DEAR ABBY: World War II mariners, who suffered the highest casualty rate of any of the branches of service while they delivered troops, tanks, airplanes and fuel to every theater of war, were belatedly awarded veteran status in 1988 and in 1998.
Thus far, only 95,000 out of a quarter-million eligible mariners, or their survivors, have applied for veteran status. Application procedures can be found at www.USMM.org/update.html or by sending a business-size self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) envelope to AMMV: WWII, P.O. Box 2361, Berkeley, CA 94702.
This is important because men and women who served in the U.S. Merchant Marines and the U.S. Army Transport Service may be eligible for medical care and prescriptions through the Veterans Administration. At the very least, they can tell their grandchildren they are "veterans of World War II," and can get a flag for their coffin and a grave marker.
Mariners from the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf wars, and the U.S. Maritime Service, the official WWII Merchant Marine training organization, should contact AMMV: OTHER, at the above address, so that they, too, can join together in applying for veteran status. -- DANIEL HORODYSKY, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE VETERANS
DEAR DANIEL: I am pleased that these unsung heroes are now able to receive benefits, as they should have been in the first place. Better late than never.
DEAR ABBY: Thank you for printing the letter from "Karen in Virginia," who after years of suffering was finally diagnosed as having endometriosis. After reading your column, I visited the Web site you mentioned (www.killercramps.org). Many of the symptoms were familiar to me, so I took the quiz and discovered that was probably my problem, too.
I talked to my mother about it and learned that both she and my grandmother had endometriosis, so I made an appointment with my gynecologist. The doctor recommended that in the very near future I undergo a procedure to have the tissue removed.
Had I not read about it in your column, I never would have known how serious endometriosis can be. Because of that column, I won't have to endure more years of pain. Thank you again, Abby. Sign me ... GRATEFUL IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR GRATEFUL: I was surprised at the number of women who suffer from this problem. More than half a million women visited the Endometriosis Association Web site after reading Karen's letter. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: "Karen in Virginia" wrote about the pain and suffering of endometriosis. It is also important to note that this debilitating disease can cause infertility.
Women with endometriosis who wish to have children need special care from their OB-GYN and must take steps early to preserve their fertility. These women should not wait until they are ready to start their families before seeking medical help.
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association has information and educational materials for women with endometriosis who are planning to have children. For more information, patients can visit the RESOLVE Web site at www.resolve.org or call the RESOLVE helpline at 617-623-0744. -- JOAN C. BOWEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
DEAR JOAN: I hope you're prepared for an onslaught of inquiries -- because you're going to get them.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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