DEAR ABBY: We live in the Tampa Bay area, where two V.A. hospitals are located. Many members of the military have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with mental and physical problems. In our community, we encounter these veterans every day.
Two weeks ago, we were in a fast-food restaurant and saw a young man on crutches with two shiny metal prosthetics on each arm below the elbow. The following week, we were walking down the street and ahead of us was another young man. This one had shiny prosthetics on both legs below the hips and was walking with a cane.
My husband and I wanted to approach and speak to these young men, but we held back. We weren't sure how they would accept a stranger's attention to them.
We, as a country, made many mistakes when our veterans returned from Vietnam. Many of these wounded young veterans will be returning to their homes and communities now and in the near future. I feel the American people need some guidance on how to handle this situation. Can you help us? -- PATRICIA AND BILL, SEMINOLE, FLA.
DEAR PATRICIA AND BILL: Put yourselves, for just a moment, in the position of the young men you have encountered. Would it not be meaningful to you if someone saw what you had sacrificed in the line of duty, and verbalized appreciation for it? Some decisions are better left to the heart than to the head -- and whether or not to reach out in a case like this is one of them. I say, go for it. It could give a deserving young person a tremendous boost.