Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Veterans Deserve Our Thanks, Wherever They Had to Serve

DEAR ABBY: I served in the U.S. Navy from February '87 until February '91. I served the better part of that time overseas in the Philippines working as a postal clerk at the Fleet Mail Center, Subic Bay.

I still wear my dog tags all the time, and sometimes people will see them and ask, "Were you over there?" (meaning Saudi Arabia), and I say, "No, I was in the Philippines most of the time." Then they say, "Oh," like "No big deal."

I can speak for most of the people I worked with that it was no picnic. Several coup attempts took place while I was there. (A Marine sergeant was killed about three blocks from my house.)

Abby, I would like people to know that even though we weren't "over there," we did our part during the Gulf crisis. -- SAILOR TAYLOR

DEAR SAILOR: You make an excellent point. Every man and woman who served in any branch of the armed forces -- whether or not they were in a shooting war -- did their part.

Time away from one's family is no picnic, whether one is serving in "the Gulf" or Gulfport, Miss.