updated 05/19/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/19/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Thank you, People, for bringing one of the world's most fascinating women into my mailbox! Madonna is always welcome. It goes to show that all celebrities are not created equal. She may not be the best singer, dancer or actress, but I think Madonna makes a great mother and human being.
Manuel Verge, TORONTO, ONT.

If Madonna is always surrounded by controversy, it's because people don't take the time to try and understand the message she is trying to convey. People look at what's on the surface and don't bother to open their minds. I've grown up with Madonna, and it's been quite a trip, but I have learned a lot. I've definitely grown as an individual just as Madonna's music has matured. She is an incredible artist. So to all of the critics out there, be nice. It's all about karma. Love her or hate her, Madonna is here to stay.
Lance Brammer, SOUTH POINT, OHIO

I found your latest article about Madonna insightful. It's interesting how someone who claims to be so centered on spirituality and knowing the difference between good and evil sings songs about murdered unfaithful wives.

I can't believe that you wasted your cover story on Madonna's life. She may be a talented singer, but her morals are severely lacking. I have one question: Would you want your little girl to look up to Madonna as a role model? I promptly threw this week's issue in the trash.

I want to thank Madonna for pulling her video. It shows how much she has matured. My son is a Marine as well as a fan, and I'm glad to report that I wrote to tell him.
Jayney Espinoza, PASCO, WASH

Diego Fernando Rincon
Thanks for the beautiful letter written by Pfc. Diego Rincon, the young American who was killed in a suicide attack near Najaf. I turned to the page with this touching letter from a 19-year-old who believed in something bigger than himself, and whose meaningful life was selflessly given up for so many.

I just read the letter Private Rincon wrote to his mother and found myself sobbing. I have an 18-year-old son, and I cannot imagine what Mrs. Rincon is going through.

Laci Peterson
As the mother of two young children, I can't stop thinking about the tragic story of Laci Peterson. My heartfelt sorrow goes out to her family. How one human could be capable of doing this to another is beyond my comprehension. If her husband, Scott Peterson, is guilty, I can only hope that we can attach an anchor to him and throw him to the bottom of the ocean.
Laura Fitzgerald, HARRINGTON PARK, N.J.

I am a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed at age 37 and will be celebrating my 56th birthday soon. I just wanted to tell Anastacia how much I enjoy the spunk and vivacity she brings to her music, and I know those virtues will get her through this pothole on the highway of life.
Bobbie Levinson, SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.

Shepard Smith
I've been a huge fan of Smith's for more than five years, and I am so happy to see that he is receiving the long overdue attention. I only hope you remember to name him sexiest news anchor in November.

Bea Salazar
As one of Bea's Kids' original volunteers, I was delighted to see her story told in your magazine. Her placement in your "Angels" section could not be more appropriate. As I have watched this special lady go about her work with only the children in mind, I sincerely believe she is an angel already here on earth.

I was impressed and grateful when I read your item about Angelina Jolie's $1.3 million support of the Cambodian rain forest. Instead of following in the footsteps of so many of her self-indulgent contemporaries, Ms. Jolie is giving a precious gift to the world.
Carianne Sawyer, FREEPORT, MAINE

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