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Ask Amy: Reader warns families of veterans to keep track of discharge papers

Dear Amy: My father passed away three weeks ago.

After his death, I spoke with a close friend whose father died in 2007.

Our experiences have inspired me to write to you, and I ask that you please post this as an alert to all veterans and their immediate families: please keep your military discharge papers in a safe place and ensure that your family members know where these documents are located!

Our fathers were both veterans who were buried with full military honors, but were almost denied that right due to bureaucratic issues.

In both cases, the funeral homes contacted the VA for our fathers’ discharge papers, only to be told that the VA had no record of their service. (A few years ago a fire destroyed a VA building, which may explain why some records were lost.)

Without these papers, it was impossible to prove that they had served, and without this proof, none of our families could have had the honor guard at our father’s funeral. By superhuman effort, an employee at the office that stores some of my father’s paperwork found his discharge papers and brought them to the funeral home just in time for the honor guard to be arranged.

My friend’s father had been active in a veterans organization whose members were able to organize the honor guard on his behalf, but for both of our families it was a near miss and very stressful.

It is never easy to discuss topics like these in advance, but if you or your closest family members were in the service, please clarify this before the need arises. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what we did.

Thanks for the good work you are doing.

– Proud Daughter of a Veteran

Dear Proud Girl: I am truly sorry for your loss and appreciate being able to post this as a helpful public service to readers.

I also offer your advice in honor of our “Uncle Bud”, whose funeral I attended last week.

Bud had just turned 104 when he died; besides being a wonderful man, he was a very proud veteran of World War II, after which he served in the Merchant Navy.

The honor guard ceremony that Uncle Bud received was so beautiful, dignified and moving. Every military service member who served honorably also deserves an honorable final send-off, and thank you for reminding family members to keep these important papers handy.

A military source ( has a comprehensive guide to eligibility for military honors. Interestingly, this doesn’t just include members of the military. Commissioned officer corps members of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are also eligible.

Dear Amy: What can I say to people who slow their car unnecessarily while sitting in a parking lot? We do NOT need more pollution!

These idlers are usually not happy when I knock on their window and bring up the subject.

What firm but polite words can I use?

I’m even considering printing out business cards to leave on the vehicle, because sometimes the owners of the idle car aren’t even in it!

– Greg in Minnesota

Dear Greg: Unless there is a human or animal in the car waiting while the car owner rushes to the pharmacy for lifesaving medication, there is no justification for a empty car stays idle.

Rather than print cards, I suggest a very colorful flyer, placed on the windshield of an empty, idling car.

According to the Department of Energy (, “Researchers estimate that idling heavy and light vehicles combined wastes about 6 billion gallons of fuel per year. About half of this is attributable to personal vehicles, which generate about 30 million tons of CO2 each year. just by idling. While the impact of idling may be small per car, the impact of the 250 million personal vehicles in the United States adds up. To save fuel and reduce emissions, eliminating unnecessary idling of personal vehicles would mean taking 5 million vehicles off the road.

Dear Amy: I couldn’t believe you told ‘Past Completed’ that she ‘owed’ three bullying friends ‘a debt of gratitude’ after they apologized for bullying behavior a while ago. for a long time.

This person owes nothing to these assholes!

– Upset

Dear Upset: The context of this “debt of gratitude” was that “Past Completed” could be grateful that these offers of forgiveness were summarily shredded, and the circle is now closed.

I agree that she owes them nothing!

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068