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London I will always remember August 30 and hearing the first reports that Diana had been injured in a car accident in Paris.

I was surprised how the news of Diana's death affected me. I, along with millions of other people, watched her marriage, and for me, at 16, it was truly a fairy tale. I guess all of us wanted the fairy tale to be true. It allowed all of us to hope that there really was a prince charming.

Today, July 2, I still have a difficult time looking at her photos - partly because I feel a bit guilty about her death. I was one of those people who bought the books, the magazines, the tabloids. I don't do that anymore.

What did Diana bring to the world? She brought, in spite of her own problems, love to people who were considered untouchable. Not just those with obvious diseases, such as aids or leprosy, but those who were dying inside from a lack of love and kindness.

The loss of Diana is tragic, perhaps even more so than many people will stop to realise. Diana truly showed us the way things should be. Just imagine what could be done, what wrongs could be righted, if we all just took a moment to do as Diana did.

The world was truly a special place for her to be in it and the loss is one not easily replaced.

Diana's death did change me. It made me more aware of others around me and the pain they might be in. It makes me want to help others.

As far as the Royal family goes, I believe that changes must be made in order for them to carry on into the 21st century. I believe that Prince Charles was smart in letting Diana show their sons a different approach to royal life. I also believe that any change will take place after the death of Queen Elizabeth. There will be a different air in the palace whether it is Prince Charles or Prince William. Time will tell.

As far as the media being more respectful? The true test isn't in the last year or the coming year or two, but how they act when William and then Harry hit 18 and become "fair game".

The ultimate lesson in Diana's death is that we must stop hunting celebrities. Everyone is entitled to a private life and a public life.

All of those folks who make certain photos of people money-making enterprises need to evaluate and learn from the death of Diana. Next time, it might not be an adult(s) who die, but children and then how will that be handled? This is a harsh lesson to learn.

We all need to make sure that Diana's death, while wasteful and tragic, makes it mark on all of us, to make sure this doesn't happen again.

In the long run, it doesn't matter whether Henri Paul was drunk or that Diana and Dodi weren't wearing seatbelts. What matters is that the car was being chased and that led to bad decisions from all the parties involved. This must be prevented from happening again to any celebrity. That is what we must gain from Diana's death.

Melodie Kendall
Anchorage, Alaska



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