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SATURDAY LETTERS

Lessons in the life of Lance Loud

January 11, 2003

I'M not really sure when I first saw "An American Family" on PBS, but I do remember my first thoughts when I figured out what Lance Loud represented. He was the first real person that was gay and happy. He was the brave soul (or the naive one) who shared his life in front of a national audience, and unknowingly gave gay people the courage to step out of the closet.

And as evidenced in "Lance Loud! A Death in an American Family" ("Lance Loud's Last Testament," by Elizabeth Jensen, Jan. 6), Loud's life teaches a couple of lessons. That life goes on when you decide to be truthful to yourself and your loved ones. That life can be fun, terrifying and an interesting experience. That life continues after a serious disease like HIV. And finally, that life continues after death. There is an unmeasurable value in the celluloid moments captured of Loud's life -- lessons not only of just one American family, but lessons of a truthful, if flawed, American man.

Omar A. Sandoval

Sun Valley

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