From This Divided State:
Truly, I regret not sending them.
In the letters I told him that he didn’t need to fear so much about the generations of kids after him. That people like me still do care about things like Abraham Lincoln and Sacco and Vanzetti and Eugene Debs. Kids like myself (although I suppose I’m not much of a kid anymore) really did learn and care to learn from people as wise as he.
More importantly, he taught me how important it is to care about my fellow man better than all my years studying dogma inside an organized religion and that I didn’t have to believe in God to do it. He taught me the value of Christianity and the teachings of Christ without having to fall into the trap of all of the spiritual mumbo-jumbo that went with it. He taught me the optimism to see the essential decency in pretty much any human being.