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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a retired soldier. Some time ago, I wrote the following verse for those who are now fighting for us. What can we do for them? Write, yes! But better than that, LIVE. -- CORTLAND E. RICHMOND, ROHNERT PARK, CALIF.

DEAR CORTLAND: Thank you for granting me permission to use excerpts from your poem. Today is Veterans Day, and I am sure it will strike a responsive chord with all who read it.


Do not give medals for our death;

Where we are, we cannot know.

Do not raise flags and hold parades;

Where we are, flags don't go.

We ask but one thing of our land,

Of you who had us fight:

"Please be WORTH the blood we shed,

"Be worth the eternal night."

We are the currency you spend

For freedom, fear or oil;

Our blood, the coin you pay,

Dark on some foreign soil.

DEAR ABBY: In the year 2000, I graduated from law school. Since then I have been unable to pass the state bar exam, which is offered only twice a year. It's a tough exam for someone like me who has never tested well. I have tried four times. The last time I was only 24 points away from passing.

Last month I was laid off from my job, and my husband has been supporting me and our two sons, 4 and 2. My husband is wonderful in that he not only supports me, but also encourages me to study harder and try once again to pass the bar. He knows that if I pass, I could one day double our current income.

I would be happy as an attorney, yet I think I could also find happiness in ANY job where I can help people. With the education I already have, I might be able to obtain a state or federal job, so I'm wondering if I should continue trying to pass the bar.

Do you think I should move on with my life and find another job, so I can begin repaying my student loans and not feel so guilty all the time?

Abby, looking back, I don't know if my four years of college and three more in law school were worth it. Perhaps my repeated failure to pass this one exam is really fate trying to tell me something. What do you think? -- FEELING GUILTY IN MISSOURI

DEAR FEELING GUILTY: I do not agree. You've worked hard; please don't give up now. However, before you take the bar exam again, be sure you're mentally and physically prepared. Take the bar review courses until you know the material backward and forward.

Consult your physician about your anxiety. He or she may be able to recommend an anti-anxiety medication to help you relax. The day before the bar exam, treat yourself to a full-body massage and listen to relaxing music. In the morning, eat a nutritious meal, look in the mirror and say, "I CAN DO THIS!" -- then take the bar exam. My readers and I are pulling for you.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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