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Posted on Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 5:09 a.m.

Vietnam vet can't find words to acknowledge public thanks

By Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: My husband served in Vietnam and proudly wears a Vietnam veteran insignia on his jacket or cap everywhere he goes. People approach him all the time and thank him for his service, which is wonderful. The big question is, how should he respond? He isn't quite sure what to say back to them -- "You're welcome"? "It was my honor to serve"? "Thank you for caring"?

I'm not sure of the right response, either. So I told my husband I'd ask you. What's the proper thing to say when someone is kind enough to take a minute and say thanks? -- VET'S WIFE IN PHOENIX

DEAR VET'S WIFE: I'm sure being thanked for his service in Vietnam is music to your husband's ears. When members of the military returned from Vietnam, many of them were treated with hostility. A proper response when someone thanks him for his service would be any of those you offered, or a simple, "Thanks for saying that. I appreciate it."

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have dear friends who live in another country. They also have a vacation home in a very nice part of the U.S. They have often invited us to use their vacation place while they're away, since it stands empty 11 months of the year.

I have hesitated in the past because I know we would use utilities and it would be of some expense to them. They are insistent that they will not let us pay for the use.

We would love to spend some time there. Is there anything we could do to show our appreciation without paying them? -- APPRECIATIVE, BUT ...

DEAR APPRECIATIVE: Yes. After spending time in their vacation home, write a letter thanking them and describing the experience. Consider sending them an album of photographs you took during your vacation there, or buy a gift for their vacation home. That way you will have repaid them without "paying" them.

DEAR ABBY: My little sister is almost 12. She has been having a lot of behavior problems. I thought it was the stupid videos she watches that made her act like that, but she's getting worse.

One night, her mood was terrible and I noticed she was texting. So while she slept I took her cellphone and started reading the messages. Her texts were about her being a skank, drunk, sexually active, depressed, cutting herself and moving away soon. No one in the family knows or would ever allow this.

I feel the right thing to do is to tell our parents, but I don't want to make the situation worse. Her behavior and attitude stress us out, and her "friends" are the wrong crowd for her. I know it was bad for me to invade her privacy, but something needs to be done. What can I do? -- SISTER WHO CARES IN TEXAS

DEAR CARING SISTER: Tell your parents what you have learned. Your sister's behavior problems and angry or depressed mood must have been noticed by them as well as you. Ask them not to reveal that you looked at the messages, but to insist on some answers from her until they get to the bottom of what's happening. If even half of what your sister is writing and receiving is true, she is headed for serious trouble and is overdue for an intervention.

TO MY CHRISTIAN READERS: Happy Easter, one and all!