Encourage generosity to charities

The holiday season is the season of giving. It embodies the spirit caused by an enhanced focus on religious and familial connections at this time of year. For charities, it is also the season of giving, a critically important time of year when donor generosity is counted on to help advance the mission of worthy causes. Individuals expand their generosity to benefit the human needs of their fellow citizens. It is a truly inspiring phenomenon, and one which has long been a part of the American experience.

Since the Revenue Act of 1917 created the charitable income-tax deduction, this nation has officially encouraged Americans to support charitable organizations. This deduction created a tradition of giving that strengthened the educational system, expanded access to health care, and helped foster a greater appreciation of the arts. This deduction is like no other. According to Independent Sector, "The charitable deduction encourages behavior for which taxpayers receive no personal tangible benefit and . . . is a means of enriching communities, rather than individuals."

As governmental leaders debate ways to avoid the fiscal cliff, they should reject proposals that limit or devalue deductions for charitable giving ("White House, charities spat," Dec. 14). Rather, in the spirit of our American tradition, leaders should encourage individuals, regardless of income or wealth or social status, to be generous in their support of our nation's charitable organizations.

Stan H. Retif, president, Association of Fund-raising Professionals, Greater Philadelphia Chapter, Lower Gwynedd

Charities right to be upset

It is quite understandable that charities are upset with the suggestion that the charitable tax deduction may be changed. It would decrease the amount of funds they would have available for the humongous salaries for administration, for lobbyists, and for other frivolous expenditures. I, too, would be upset if my golden goose was taken away. Of course, the Post Office would also be upset if charities didn't have enough money to send weekly mail solicitations for donations to my mailbox. Can we create a federal "do not mail list" to go along with the "do not call list."

Arnold Molotsky, Cinnaminson

Defenders of freedom

I thoroughly enjoyed Seymour I. "Spence" Toll's reminiscences about the Battle of the Bulge ("Human cost of WWII still sears 68 years later," Sunday).

At the age of 21, my father Seymour Friedman was a copilot of a B-24 that flew 35 missions over France and Germany beginning in July 1944. He and the other nine members of the crew put themselves in harm's way 35 times, with some harrowing encounters. During their last mission they had to fight off the new German ME262 jet fighters.

My father died in June, and was buried with full military honors. When the Air Force honor guard knelt in front of us and presented the flag to our family with the words, "on behalf of the president of the United States and a grateful nation, thank you for your father's service to his country," I wept uncontrollably.

Let us never forget the brave men and women who continue to put their lives on the line every day to protect the freedoms we should all cherish.

David C. Friedman, Lafayette Hill