DEAR ABBY: The letters you have printed from men and women in the Armed Forces reminded me of an experience I would like to share.
My husband is in the service. One day last fall, we made a quick stop on our way to a formal Marine Corps event. As we walked through the store, many people looked at my husband in his dress blues. One woman approached and thanked him for what he does and the sacrifices he makes. She said her husband was in the Army for many years and that he now rests in Arlington Cemetery. Then she thanked ME and said she understood what a difficult job I had being his wife.
My husband and I walked away touched by the sincerity in her words. I will never forget her, not only because she took the initiative to thank my husband, but because she also recognized a large group of people who are usually overlooked: the spouses.
To all of those other military wives (and husbands) out there: You are appreciated! All of you who faithfully wait for reunions, who have lost count of the tearful goodbyes, those who sleep in empty beds that suddenly seem so large, who comfort the children because they miss Dad or Mom, and those afraid to leave the house because they might miss that weekly phone call from thousands of miles away.
Thanks to all who, like my husband, leave their loved ones for sometimes months at a time and wipe the tears as they go. Thanks to all of those who share my job of supporting their spouses over the miles and keeping them strong.
And last, thank you, Abby, for shedding light on this subject. A lot of hard work and heartache go with being involved in the service. These men and women deserve our thanks. -- PROUD AND LOVING WIFE IN GEORGIA
DEAR PROUD: You have a right to be proud. My hat is off to the families of our servicemen and women, because the home fires often require a lot of stoking and the task falls upon them. Your letter reminds me of a quotation first uttered by John Milton: "They also serve who only stand and wait."
DEAR ABBY: I was touched by the letter you printed from Ula Pendleton, the retired teacher from Westminster High School in Los Angeles, who received praise from a student years after she had taught him. How wonderful for her to know the fruit of her labor.
Teachers are truly the unsung heroes of our lives. No, I'm not a teacher, but I know many teachers, and I always tell them, "I could never do what you do." Most of them labor at an incredibly tough job for years and may never know the results of their work.
As an ER nurse, I, too, have a tough job. However, I can see the results of my efforts -- mostly positive -- on a daily basis. Not so for most teachers, who face many obstacles and may not know if they have made a difference. They deserve our highest praise. -- B.O.G., BASS LAKE, CALIF.
DEAR B.O.G.: I agree. I have received many letters from readers praising their former teachers -- usually because the teachers were fair-minded, caring, and helped their students master a subject.
Teaching is an art, and I, too, admire those gifted individuals in the field of education who have made a positive difference in the lives of their students.
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