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Veterans Day 2013
Veterans return to Vietnam, and to other countries as well, to do their share
I am a veteran. And I am very glad that so many veterans have overcome their difficulties in their lives to continue to do good here and in other parts of the world. I work in Africa, for example.
Other veterans have gone back to Vietnam:
I also include a separate posting by Dina Boyer, who is a veteran and now photographer who looks at this day from his own perspective:
Dina Boyer writes,
This was the ship I was stationed on. I was in charge of Engineroom # 1.
On the cruise back from Africa, somewhere near the Sargasso Sea, diesel generator # 1 threw a connecting rod, thus driving the piston up through the head. It then subsequently blew up. The whole Engineroom was on fire. I turned my back just as it blew. The concussion alone threw me towards the exit door, but two shipmates had been knocked out and were down.
Everyone but me was to scared to go into the Engineroom and retrieve the bodies, but first I single-handedly put out the fire using PKP, which meant there was no air. I had to don an OBA to get the men.
Turns out both sailors that were down there were African American. One was breathing, the other was not. I was the ONLY SAILOR who performed CPR on the downed man.
I was injured, but still felt it was my duty to save those lives.
Thank you, Dina.
It is very unfortunate, however, that the VA is far behind in processing claims - it is unacceptable and simply not right.
If ALL Americans had served, as I wish they had, we would probably have had a very different past than what has taken place and is now engraved in our memory. Certainly if the wealthy had had their sons go into the military, the past and current VA problems would never have taken place. I suspect that Iraq and probably much of Vietnam would also never have taken place - their sons are too precious for this kind of service! There are, of course, always exceptions, and I thank those well-to-do who did their time in one of the forces. I was not one of these well-to-do people, and the veterans I knew weren't either.
I would appreciate any other veterans who wish to share their stories here.
I also have a story to tell about Lawrence. When I returned from the service, I wrote to Bob Dole numerous times asking his help in my applying to Goddard College, because the VA would not approve the GI bill for Goddard. Bob Dole never responded despite repeated letters. He was much too busy, apparently, with "better things do do." Neither did his secretary respond.
I then wrote the American Legion in Lawrence. The reply I received from the Commander was typical of what took place after the Vietnam war - he wanted nothing to do with my application. He only wanted soldiers who were true to their country and could march and remember old times. He wanted nothing of what was to happen later. I was devastated by his response.
I remember both of these situations very well and will never forget them. I was back from the service, and despite whatever I did, I could not receive a response. I wrote many letters, and I even tried to visit Bob Dole's offices in Kansas. All this was very difficult, with my being back from the Army, not having a car or money. But, of course, he wasn't there and nothing happened. I left letters with people in Topeka, but they were never answered.
I could not pursue my own dream. That is why I purposely turn away from the Dole Center. We have no idea how many veterans were unable to pursue their dreams because Bob Dole DIDN"T CARE and neither did the American Legion.
As a result, I was unable to use my GI Bill. Meanwhile, others who had not served had graduate degrees and were moving on in life.
This was a very bitter experience for me, after having served four years in the U.S. Army, with an honorable discharge - and look at how Bob Dole and the American Legion treated me!