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100,000 AAdvantage miles for your thoughts.
We enjoy hearing what you think about the magazine — so much so that if your letter to the editor is published in a 2014 issue, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win 100,000 AAdvantage­ miles. Want a chance at the miles? Simply email your thoughts to us at editor@americanwaymag.com



ON THE FRONT LINE
It was with more than passing interest that I read “Celebrating Advancement” by La’Wonda P. Peoples in the Feb. 1 issue of American Way. I specifically was moved by her remembrance of the efforts by civil-rights advocates to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., as they attempted to march to Montgomery to call attention to the mistreatment of African-Americans. I am proud to say I had the privilege to be there to witness the two early attempts by marchers to cross the bridge, attempts that were thwarted by police wielding tear gas and billy clubs, as well as the eventual successful crossing made under the protection of thousands of U.S. Army soldiers. As a wet-behind-the-ears newsman for United Press International, fresh out of college, it was an exciting experience to be on the front line of history, reporting arguably the top news story in the world at that time to front pages of newspapers around the globe. That experience instilled in me an empathy for the movement to eliminate the mistreatment of any people and the denial of basic human rights to anyone. Thank you, Ms. Peoples, for your continuing efforts toward that goal, as well as for reminding all of us of the tremendous sacrifice by so many people on the way to that goal.
Jimmy D. Britnell, Old Hickory, Tenn.
 
La’Wonda Peoples, American Airlines Community Programs, Responds: Thank you so much for your letter, Jimmy, and thank you even more for risking travel to Alabama during that tumultuous time to capture that piece of history. You are among the unsung heroes referenced in the article, because that was a courageous act. Though change would have come eventually, your reporting on the activity helped to speed up progress. My thanks to you for the part you played.




THE LEADING MAN
Thank you for the inspiring and illuminating article about Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul in the Feb. 1 edition of American Way. The title of the article, “Natural Leader,” was apt, but I was also impressed by how Paul was nurtured by his family. His grandfather was a great role model, and when he was murdered senselessly, Paul had his parents to turn to for love and support. He could have been angry, but instead he turned the tragedy into resolve and motivation. Athletes are often in the news for unfortunate things. Happily, this was a story about how love and family helped to create a “natural” leader.
Ron Kim, Exeter, N.H.
 
Associate Editor Jan Hubbard Responds: While there are athletes and celebrities who reject the notion that they are role models, Chris Paul embraces it as a responsibility, Ron. As Kelly E. Carter wrote in her profile of Paul, he is one of those rare individuals who leads by word and by example.



TRAVEL HAPPY
I declare myself guilty of taking copies of American Way with me every time I travel. I take them to my office to share with my staff and clients, but I’ve got good and bad news for you: The good is that I read them all before leaving them in the waiting room of my office. The bad is that some of my clients take them away when they leave. I would, however, like to thank you for encouraging me to travel. I have traveled for many years, but after many trips, I want to stop and stay home for a while before getting on another plane. While thinking about that, I take a look at the magazine, and there is always a story on a new place to relax at or explore. My family and I appreciate the information, so keep on flying and making the world a smaller place to visit.
Santiago A. Saiz, Guayaquil, Ecuador
 
Managing Editor Travis Kinsey Responds: Thank you very much for the kind words, ­Santiago. No need to feel guilty about taking the magazines with you, nor about passing them on to folks you work with — that’s what they’re there for. We’re happy that you, your family and your clients enjoy American Way so much.



THE RISING SON
I have never thought of myself as a person who has lived with my head in the sand, yet apparently, I have lived completely unaware that the late John Ritter had a son. I also was not aware that he had a son who is an actor. Thank you for the article “The Son Also Rises” in the Jan. 15 issue of American Way about Jason Ritter. As a sexual-assault nurse examiner, I can say that John Ritter’s work in the 1996 TV movie Unforgivable has aided many people working with those who have been in abusive situations. Now Jason is also taking roles that highlight the subject of family. The title of the article was appropriate. Yes, the son also rises. Hooray for Jason as he brings complex family issues to light, much to the viewer’s delight.
Joanie Muth, BSN, RN, Waukesha, Wis.
 
Associate Editor Christiana Nielson Responds: We very much enjoyed introducing you to Jason Ritter, who is upholding his father’s legacy well. As you noted, Joanie, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of family is a part of what has made Jason Ritter and his father such well-rounded actors.



EARLY READERS: The Haueisen girls of Darien, Conn. (from left) Samantha (age 4), Rachel (6) and Paige (2), catch up on the latest in American Way.
Kate Haueisen
A SUPER STORY
As a psychologist, I’m aware of the little details that could help stressed passengers to feel relaxed after boarding a flight. Instrumental soft music on American Airlines planes is one of them, as well as the content of American Way. Inspiring personal success histories like “A Super Woman” (Feb. 1), about Sheila Johnson, touched my soul as I read how hospitality can catch the essential values required to progress but also help others to improve their lives. Thank you for this beautiful article. Touching people’s hearts is an inspirational way to make ­others decide to do their best effort to live well.
Dr. Pamilia Rivera-Velez, Ph.D.,
Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico

 
Writer Joan Tupponce Responds: Sheila Johnson is indeed an inspiring woman, Dr. Rivera-Velez. In the time I spent with her, I was impressed not only by her confidence but also by the way she genuinely cares for people. It is obvious in her work and through her philanthropy.




