Dear Abby: Veterans’ groups fall for my father’s lies about seeing combat

The former reservist, 87, is receiving gifts as a result of his phony stories about heroics in the Korean War, and his wife is aghast.

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DEAR ABBY: My father is 87 and has stage 4 cancer. For years he has lied about being a hospital corpsman in the Navy during the Korean War. My parents live in a retirement community, and he talks about being in the war while wearing a Navy baseball cap. Dad was in the Naval Reserve (that we know of) but never saw combat.

Veterans’ groups are always bringing him quilts, food, etc. My mom is horrified and doesn’t know what to say when he goes on a rant about having been hit by shrapnel while pulling a fellow naval guy out of a burning building. He will pass away soon, and the veterans’ groups will be giving Mom a flag he doesn’t deserve. Mom doesn’t know what to do. Should we just ignore the antics or say something? Please help. — UNCERTAIN IN FLORIDA

DEAR UNCERTAIN: What your father has been doing is called “stolen valor” or “stolen honor,” and it is seriously frowned upon by people who have actually earned it. It is a form of fraud. However, anyone who has served in the military and been honorably discharged is entitled to be given a flag when he or she is buried. It will be folded and presented to your mother.

As to the gifts he is receiving from the veterans’ groups, suggest that because your father is now so close to the end, they be given to other vets who can use them.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our 60s and have a swimming pool that our kids and grandkids like to visit. Our issue is that our granddaughter wears a bathing suit that shows her bum. It isn’t a thong, but close to it.

She’s 16 and starting her junior year of high school this year. It makes my husband and me uncomfortable, and we have told my daughter as much. Is this one of those situations where we either accept it or don’t allow her to swim with such a suit?

I love my granddaughter and will put up with the way it makes us feel if that is where the line is drawn, but it is hard for us to understand. When she brings her friends, they dress the same way. What do you advise? — UNCOMFORTABLE GRANDPARENTS

DEAR GRANDPARENTS: Because you and your spouse are uncomfortable with the amount of exposure your granddaughter and her friends display when they come to swim, you have the right to tell them to wear something less revealing. It’s your pool, and the bottom line is it’s your privilege to set the rules. Be prepared, however, for your granddaughter to not want to use your pool as often in the future.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been dating a very sweet girl for the last four months, and I’m starting to have serious feelings for her. My children really like her, but she sat me down the other night and told me she’s transgender. I’m crushed, and I don’t know what to do. This blows my mind; please give me any guidance. I care a lot about this person, and I just want to cry. — CRUSHED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CRUSHED: You say you are starting to have serious feelings for this girl, who is not only sweet, but also HONEST. If you are worried what others might think if they find out she wasn’t assigned female at birth, then she’s not the girl for you. Because she has laid all her cards on the table, take this as an opportunity to have a series of frank conversations with her about what challenges might lie ahead for the both of you if this romance progresses.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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