Your article about Jessica Savitch (PEOPLE, Nov. 7) could have been a tribute to a gracious and talented lady. Instead, it was a hatchet job based on innuendo and the statements of disgruntled ex-associates. Jessica would have been the last person to claim she was a saint. But this hardworking journalist who cared deeply about her profession and her friends deserved far better than you gave her. When Jessica and I co-anchored the news in Philadelphia several years ago, a columnist took a couple of unfair shots at her. I reminded Jess then that the only way anyone can stab you in the back is if you're out front. Maybe that's why she was an easy target.
The worst discrimination against Jessica Savitch took place after she died. When Frank Reynolds passed away a few months ago, all anyone could do was sing his praises. No cocaine, professional incompetence or personal problems for him. Miss Savitch, instead of receiving equal respect, was doubted in every way. It's a shame we can't treat men and women equally in life, or in death.
Silver Spring, Md.
Marines in Lebanon
I was very distressed by your suggestion that I once supported the presence of U.S. troops in Lebanon. The report is unequivocally false. I have opposed from the beginning, and continue to oppose, the involvement of the Marines in Lebanon. My opposition has been publicly stated many times. I expressed my disapproval in two letters to the President in July and September of 1982 and on the floor of the Senate in September of this year. I voted against the Senate resolution to extend their stay for 18 months.
Sen. William Roth (R-Del.)
Your reporter and photographer who asked permission to stay at our house as we awaited news of the living and dead on the Sunday of the Beirut massacre were respectful, caring and considerate individuals, not to mention extremely professional. After several minutes, we lost complete awareness of their presence, except when they occasionally asked a question or requested a detail.
It may interest people who are now objecting to the way that the news media covered the tragedy that it is not us, the parents, who are doing the complaining. We want our anxiety and our grief shown to the American public, who tend to forget that a massacre is more than just a body count. The people who object to this coverage have only an economic or political stake in the outcome of this conflict, and their criticisms are the most selfish and greedy I have ever heard. When my son called home to let us know he was safe, the first thing he said was, "Tell Dad I'm wearing my DAMM-MAD button." The debate has started. I have every confidence that the public will speak its voice during the next election.
Thomas L. Little
Thomas Little is the founder of the organization DAMM-MAD ("Dads Against Military Maniacs—Mothers Agree Defiantly").—ED.
Rita Hay worth
My mother has Alzheimer's disease, and we cared for her at home until a year ago, when we had to put her in a nursing home. I was appalled to read that Rita Hayworth's friends no longer visit her because of her illness. We see my mother twice a day, and, while I am too realistic to think she will recover, I believe that frequent visits help an Alzheimer's victim and enhance her life. For me, being with my mother is enjoyable. Although she may not say much, her smile is worth a million words.
Brigid Marie Griffin
Do you know of an organization that provides information about Alzheimer's disease?
Kansas City, Mo.
For information about the illness and support groups for the families and friends of those afflicted with it, write to: Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association, 360 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, III. 60601 or call 1-800-621-0379 (in Illinois, dial 1-800-572-6037).—ED.
Picks & Pans
It's About Time is one of John Denver's best albums to date. The music is beautiful, and, lo and behold, you can understand every word. Perhaps your critic's ears have been so damaged by the noise that passes for music today that he can't appreciate the good stuff when he hears it.
An article like the one about Tim Curran, the Eagle Scout denied the right to become a Boy Scout troop leader because of his homosexuality, was long overdue. Perhaps now, with the help of the California courts, people will finally realize that job qualifications do not include sexual preferences. As a member of the straight community, I would be offended if turned down for a job I truly wanted just because the interviewer was gay and knew that I was not.
Your article on Tim Curran was such a bore. Are people in San Francisco actually still marching for gay rights? What is so important about being gay? I've been gay for 30 years and have never found anything important or unimportant about it. In my opinion, no one has discriminated against Timmy Curran. He has discriminated against himself. I wonder when people are going to cease running around screaming to the world that they are gay and get on with their lives.
Palm Springs, Calif.
By his forthrightness, Tim Curran has proved himself worthy of being a leader in his community, and his gay lifestyle need not interfere with his job as a Scout leader. How many prominent gays go undetected? Tim didn't try to hide his homosexuality—give him credit for that.
Sue Heslinga Saliers