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by Abigail Van Buren

Veteran Appreciates Action More Than Words of Thanks

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.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics