Joe Midzalkowski’s recent opinion piece was a breath of fresh air in today’s climate of fetid hatred and suspicion of the “other” ["Polk Perspective: The misguided complaints about the ‘polyglot’," Oct. 6].

As a second-generation citizen, I also remember a childhood where ethnicity and religion played no part in our choice of friends. The exception was race. The Civil Rights movement had not yet begun.

We were the only Jewish family in Richwood, West Virginia. My father died at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I still have the telegram sent to my mother stating that every business in Richwood closed on the day of his funeral. That letter is one of my most prized possessions. It harks back to a time of cohesiveness and acceptance.

Never in my 93 years have I seen such divisiveness in our country. Nothing is out of bounds. Mockery and bullying have replaced comity and respect. This downward spiral seems to have no end.

Thank you, Joe Midzalkowski, for reminding us what was and what we must strive for in our future.

Marilyn B. Signer, Lakeland