Hardly ‘false fans’ | AspenTimes.com

Hardly ‘false fans’

Dear Editor:Well, once again, autumn rolls around and we find ourselves being attacked by Ms. Smith (Aspen Times, Sept. 9). We, the “false fans” of John Denver. I used to become upset with her diatribes against us, calling us names and promoting her one charity and event. Now, I shake my head sadly and am slightly amused. I will not attack her or what she believes; instead, I will tell you what the week in Aspen means to those of us who come in.Last year, there were 14 countries represented in Aspen for the week of the celebration. Aspen has continued to welcome us all in, and has even begun to advertise the week. The week, for us, is a culmination of a year of what we do on our own, in our own way, to remember Mr. Denver. There is a plethora of events that begin with a cleanup of the memorial sanctuary, highway cleanup, worship services (no, not of Mr. Denver, but of our Lord), a sing-along at the Pitkin County Assisted Living Center, concerts, auctions and symposia that benefit various charities in Aspen and around the world.People gather in the evenings and share meals, music, laughter and stories. We get to see and hug our friends from across the globe. We meet new friends. We get to meet the people who knew Mr. Denver, loved him, and carry on his vision of one world.Hundreds of us will come into Aspen for the week. Some are local to Colorado; others, like myself, are coming from across the states, and still more come in from the world. In a time when terrorism and fear tend to make people afraid, it is a great celebration of human kind and diversity, and a huge testament to the power of friendship and love. Consider it, if you will, a family reunion.We are not the only ones who benefit from this week. The Peace Cloth, Windstar Foundation, Rocky Mountain Institute, the Aspen Deaf Camp, The MUSE Foundation and Expect A Miracle Foundation (formerly Firstlight), will benefit as well.So, to the Aspenites that Ms. Smith felt she had to warn, I would like to first say “thank you” for welcoming us in and making us feel Aspen is our home, too. I would also like to tell you that if you would like an accurate representation of what will occur during our time with you, you go to http://www.john-denver.org and go to the gathering page. There is a link there for the 2004 schedule of events.We work very hard to make this week a celebration of life. Each year, there is at least one wedding or vow renewal that occurs. We share our joy in life with our friends. We revel in the amazing display of nature around us out there. We try to leave with a stronger conviction to help the world, human and animal, living and growing.Thank you for your time.Peace.Michele PhillipsSawyer, Mich.