During that era, if you were "off-base," you had to be in a dress uniform.
On many airplane flights or trips into the city, we were verbally attacked by college-age groups.
They would spit on us, call us "baby killers, murderers, military pawns," and anything else insulting they could think of.
The people who serve today and in the recent past deserve all of the praise they receive.
I have picked up the tab for many a traveling soldier as a thank you. But I want the parents and grandparents of these brave soldiers to think about their own actions toward service members of the Vietnam era.
There are many wounds that have never healed.
I find the words "thank you for your service" hollow and depressing.
— Old Veteran
Old Veteran: Anyone who is aware of the national dynamic during the tumultuous Vietnam era could completely understand your reaction to this phrase.
One resource for veterans is the Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center. They provide “mental health care and wellness to veterans of all eras, service members and their families, at no cost and regardless of discharge status.” Check roadhomeprogram.org, or call 312-942-8387.
Dear Amy: I identified with "Not Meant to Be a Mother," the woman who was grieving the loss of opportunity to conceive after surgery.
I had a radical hysterectomy at age 38. We had three children and had not planned on more, yet I grieved before and after.
Finally, I talked to my pastor, who had trained in hospital chaplaincy.
His immediate response was, "Why, of course, you're grieving. You're losing a part of yourself." Suddenly, the burden I'd borne was elevated.
All I needed was validation.
Relieved: Many people echoed this woman’s grief. Thank you all.
Dear Amy: After reading many letters in your column about a DNA test that uncovered an unknown sibling, a light went on for me.
What we're being told, one DNA test at a time, is that the nuclear family was never the tight, loyal unit that many Americans imagined it to be.
Sexual and filial relationships frequently cut across families, yet it was stigmatized and hidden, left out of the heirloom photo album.
We are learning who we really were and are.
Had we been more honest about this as a culture, imagine the shame, poverty and trauma that might have been averted.
— My Policy Is Honesty
My Policy Is Honesty: I completely agree.
Dear Amy: Thank you for recommending the Smithsonian Digital Volunteers in a recent column.
I joined the transcribers two weeks ago and love being a part of this important project.
I have transcribed more than 150 documents of the Civil War Reconstruction period, mostly from 1866 to 1867.
Along with 50,000 other transcribers, I am helping to create the links that will allow many people to digitally search their family lineage as never before, and I am learning so much about the social and cultural world of the 1860s.
For me, nothing brings this era to life like the Smithsonian Transcription Center.
Thank you again for opening this world to me.
Grateful: You and your fellow citizen-transcribers are helping to write the extremely complicated history of this country — from your own homes. (Check transcription.si.edu to be a part of this important project).
Dear Amy: We recently had a "celebration of life" for my wife while she is still alive. She has terminal brain cancer. It was a fantastic event. I highly recommend it.
Our friends got to talk to my wife and share stories.
We also had a videographer and asked people to make videos for her.
We have looked at these — and photos from the event — many times.
And finally, I set up a Google share drive so friends who could not attend could post videos or greetings.
As I told people, I don't want to have a celebration of life where people come up to me and tell me how great my wife was. I know how great she is!
So, tell her in person, now.
— Proud Spouse
Proud Spouse: This is lovely.
2021 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency