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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Memorial Day is being observed tomorrow, and it's shameful the disrespect that's shown our veterans both deceased and living. How many young people do you see at the ceremonies?

I have attended services that were held next to parks. The loud radios kept playing and the ball games never stopped when the flag was being raised, the speakers speaking and honors given.

Isn't it time that some history of our past wars be taught in our schools? Then, just maybe, citizens of all ages would begin showing a little respect for their country and fellow man.

I'm enclosing a summary of proper flag etiquette, Abby. You might want to share it with your readers. -- BARBARA J. McGHEE, SAN DIEGO

DEAR BARBARA: Your letter is certainly food for thought. And thank you for the rules of proper flag etiquette. I'm happy to pass them along to my readers:


Our nation's flag is to be respected, never defaced or scorned. There are appropriate ways to show respect in the presence of the flag:

During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag, or when the flag is passing in a parade or review, everyone should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hands over their hearts. Military members who are present and in uniform should render the military salute.

When not in uniform, remove your hat with right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column (such as a parade) should be rendered at the moment the flag passes. When driving a car on a military installation and "Colors" or "Retreat" (when the national flag is hoisted at 8 a.m. or lowered at sunset) is sounded, stop the car and wait until the ceremony has been completed. If walking, stop, turn toward the flag, and stand at attention with your right hand over your heart.

When the flag is displayed during the playing of the national anthem, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand placed over the heart. If not in uniform, you should remove your hat with the right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the right hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform stand and render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and hold their salute until the last note is played. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.

DEAR ABBY: I support your advice to the young mother considering relinquishing her child for adoption, and I vehemently chastise the woman who disagreed with you, stating that the young woman would deeply regret giving her child away.

The young mother's possible future regrets are not the most important issue because they are not in the best interest of the child. Had my birth mother decided to keep me for fear she would regret it, I would never have been placed with the wonderful parents who raised me.

My birth mother gave me the precious gift of adoption. She selflessly looked beyond her own needs and desires to give me two incredible parents who provided me unlimited love and support. I hope someday to thank her personally, and let her know how grateful I am for her generosity.

I pray this young mother is willing to put her child's needs before her own and to decide what will benefit her son the most. Such a decision would never lead to regret. -- GRATEFUL IN NORTHEAST IOWA

DEAR GRATEFUL: I'm sure you speak for the majority of adopted children.

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