Please help me get this message out to the thousands of former prisoners of war from World War II and the Korean War.
As a former POW shot down over Germany in World War II, I am now a volunteer helping other ex-POWs to present their claims to our Department of Veterans Affairs. Over the past 25 years, congressional legislation has identified more than 20 maladies caused by prisoner-of-war experiences in Japan, Germany and Korea. Special benefits are available to all former POWs suffering from heart disease, residual frostbite, malnutrition, post-traumatic arthritis, delayed stress, neuropathy and other maladies.
Only one-third of ex-POWs have responded to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their entitlements. This means there are thousands of veterans in their 70s and 80s who are not aware that this help is available to them. We, who are accredited American ex-POW service officers, stand ready to help them present their well-grounded claims to the Veterans Administration.
To get help, they should contact Clyde Moran, National Headquarters, American Ex-Prisoners of War, 3201 E. Pioneer Parkway, Suite 40, Arlington, Texas 76010-5396. Telephone: (817) 649-2979; or e-mail to pow(at)flash.net. -- FRED L. CAMPBELL, SERVICE OFFICER, SAN ANGELO, TEXAS
DEAR FRED: Your message is an important one, and many veterans and their families will thank you for it.
DEAR ABBY: I am a single mom of a 6-year-old boy. My son spends every Wednesday night and every other weekend with his dad.
Lately I've been going dancing and have met some single dads and dads in the midst of divorce. One of the complaints I often hear from them is that when they have regular, scheduled visits with their kids, they end up having to "run them all over town" -- to soccer, swimming, etc. It seems lost on them that that's what most moms do!
An example: My son's class lottery system chose Wednesday evening for his swimming class. However, my son's father didn't want to take him there, even though it fell on the night of his weekly visit. Imagine my little boy's disappointment. There is nothing more special to him than having his favorite person in the whole world -- his dad -- watch him swim.
This is not an issue of men vs. women, or ex vs. ex. It's about custodial vs. noncustodial parents. Of course, I understand when special plans interfere, but I don't understand why noncustodial parents feel that children should forgo their regular events during the time shared with them.
I do the best I can to make our home complete, but I cannot fill the shoes of my son's father. Abby, please encourage noncustodial parents to take an active part in those special times, even if it is inconvenient. Don't insist upon making your children sacrifice what they enjoy most. -- TACOMA MOM
DEAR TACOMA MOM: Well said. Your ex-husband's attitude is not only selfish, but he's also missing out on an important opportunity to make his son feel special and successful. He'll never get this chance again.
DEAR ABBY: We live in a nice, settled neighborhood in a small town. We bought our home 20 years ago. Our neighbors are lovely people. A couple of years ago after a robbery in which some sports equipment was taken from their detached garage, they installed a security light.
Abby, their security light spills over into our back yard. Our patio and pool can no longer be used at night because of the glare. The light also shines into our guest room, both of our bathrooms, through our dining room windows into our kitchen and living room, as well as the master bedroom. We are forced to use heavy shades or drapes in our home.
We've done everything to block the light, but a guest recently commented that we don't use our back yard as much as we used to. (We can't because of the bright light.) Our guest said he had heard many people complain about neighbors' security lights infringing on their property.
Can you please help us spread the word that before installing those beacons, neighbors should consider how such a light will affect the families who live on the adjacent property? The neighbors should discuss it together to determine if it will adversely affect the lifestyle of the neighborhood. With honest communication, perhaps a solution that everyone can live with will come to light.
We want our neighbors to feel secure, but we want our lifestyle back. What can we do about their light pollution? -- LIVING IN THE LIGHT AGAINST OUR WILL
DEAR LIVING: Discuss the problem calmly with your neighbors.
DEAR ABBY: A close friend has asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. (I'll call her Tina.) There will be only three girls in Tina's wedding party -- the maid of honor, another bridesmaid and me.
The three of us are planning a bridal shower, but Tina's mother is being difficult. She insists we host the shower at an elegant restaurant. Since the guest list numbers more than 40 people, we had planned to have it at a modest restaurant with a banquet hall we can more easily afford.
Tina's mom is insisting on the restaurant she has selected, even though she has made it clear that it will be our responsibility to foot the entire bill.
Are we responsible for throwing an extravagant shower we can't afford? -- WEDDING SHOWER BLUES
DEAR BLUES: Under no circumstances should you allow yourselves to be intimidated into paying for a shower you cannot comfortably afford.
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