Our cover story on the crash of TWA Flight 800 (PEOPLE, Aug. 5) brought condolences for those who had lost loved ones and praise for our sketches of the victims. Readers also reacted to our report on Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug, whose decision to continue competing despite a leg injury was scored a 10 by most correspondents. Judgment was mixed for TV critic Joe Queenan, however. He got thumbs down for panning John Tesh's commentary on gymnastics—but a high five from readers who agreed that NBC's TV coverage was often maudlin and myopic.
TWA FLIGHT 800 CRASH
Thank you for this week's cover story on the people who were lost on TWA Flight 800. The insane loss hit me especially hard as I had returned from Europe less than 22 hours before the crash. The newscasts were full of data and impersonal observations. Your article really hit home. A plane just did not disappear over Long Island—230 loving, living, breathing persons did.
JANET POLE, Hamilton, Ont.
I've been a flight attendant for 20 years, flying international for the past nine. The FAA should require installation of scanners used overseas to detect plastic explosives in checked luggage. I suspect we will hear a lot about beefing up security until things quiet down—or until the next plane, full of children and other innocent people, is destroyed.
NAME WITHHELD, New York City
Reading your article on the victims and their families, I can't help but recall how people think my generation of Xers are do-nothings. Lost in this terrible crash were some of those who would have proved them wrong. These were promising young people, and although they are gone, their memories and dreams live on, I hope, in the rest of us.
NATHALIE VO-TA, Santa Ana, Calif.
Coming from a small town like Montoursville with a son who had gone to France two years ago with his high school French club, I watched the news of Flight 800 through tears. With a lump in my throat I hugged my 17-year-old and thanked God that I was able to, and felt pain for those who could not.
North Dighton, Mass.
Your pictures and biographies, while only brushstrokes, personalized the Flight 800 events. Your many readers can now share in the loss of these people and offer comfort to the mourners.
ROSLYN K. MALMAUD, Boca Raton, Fla.
Children in this day and age are often called lazy and ungrateful. But when a young hero steps up and acts more like an adult than many of us could ever aspire to be, the same voices berate the coaches and family for pushing her too hard. Kerri Strug chose to make that last vault. She worked long and hard to get into the Olympics, and she wasn't going to give up without a fight.
WENDY ZEMANSKI, Perry Hall, Md.
It is obvious that Kerri Strug and the Magnificent Seven are the true Dream Team of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, not the self-centered, egotistical, overpaid professional basketball players.
NATALIE LAYMAN, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Just when I thought I would die working out, I heard Bela Karolyi yell to Kerri Strug, "You can do it!" The memory is frozen in my mind. Faith, endurance and courage go a long way. Thanks, Bela and Kerri! Your inspiration will never be forgotten.
MARTHA ORR MILLER, Spring, Texas
What Kerri Strug did was amazing and, yes, it was a wonderful Olympic moment, but what about the other members of the team? They all deserve recognition.
CATHY DUNICAN, Everett, Wash.
PICKS & PANS
My compliments to Joe Queenan. The NBC coverage was disappointing. The almost total focus on the U.S. athletes did not do justice to the spirit of the Olympics.
CHARLES J. CLOCK JR., Post Falls, Idaho
I've always wondered what "m-m-m" stood for. Now I know: More Matthew McConaughey
JULIE SHEETS, Weyers Cave, Va.