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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am 13 years old and would like to ask a favor. May I say thank you through your column to an inspirational speaker?

Dave Roever, a Vietnam veteran, came to our middle school in Sherwood, Ore., to speak at an assembly. His face had been badly scarred while he served in the armed forces.

During assemblies at our school, we are required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. My friends and I have usually done this very carelessly, just to get it over with and move the assembly along faster so we can leave.

When Mr. Roever went to the microphone, he asked us to say the Pledge of Allegiance like we meant it. Then he talked about serving in Vietnam and the hardships encountered by our soldiers and the Vietnamese people.

He really made me think about our country, and how lucky we are to have liberty and justice for all. "Thanks, Mr. Roever." And thank you, Abby, for letting me say this to him publicly. -- ANONYMOUS STUDENT

DEAR STUDENT: I am gratified that young people are being taught the price of freedom, and that they are sufficiently intelligent to appreciate the sacrifices made by the members of the armed forces everywhere so that we may enjoy our liberty.

For those who may not have recited the Pledge of Allegiance in some time or may have forgotten the words, here they are. (I'll recite the pledge on Memorial Day, and hope that all my readers will, too.)

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I travel throughout the United States during the summer months. Because your readership reaches all across the country, I would like to make a simple request:

I love lemon in my iced tea; however, when ordering iced tea in a restaurant and requesting lemon, they invariably give me a slice of lemon instead of a wedge. Evidently the chef slices the lemons in the morning for decoration -- and everyone knows you don't get much juice from a slice. Have you ever tried to squeeze a slice of lemon? Yuk!

Don't you think it would be possible for restaurant chefs to cut a few lemons in wedges for those of us who enjoy the lemon juice in a glass of iced tea? I'm not a picky person, but I'd appreciate your help in educating a few restaurateurs.

Please don't sign my name, as my Mormon sisters would not understand why I am ordering iced tea. Sign me ... INCOGNITO

DEAR INCOGNITO: It would be a no-brainer for chefs to provide lemon wedges for iced-tea-loving patrons during the summer months, when iced tea consumption rises. And I'm sure that many of them will.

However, just in case you happen to visit a restaurant where the chef has overlooked it -- why not carry an emergency lemon with you? Or, if it's too bulky, consider taking along some small squares of cheesecloth so that you can wrap half a dozen lemon slices and squeeze them together. They would take up no more space than a handkerchief.

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