updated 02/25/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/25/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST
Responding to the Feb. 4 issue of PEOPLE, readers were moved by Elizabeth Glaser's harrowing struggle with AIDS and the loss of her daughter, but almost unanimously without sympathy for soldiers who went AWOL rather than participate in Operation Desert Storm.
I wept while reading about Elizabeth Glaser's courage and perseverance in the fight against AIDS. This past summer our 12-year-old daughter was tested for HIV after receiving blood transfusions in 1982 for open-heart surgery. The very real possibility that our daughter could have contracted AIDS hit us like a ton of bricks. Fortunately for us, she tested negative. Fortunately for America, Elizabeth Glaser has turned her own tragedy into a crusade to fight this deadly disease.
This week's cover story touched me deeply. Not only is Elizabeth Glaser a constituent of mine, but also a good friend. Her courageous battle with AIDS and her valiant efforts to carry the torch for children affected by the disease have already changed the lives of many. There is no absence of angels so long as she is involved in the fight against pediatric AIDS.
House of Representatives
Thank you, Mrs. Glaser, for sharing your story with the world. It really has benefited those of us whose ignorance about AIDS makes life impossible for people like you.
The photograph in which I am seen presenting a donation to Mrs. Glaser and her husband for their foundation is a moment I will cherish. You mentioned that the award was given on behalf of a Manhattan hospital. True, but not just any hospital—St. Clare's, the first hospital to publicly welcome people with AIDS. The Glasers were chosen to receive the award and donation given in my name because of their demonstrated courage and determination to fight this epidemic and its accompanying plagues of indifference and fear. Just as St. Clare's has opened its doors to people like Elizabeth and Paul, so they in return have invited us into their world. Thank you for the compassionate window you have opened on that world.
New York City
I was crazy about Paul Michael Glaser when I was 14 years old. I would look at pictures of him with Elizabeth and say to myself, "What does he see in her?" Well, now I know.
How can you have conscientious objectors in an all-volunteer army?
So Yolanda Huet-Vaughn considers the gulf war immoral! What does her moral code say to someone who "joined the reserves as a way of paying for medical school," then "just walked out the door" when faced with the reality of the job she signed on to do?
Carmel Valley, Calif.
My little brother is with the 82d Airborne. His division was one of the first to arrive in Saudi Arabia. When a ground attack happens, he will be one of the first to hit enemy lines. Those who chose to stay behind call themselves conscientious objectors; my family and I call them what they are—cowards. If my little brother dies, I will never forgive any one of them.
S. Marie Stoneham
To those AWOL soldiers: It's good to know that we do have brave men and women willing to fight for this country, even if you're not among them. And if you can't support and defend your country, then you don't deserve to live here. Don't come back.
Maureen J. Heier
When allied POWs are compelled to appear before Iraqi cameras, Americans scream bloody murder, citing the Geneva conventions. Then the same pictures are repeatedly displayed in magazines and newspapers throughout the country. What's the difference? Just because they are published by "friendlies," are the pictures any less humiliating and degrading to the prisoners and their families?
Ian M. Sutherland
PICKS & PANS
David Hiltbrand's focus on my attire on NBC the first night of the war was stunning. Pulled out of an aerobics class by an urgent call from NBC to provide Middle East analysis, I rushed to the studio in a turtleneck T-shirt, a "no-designer" red scarf and a simple navy jacket—in Hiltbrand's view, a "wildly" too-glamorous outfit. Oh, that it were, and next time I'll try harder. But what about my remarks on the tragedy of war. sir? Were you too dazzled to listen?
Joyce R. Starr