Dear Abby: Last year you printed the letter I wrote as a daughter of an American who was killed during the Vietnam War. The publicity it generated about our support network for the children of casualties of the Vietnam War, Sons and Daughters In Touch (SDIT), made our first Father's Day gathering in Washington, D.C., a powerfully patriotic and poignant outpouring of love and affection.
The response to my letter was wonderful. I heard from several veterans who had served with my father, and I learned more about the circumstances of his death. My mother and I were visited by a couple who had been close friends but had lost contact after my father died.Equally as important as our personal responses were those of other sons and daughters who had lost family members in that war. Many felt as alone as I did, and it meant so much to learn that we were not alone.
Last Father's Day, hundreds of us met at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was the first time in more than 20 years that most of us had even acknowledged Father's Day, and it was wonderful to begin the healing that came from bonding with each other and expressing love for our fathers.
Following Father's Day, I received a letter that said, "I felt my father's arms around me all (Father's Day) weekend . . . I never really mourned when my father died because I was only 7, and couldn't comprehend what had happened. And I never talked about it until now. If you hadn't written to Dear Abby, I might have spent Father's Day feeling terribly alone."
We've heard from many other sons and daughters who were unable to attend our gathering and who have asked that we observe this Father's Day with the same type of event. We've recently incorporated as Sons and Daughters In Touch, and plan to have an even bigger and better "Proud to Remember" weekend in Washington, D.C., on June 18-20.
Abby, please help us reach others who need to know about our organization and the upcoming Father's Day gathering. Being able to reach out to each other can make such a difference to the more than 50,000 sons and daughters who lost their fathers in Vietnam.
Abby, thank you for realizing the importance of our group and helping us to find each other.
- Patty Crawford, Sons and
Daughters In Touch, Washington,
Dear Patty and readers: It's heartwarming to know that the event was so successful. And for those who are interested in attending the next "Proud to Remember" weekend or who would like information about the organization, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Corky Condon, Sons and Daughters In Touch, 2030 Clarendon Blvd. No. 412, Arlington, VA 22201, or phone 1-703-525-1107.
Dear Abby: Your recent letters about garbled names prompted me to dig through my archives to retrieve a record I kept during my working years. When I noticed how often my name had been completely botched, I started to save the evidence. Hardly a repeat: Bill Schnably, Phil Snobble, Bill Schnavel, Phil Schusbel, P. Schnabelly, William Sknambel, Bill Snoddel, Pyil Schanabel, Philip Schmable. There are more, but I believe I've made my point. My name is . . .
Phil Schnabel, Eugene, Ore.
Dear Abby: In regards to mispronounced names: Our family name is "Venema," and for some reason, very few people get it right; so first, I spell it - then I say, "Venema - it rhymes with enema." It usually gets a chuckle, but they always remember it.
- A Minnesota Venema
For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)
1993 Universal Press Syndicate