Committee will hold its biennial Caucus. All Registered North Haven Democrats may participate in this Caucus. The purpose is to endorse candidates for membership in the North Haven Democratic Town Committee. If you have any desire to become a more active participant, please know you will be welcome.

Alden Mead, Chairman

North Haven Democratic Town Committee

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a place called “my childhood.” It was a safe place where no one could harm you and mom could solve every little problem in your world. We were poor by today’s standard; but mom always reminded us that we had it better than a lot of others.

Our galaxy consisted of one block, where everyone was either a real relative or a “cousin, aunt or uncle.” Once in a while we did stray a block away or around the block — only when we were feeling brave or adventurous.

Next door was the neighborhood grocery store, next to that was my cousins’ bakery (fresh, hot bread daily). After the alley were the icehouse, the six family house and another small store. Across the street was a factory and we knew most of the regulars by name.

Our job, (my brothers and me) was to gather cousins and friends and play anything and everything. Our hours were early morning till it got dark. We had to be home for dinner when dad got home from work. And one more thing — we had to be respectful to everyone. If someone called our parents to tell them we were disrespectful — there would be really big trouble with consequences.

At night, my parents, along with aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors would sit on the front stoops and discuss daily events and world problems. We were still playing until it got too dark. then we all went home, got washed up and were allowed to watch either “Uncle Milty,” Lucy, Ralph and Alice Kramden, or Sid Ceasar.

Our family ate meals together, watched TV together, went to church together, went to visit people (out of respect) together — what a different world.

Many, many years have gone by, but when I lay down to go to sleep, I go back to “once upon a time” — a time when things were simple and our biggest task was to come up with 10 cents for an ice cold Coca-Cola.

John A. Fortuna

Hamden