Mailbag

updated 01/14/2002 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/14/2002 01:00AM

United Stars of America
I haven't seen my baby brother, Sgt. Daniel J. Murray, who is stationed in Italy with the 173rd Airborne, for almost a year. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to open my issue of PEOPLE and see him being sung to by Jessica Simpson. Thank you! And thank you to all the stars who are doing a great job of entertaining the troops.
Andrea Heavey, Hopkinton, Mass.

How fantastic to see George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Tom Cruise on your cover as they greet our soldiers overseas. I spent 12 years in the Army, and I will never forget receiving a hug and a kiss on the cheek from Suzanne Somers, who was with a USO show in Seoul, Korea. I was floating on cloud nine for months afterwards.
Paul Roberts, Elk Grove, Calif.

Although I applaud the stars for saluting the troops, I wonder why it took a war for them to reach out. Most people don't know (or choose not to know) the sacrifices service people and their families make every day. With the exception of Mr. Newton, where has new Hollywood been?
Sharon Steelhammer, Clyde, Calif.

I served in the U.S. Navy from 1974 to 1994, and 12 of those years were served overseas. My total celebrity experience was meeting Harry Chapin in 1977 in Naples. Unlike today's celebs, he toured European bases in a van for several weeks and played to thousands. Not many celebrities were touring or supporting the troops in those days. And not many toured for the next decade. I hope this support for our service people, who sacrifice in so many ways during peacetime and war, will continue far beyond this recent patriotic revival.
Tisa McKim, Cypress, Texas

I was very happy to read that such big names as Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, George Clooney and J.Lo are doing their part to show appreciation for our armed forces. I've been to most of those places mentioned in your article during my four-year enlistment, and I was not lucky enough to see or meet any stars. The truth is, the people in the armed forces were sacrificing as much before the Sept. 11 attacks as they are today. I understand that the losses our nation suffered have brought about patriotic feeling for many Americans. I just hope that everyone, including big Hollywood stars, continues to show appreciation even after this conflict is over, because the armed forces will still be there, sacrificing.
Jennifer Cembrano, Union City, Calif.

I am completely disgusted with Jennifer Lopez. While everybody else overseas is, comparatively, roughing it, she stayed at a five-star hotel! What a wench! You'd think she was Barbra Streisand!
Davin Kuhl, Denver, Colo.

It warms my heart to see so many entertainers taking the time out of their busy schedules to extend themselves to our servicemen and women. They deserve thanks and recognition.
Loriann Zello, San Angelo, Texas

Up Front
As a mother who lost a daughter to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, I hope Sophie and Prince Edward take the time to acknowledge their lost child and express their feelings, no matter what they may be. I urge their family and friends to give them love and support. Sometimes when you lose a child, you just need a shoulder to cry on.
Tracy L. Smith, Fayetteville, Ga.

Controversy
Give me a break! I'm tired of public officials speaking gently about the American Taliban John Walker. They act as if he was just a troubled kid caught drinking. The fact remains, like any other good terrorist, he trained with al-Qaeda and then fought with the enemy against our country. Brainwashed or not—sounds like treason to me!
Tammi Stewart Dahle, Birmingham, Ala.

Madonna
I am writing on behalf of my son, Jim Albright, who was mentioned in your Nov. 12, 2001, cover excerpt from Andrew Morton's book Madonna. Many of our friends have questioned the information about Jim's ethnic background. To tell you the truth, it was a little embarrassing. My son is of African-American, Native American, Polish and Irish heritage. Being children from an interracial marriage is very important to both him and his sister.

Jim was also misidentified in one of the pictures in the excerpt. I am sending along a correct photo of him with Madonna. Thank you.
Jane Albright, West New York, N.J.

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