In his Sept. 17 letter to the editor, Tom Patterson requested an answer as to how America was greater in previous years.

Many of the things we needed were made in America. Innocent people were not being gunned down in the streets of Chicago. There was not an epidemic of people overdosing or walking around in a drug-induced stupor.

Major league pitchers could go nine innings. Children had respect for teachers.

We had presidents like Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton who would never bow to a foreign leader. These same presidents knew their job was to protect the American people and did not make excuses for those trying to kill us.

We had athletes who joined the services, not refusing to honor our flag. Ted Williams fought in two wars. Grown men did not wear their hats backward while dining in an upscale restaurant.

There was enough civility so that speakers with whom you disagreed could make their points without being shouted down or worse. Newspapers reported the news instead of trying to make news, and America was not in danger of becoming a welfare state.

Burton R. Epstein

Portland