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March/April 2007

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Why is it that the Puerto Rican soldier, who has fought alongside our American comrades in every war and conflict, does not receive the benefits and attention that veterans in the States receive? Why, after so many years of asking for a new VA hospital, do we still have to go to a hospital that is obsolete and dangerous to our health because it has been found to have asbestos and is not earthquake resistant?

Veterans of Puerto Rico are mistreated and misinformed. Sometimes we are told that we cannot be treated in VA clinics or the hospital. We need help from our comrades in the United States. Please write your congressmen, and let them know how the men who fought for this great nation are treated in Puerto Rico. If the VA would conduct more inspections and keep pushing the people here in Puerto Rico, we think things will change. But, until then, we need support from our friends in the States.

José R. Valentin
President, Chapter 483
Yauco, Puerto Rico

I just read in the January/February issue that Randy Barnes passed away. He really was a great guy. I met him years ago at a VVA Convention, and we were on the same plane one year flying back from D.C. I was also in the 25th Infantry Division, not at the same time as Randy, but talked to him about his time.
He will truly be missed by all in Vietnam Veterans of America for all he did for VVA, for veterans nationally, and for those of us in the 25th Division Association.

Roger A. McGill

I’m writing to say thank you for the wonderful article in the November/December issue on the 2006 Chapel of Four Chaplains ceremony and dinner last September. I’ve received many, many emails and telephone calls about the article. I sincerely appreciate your hard work and your caring enough to make our day a roaring success.

A total of 103 people attended the ceremony. AVVA presented a $1,000 check to the Chapel. I look forward to the 10th annual ceremony on September 9 in Cape May.

Paul L. Sutton
Trustee, Chapel of Four Chaplains
Ocean View, New Jersey

I would like to respond to the letter “Duty, Honor, Country” in the January/February issue. The writer has a problem not only with other veterans, but with himself. I would like to address his concerns.

He mentions the media for reporting veterans as whiners, losers, and baby killers. The only publications in which I’ve ever read this were on the extreme right. The celebration of Doonesbury and Oliver Stone, I believe, is warranted. Both Doonesbury and Oliver Stone have correctly portrayed what has happened and is still happening.

As to the Medal of Honor recipient, this person is an American. He has the rights afforded under the Constitution to free speech. No, the Medal of Honor recipient is not the Dixie Chicks. But, as with the Dixie Chicks, he has the right to express himself.

The letter writer does not have the right to dictate his philosophies to others. If the writer has a problem with free speech, then it might be that he should move to another part of the world where speech is suppressed. I see from his writing that he is a very angry and guilt-ridden individual. Other veterans do not need an attitude adjustment; the letter writer does. Veterans from all wars do stand proudly for duty, honor, and country.

Ray Aquila
Boynton Beach, Florida

I, as a significant other to my U.S.M.C. retired man for some 23 years, wish to voice my concerns on behalf of others who might feel the same way I do. I feel our government owes us some type of funds. I have considered myself like a wife and his children’s mother. I’ve been through the bad and good every day and every night for the last 23 years. We live in the same house, sleep together, and eat together. I’ve helped him when he’s had flashbacks from Vietnam. I am there to see that he keeps his doctors’ appointments and takes his medications.

If there are other significant others who feel as I do, voice your opinion as I have. I’m tired of sitting on the outside looking in. I also want counselors who won’t let us into their sessions to know that this is wrong. You, too, are pushing us away.

Shirley M. Martinez
Auburn, New York

After scraping myself off of my wall while musing over Mr. L. R. Harvey’s letter in the January/February issue, I was reminded of why I read The VVA Veteran and a select few publicly owned media publications. You folks are involved in printing the word, regardless of view. Thank you.

Thank you for always having had the courage to print the message, to inform veterans that they can make differences on national or local issues. Your message keeps many of us working with hope—the hope that what is not can be, and that veterans can join together, put our differences aside, and get amazing things done.
Just read the pages of your own publication. I am truly proud of the veterans I read about on these pages. Whiners, my ass.

John C. Gordon
Big Bear City, California

I am the proud wife of a USMC 100 percent totally and permanently disabled combat Vietnam veteran. He served two tours with the 1/9, known as “The Walking Dead.” I always make a point to thank veterans and tell them how grateful I am for my freedom.

I would like to thank each and everyone of you who have served and are still serving in the military for my freedom and for all you’ve done and are still doing for our country. I know you all have sacrificed so much for me and our country. Words will never be able to tell you all how grateful I am. You are my heroes.

Marnie Mowles
Via e-mail

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