BEATLEMANIA
I really enjoyed the article in American Way (“Something’s Gonna Change My World,” Feb. 1) about the Beatles’ appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. I was only 5 when that event took place, so I can’t claim to have specific memories of it, but I do know that I must have seen the shows. Like many American families at the time, mine had only one TV set (black and white, of course), and we watched Sullivan every Sunday night. It was only a couple years later that I really “discovered” the Beatles and began buying all of their records. I still have my heavy vinyls, less three that a collector friend pried out of me a few years ago. I was happy to oblige his enthusiasm. And I still love the Beatles. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
David W. Lange, Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
 
J.H. Responds: I think it is pretty safe to say, David, that people who saw the group live on The Ed Sullivan Show or were born later and became Beatles fans not only remain enthusiastic about the music but would have no problem listening to the Beatles eight days a week.



MOVED BY A LETTER
Like most travelers, I always have some type of entertainment that I take on flights, but I also take the time to take a look at American Way. In the Jan. 15 issue, I found a letter in the “Air Mail” section titled “A Longtime Friend.” That letter [about a veteran who first read American Way in 1967] hit home, as I am a veteran myself and come from a family where most men were or are currently in the military. When I shared the letter with my sister and brother-in-law, they suggested I share what we recently went through. My 14-year-old nephew lost his big brother in a tragic way and was devastated by the events. I asked my sister (his stepmom) if my brother-in-law was planning on being there for his son, who lives far away. I had been saving my miles since I started traveling, and so I decided to give them to my brother-in-law so that he could leave the next day to be with his son, yet keep their costs low. I am happy to say that he was able to be there for his son. I cannot express how happy I was to be able to help them. I could not fathom losing one of my siblings and not have the support from my loved ones. Thank you, American Airlines, for always having the best schedules, staff and, in my opinion, the best rewards. I will always choose you over others when I can. And thank you to American Way for always keeping me entertained with good reads.
Nayla V. McCarty, Martinez, Calif.
 
T.K. Responds: Our sincere condolences to your entire family as you deal with your loss, Nayla. We are glad to have played even a small role in helping your family during such a difficult time, and we appreciate the note very much. Thank you for the kind words about our company and our magazine.



NOT A MISPRINT
I am a longtime American Airlines AAdvantage­ member, and in the Feb. 15 edition of American Way, the article “Our Fleet” states that there are only 102 seats on your new A321T. I am assuming this is a misprint, as the size of this aircraft would suggest there are considerably more. Interested to hear your response.
Stuart Dobbie, McKinney, Texas
 
Kristen Chapman, AA Brand Marketing Planning Lead, Responds: The total of 102 seats is correct, Stuart. We have 10 in First Class, 20 in Business Class, 36 in Main Cabin Extra and 36 in Main Cabin. We specifically designed the aircraft to offer both a First and Business Class cabin to provide an unparalleled experience from coast to coast. You can learn more at aa.com/A321T.



THE GREATEST
Your Feb. 15 article titled “The Legend Begins” (on the 50th anniversary of the ­Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston heavyweight title fight) held me captive. Twenty-five years ago, I was in the Chicago Admirals Club with my wife, Judy, and daughter Kathy. After wandering in the safety of the large facility, my precocious 7-year-old had returned and asked if she could go sit with a “cute baby” as the guest of the mom and dad. We said yes and then followed her through the crowded maze of businessmen and travelers. As we rounded a corner, there sat Kathy with the baby in hand as the guest of Muhammad Ali and his wife. We were asked to join them in their small area, and the adoring autograph-­seeking crowd seemed to mysteriously melt away, leaving us with a private interview with the “greatest.” For 40 minutes he engaged us in topics ranging from our daughters, social America and his move from a Baptist to a Muslim (we are devout Christians). Our time up, we said our goodbyes to our new friends, the crowd re-emerged around the Champ and we went on with our lives.
Bruce Hammett, Beaumont, Calif.
 
Writer Mike Downey Responds: For a man from a violent profession, Muhammad Ali has forever been a gentle soul when it comes to handling the public, particularly kids. I once saw a woman anxiously approach Ali, apologize for interrupting him and say something like, “I know you couldn’t possibly remember, but I met you 20 years ago when I was a little girl.” With a twinkle in his eye, Ali smiled and said, “Blue dress, right?” Just one more reason why he really was the greatest, Bruce.



POWER OF MICHAEL
I wanted to thank Adam Pitluk for writing such a wonderful article about Michael J. Fox (“The Power of Love,” Dec. 1, 2013). I am 35 and have literally grown up with Michael as a staple on-screen for me, with Back to the Future being, undoubtedly, my favorite movie. Pitluk’s storytelling was superb, and I wanted to personally thank him for doing this interview with excellence.
Daniel Martin, Nashville, Tenn.
 
Editor Adam Pitluk Responds: Birds of a feather we are, Daniel. We’re roughly the same age (although I have a couple of years on you), I also grew up watching M.J.F., and Back to the Future is my favorite movie of all time. Very much appreciate your note.