Web form replaces Dear Abby letters to service members

Web form replaces Dear Abby letters to service members

The 17-year-old Operation Dear Abby message program for overseas military personnel was suspended after the anthrax scare. Now it has a Web replacement sponsored by the Navy.

At AnyServiceMember.navy.mil or www.lifelines2000.org, users can send messages or holiday greetings and choose to receive replies by e-mail. Because the messages are on the Web, they will not clog military e-mail systems.

The messages currently are sorted by the senders' states and by service branch. Senders' personal e-mail addresses are exposed if they provide them. So far, most people have included their addresses in hopes of receiving e-mail replies from service personnel.

Defense Department spokesman Maj. James Cassella said the site has a cautionary note that senders' hometowns and e-mail addresses provided for replies are viewable by the public at large. 'To avoid spam, just send a message and leave it at that,' he said.

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