DEAR ABBY: I am a veteran, and something gnaws at me every time I hear it. It's the expression, "Thank you for your service." Having lived through the '60s and '70s, I remember all too well seeing many soldiers bad-mouthed and worse during those times. Since 9/11 many of the same people who were critical of us then are now thanking us. It rings hollow to many of the vets I have talked to. We did our job, some to the ultimate level. We never asked for thanks, and we still don't.
We respect the rights given to those who wish to abuse them because we believe in them. Some of us even died so all could enjoy these rights. If a person truly wants to thank a vet, do something for him or her instead of just offering lip service. Cut their grass, offer to help carry in their groceries, etc. While words are appreciated at times, hearing them too often becomes hollow. Showing appreciation is always welcome. -- A VETERAN IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR VETERAN: I am printing your letter because I know those feelings exist among some older veterans. However, I see nothing wrong with expressing thanks when someone feels it is deserved, as well as lending a hand when needed. These acknowledgments should be accepted as graciously as they are offered.
DEAR ABBY: My mother and her mother died from complications of Alzheimer's. I think I've had a few episodes lately, although it may just be stress over some recent monetary problems.
I don't know whether I should mention this to my daughter, who lives in a different state and who has shouldered a lot of other responsibilities. One of my sons lives closer but, for several reasons, he is not the primary decision-maker if I am actually experiencing early signs of Alzheimer's.
I know if my daughter had a possible medical problem, I'd be very upset if she didn't let me know, even though I couldn't be of any significant use. Should I say something to her about these possible symptoms of Alzheimer's? Or should I tell her husband, who is wonderful, so he can keep abreast of a possible upcoming medical problem?
I have not consulted a physician because I think they may sometimes be too quick to prescribe meds, and so far, I am daily-medication-free. Where does one draw the line between being an alarmist and keeping loved ones in the loop? -- PROCEEDING WITH CAUTION
DEAR PROCEEDING: The first person you should discuss this with is your physician, so you can be evaluated and your fears possibly put to rest. If you do have Alzheimer's, your daughter and her husband should be told so you can all decide together what the next steps should be. As to being medicated, this is something you and your doctor should decide because although the medications cannot cure Alzheimer's, they can slow it down.
DEAR ABBY: My husband wants to go to a residential mental health facility for a year-long program to deal with his depression and suicidal thoughts (due to a traumatic childhood). I'm all for it, but I don't know how to cover for him. He's very private and doesn't want people to know. So how do I explain a year-long absence? -- SUPPORTIVE IN FLORIDA
DEAR SUPPORTIVE: An easy way of explaining it would be to say your husband decided to take a year-long "sabbatical," which requires him to be out of the area. Period.
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