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by Abigail Van Buren

Operation Dear Abby Gets Boffo Reviews All Over

DEAR READERS: I received many gratifying thank-you letters from those who were a part of Operation Dear Abby '95. Some samples:

DEAR ABBY: I am a chaplain with the Third Battalion, Twelfth Marine Division on Okinawa, Japan. I was very moved a few days ago as numerous letters and packages were delivered for "Any Service Member." I would like to thank all those who participated in that wonderful program.

It is true that the holidays can be difficult when we are away from home, but such an outpouring of affection from the American public makes us realize how important our jobs are. The average age of the Marines I minister to is 19. Most have just graduated from high school within the past year. You can imagine the adjustment that's necessary for teen-agers to spend this time of year away from their families.

All you have done through our Operation Dear Abby/America Remembers campaign is greatly appreciated. Please keep all of your service members around the world in your prayers this year. God bless. -- LT. FREDERICK A. MC GUFFIN, CHC, U.S. NAVY

DEAR ABBY: Once again, Operation Dear Abby has lifted the spirits of those in the military who are far from home during the holidays. This past week almost every soldier in my unit found a card or letter in his or her mailbox.

This is the first time I have received a card through your program. I am from Sioux City, Iowa, and have been in the Army for 17 years.

Our heartfelt thanks to you, Abby, and to all of your fantastic readers who took the time to write. -- A THANKFUL SOLDIER, TAEGU, KOREA

DEAR ABBY: Regarding Operation Dear Abby, I want to thank you for giving your readers the APO addresses for our servicemen and women overseas.

Since we live in Annapolis, Md., and are involved with the sponsor program at the Naval Academy, I decided to mail a box of goodies to the South Pacific APO.

Well, today we received a wonderful gift -- it was a letter of thanks from the crew of the Submarine Group Seven. It was signed by all the officers and crew, who expressed their appreciation for the Christmas package.

I shall continue to write to them and, in a month or so, I'll mail them another box of goodies.

God bless you, Abby, for allowing civilians to do something nice for the dedicated young men and women who serve our country. -- LOUISA AND SHELDON NOBLE, ANNAPOLIS, MD.

DEAR LOUISA, SHELDON, CHAPLAIN MC GUFFIN AND "A THANKFUL SOLDIER": Thank you for the kind words, but the credit belongs to my readers who work so diligently every year to make this project such an overwhelming success.

CONFIDENTIAL TO SICK AT HEART IN SOUTH BEND: It's time to stop grieving and start living. Your problem reminds me of an old Chinese tale: "One tear met another tear floating down the river. Said the first tear, 'I am the tear of the woman who lost her love.' The other tear replied, 'And I am the tear of the woman who got him.'"

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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