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by Abigail Van Buren

America's True Patriots Do More Than Wave the Flag

DEAR ABBY: During the recent surge of patriotism, I have seen many T-shirts proclaiming support for U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf, American dominance and victory.

I think there are many better ways to support our country and our troops than simply by putting a message on a T-shirt to tell every�body you love your country.

For starters, don't litter on the land you are proud of; keep it beautiful by picking up trash.

If you are a student, study hard so you will be able to help your country compete in the world market.

If you are employed, do a good job, and don't cheat your employer. Don't shoplift; it puts retailers out of business and hurts the economy.

If you are a defense contractor, don't cheat the government -- �regardless of how easy they make it.

Write letters to your legislators telling them your views. How can they represent you if they don't know what you want? You can bet that foreign interests and special interests are telling Congress what THEY want.

Everyone who has the right to vote should vote. It's a privilege.

Read the newspapers and watch the news to keep up on current events so you'll know what's going on.

Unless we want our servicepeople returning to the Middle East, we must learn to conserve energy and reduce our oil dependence. Some ways to do this are to "Drive 55," carpool, select fuel-efficient cars and do not waste electricity.

Or is all of the above too much trouble? (It's a lot easier to wear a T-shirt.)

I realize this letter may be too long to print, but I hope you will print at least part of it if you agree with me. -- NORTH CAROLINA PATRIOT

DEAR PATRIOT: I'm printing all of it. It takes more than hoisting a flag or donning a T-shirt to show patriotism for one's country. Thanks for a dandy letter.

DEAR ABBY: I am 22 years of age and have been married three and a half years. Lately I have felt that my husband is acting cold toward me. We just had a talk about this and he said, "Maybe marriage isn't for me," and, "Maybe we got married too young," and, "Maybe after being with you for eight months, I realize what being married to you is really like." (My husband is in the Navy, and this is the first time we have spent so much time together.) Yet, he also claims that he loves me.

For the past two or three months, we have been trying to start a family. This was his idea. It is hard for me to understand how a person can feel the way he says he feels and still want to start a family. His reply was, "Maybe what we need is a baby."

Abby, isn't this the wrong solution to our problem? -- CONFUSED IN LONG BEACH

DEAR CONFUSED: Yes. Children should be brought into this world because they are wanted, not to serve as glue to hold a troubled marriage together. What you and your husband "need" to save your marriage is to discuss his reaction to your eight months of together�ness with a professional counselor. Then decide if you are ready to have a family.

A baby is a lifelong responsibility, not a cure for an ailing marriage.

By popular request, Abby shares more of her favorite prize-winning, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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