PICKING PANAMA
As I was recently flying from LAX to DFW, I read the American Way article about Panama (“Growth Spurt,” Oct. 15). It was perfect timing. My husband is weeks away from returning home from his third deployment as a U.S. Marine. He and I have been going back and forth about where we should go for our post-deployment vacation. We knew it should be a warm place (like near the equator) and have culturally interesting things to do as well as high-quality opportunities for laziness (like the beach). When I read this article, it felt like you had decided the outcome of our debate. I immediately started researching and emailed a proposed trip to my husband. Thanks for sending us a sign and making the decision for us.
Reina Smyth, Oceanside, Calif.

Editor Adam Pitluk responds: Thanks to you and your husband, Reina, for having our back and the backs of every American the world over. God bless the Marine Corps.


A GRAND STORY
While traveling with my husband and mother?-in-law from our visit in Vail, Colo., to see my son, daughter-in-law and, most importantly, my first grandchild, I enjoyed reading “Homage to Heroes,” a great column about the importance of grandmothers in the Sept. 15 issue. My mother was a full-time nurse, so it was my grandmother whose kitchen I came to when I got off the school bus. She always had a great snack and never tired of hearing the details of the day or about various things in my life. With my new grandson, it was love at first sight — a magnification of how I felt about the birth of my own children. Holding him in my arms brought wonderful memories back to me as well as a glimpse of memories yet to be made. Vail is indeed a long way from ?Meridian, Miss., but with American Airlines and the AAdvantage program, I know that I will often be able to share the enjoyment of grandparenthood. In fact, my next trip is already booked and I am counting down the days. Thank you, American Airlines.
Mary Gilmore, Meridian, Miss.

Associate Editor Jan Hubbard responds: I have to agree with you on the importance of grandmothers, Mary. I had one who was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia and never learned to speak English but could communicate perfectly with her 14 grandchildren. Special grandmothers are something we all have in common. Congratulations on becoming one.



VALUED SERVICE
We flew American from New York to ?Raleigh-Durham, N.C., recently, and as I was preparing to be seated, a dignified gentleman graciously volunteered to help me place my bag in the overhead compartment. Once comfortably seated, I observed the flight attendant ask him if being in the emergency exit would be a problem. His immediate response was, “Not at all.” It was a pleasure to chat with him and learn that before his recent retirement, he had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was my opportunity to again say, “Thank you to all in the military who do so much to keep our country strong and secure.” While saying thanks, I would be remiss not to also thank the staff of American Way for providing the magazine I always reach for and enjoy.
Claire Meadow, Larchmont, N.Y.

A.P. responds:
Excellent story, Claire. I encourage everyone to engage our military men and women on their flights. They’re always happy to meet new friends. And I remind everyone about Operation: Grandma Sally, started by Lorri Briggs in Parkland, Fla.: Buy a meal, either in the terminal or onboard, for our uniformed men and women.



PARENTAL TIES
What I’ve always loved most about traveling is the chance to experience a variety of cultures. I feel the same way every time I flip through American Way. Your articles cover far-off destinations and highlight America’s favorite cities, museums, national parks, Hollywood stars and local celebrities, often all within the same issue. I travel frequently and have gotten into the habit of sending my parents in Missouri copies of articles that make me think of them. One was “The Fight of Their Lives” (Sept. 15, 2011), the story of three young women with cystic fibrosis (my younger brother has CF). Another was the recent June 15 article “If the (Horse)Shoe Fits,” on an Oklahoma horseshoeing school (my father is a farmer and has had horses all his life). Even though I don’t make it home as often as I’d like, American Way has provided a unique way to stay connected with my family. For that, I’d like to say thank you.
Holli Coleman, Miami

Managing Editor Travis Kinsey responds:
Holli, what you write about is exactly what we strive for with each issue of American Way: to offer something for everyone. And when we can provide the added bonus of keeping people connected via the stories we run, we’re even more excited. Thanks for the great note.



SHOWING OFF THE KNEES
I always browse through American Way and do the puzzles, but your July 15 issue was just the greatest. My favorite was Joseph Guinto’s article on Bermuda (“Shorts Circuit”). I giggled all the way through it because my late husband and I traveled to Bermuda once a year, and I was determined to get him into Bermuda shorts, which I did. We went out to dinner and he was embarrassed, but after seeing how he fit in with all the other men, he felt great. He never gave me a problem after that and looked forward to showing off his knees on every visit.
Melodie O’Connell, Fort Worth, Texas

Associate Editor Jessica Jones responds: That’s hilarious, Melodie. You should know that Joe Guinto not only overcame his fear of exposed knees, he’s also still willing to write for us after all we’ve put him through.



We enjoy hearing what you think about the magazine — so much so that if your letter to the editor is published in a 2012 issue, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win 100,000 AAdvantage? miles. Want a chance at the miles? Simply ?e-mail your thoughts to us at ?editor@americanwaymag.com.