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Letter: Government has let down veterans of Vietnam War

Government has let down veterans of Vietnam War

This month was my 50-year anniversary of flying out of Vietnam as a 19-year-old veteran. As we lifted off, someone started singing, “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place” by the Animals, and soon everyone had joined in.

At that time, we thought we were done with war and the Vietnam experience. Little did we realize as teenage veterans that 40 or 50 years down the road, we would be reliving this Godforsaken experience. As we get older, we foresee and expect health issues to creep into our lives. But as veterans, we never expected our government would be responsible for the demise of so many all these years later.

I recently had a heart-related issue that has been presumed by my doctors to be related to Agent Orange exposure. This ghost from the past keeps resurfacing in our lives some 50 years later. Myself and many of my fellow veterans are suffering today from exposure to Agent Orange that was used by our government.

Acknowledgment by our government and a small pension as senior citizens does nothing to ease the pain and worry that all veterans from that time deal with today. What do we need from these politicians, who hardly ever serve but are quick to send our troops in harm’s way? We need accountability. Take care of all our servicemen who have proudly served. No more jumping through hoops and waiting years for real help and compensation. Take care of these vets, who proudly served their country in a time of need, sooner than later. Because in many cases, there is no later.

Phil Ryan

U.S. Marine Corps. Veteran

West Seneca

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