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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Our national flag, "Old Glory," does not get the respect today that it deserves. The enclosed piece titled "Remember Me?" may remind our citizens to respect it and honor those who have died in battle so that "Old Glory" could continue to fly over the land of the free. Please print it again. -- CLAY MATTHEWS, WORLD WAR II VETERAN, RIO LINDA, CALIF.

DEAR CLAY: Thank you for reminding me of this moving piece. Today is Flag Day, and I'm reprinting it to remind American citizens to respect our national flag, and in turn, honor our veterans who bravely fought in days past, and our servicemen and women taking part in the Kosovo operations even now.


by David C. Graham

Hello. Remember me? Some people call me Old Glory, others call me the Star-Spangled Banner, but whatever they call me, I am your flag, the flag of the United States of America.

Something has been bothering me, so I thought I might talk it over with you -- because it is about you and me.

I remember some time ago, people would line up on both sides of the street to watch the parade, and naturally I was leading every one, proudly waving in the breeze.

When your daddy saw me coming, he immediately removed his hat and placed it against his left shoulder so that his hand was directly over his heart -- remember?

And you, I remember, were standing there, straight as a soldier. You didn't have a hat, but you were giving the right salute. Remember your little sister? Not to be outdone, she was saluting the same as you with her right hand over her heart -- remember?

What happened? I'm still the same old flag. Oh, I've added a few more stars since you were a boy, and a lot more blood has been shed since those parades of long ago.

But now, somehow, I don't feel as proud as I used to feel. When I come down your street, you just stand there with your hands in your pockets. You may give me a small glance, and then you look away. I see children running around you shouting; they don't seem to know who I am.

I saw one man take his hat off, then he looked around, and when he didn't see anybody else take off their hat, he quickly put his on again.

Is it a sin to be patriotic today? Have you forgotten what I stand for, and where I have been? Anzio, Guadalcanal, Korea and Vietnam!

Take a look at the memorial honor rolls, and see the names of those patriotic Americans who gave their lives to keep this republic free. When you salute me, you are actually saluting them.

Well, it won't be long until I'll be coming down your street again. So when you see me, please stand straight and place your hand over your heart, and I'll know that you remembered. I'll salute you by waving back!

DEAR ABBY: I'm engaged to be married during the summer of 2000. Most of our plans are working out well -- except for one.

I don't believe in the Bible, or the devil or God -- and my fiance believes there is "something" out there, but not necessarily a god. So the question is, if a clergyman can't marry us, who could that won't make us say or do anything "religious"? -- FRUSTRATED IN BREMERTON, WASH.

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. Since you prefer not to have a religious ceremony, enlist the services of a justice of the peace or a judge.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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