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(11,125 posts)
Wed Oct 15, 2014, 03:47 PM Oct 2014

Yesterday at the White River Junction, Vermont VA [View all]

My long-time companion, a Vietnam Veteran with terminal brain and lung cancer, receives treatment at the VA in White River Junction, Vermont....wonderful, considerate treatment. Whenever we`re there we make a point of reaching out to as many vets and their family members and friends as we can. I wanted to share a couple of yesterday`s experiences.

One very quiet Vietnam Vet had great difficulty using the new electronic sign-in system as many of our older vets do. After unsuccessfully swiping his ID card many times, he simply walked away. He seemed agitated, frustrated. I let things calm down a bit then approached him with an offer to help. Our offer of help unleashed an angry response which included a dozen reasons why he`d never ask for help from the government. The angry look on his face didn`t change and neither did his pacing, but I just listened. He told me how he sat on a hillside in Vietnam and watched Agent Orange being sprayed. He told me how he was happy his father died. He handed his Vietnam Marine cap to me and asked me to read the words on the patch out loud. I did. In the hour and a half I spent with him, he never once sat down, just stood on the edge of the full waiting room. When I handed his hat back to him, I used one hand to touch his hand in a gesture I hoped he would see as comforting. He immediately left the room and I went to an empty room to collect my thoughts. An hour later he walked in, took off his hat and said, "I`ve been looking for you. I wanted you to meet my wife." I stood to shake hands, but he turned and left with her in a nanosecond. About five minutes later, he returned and said with a smile, "Have a nice day." I don`t think I`ll ever forget this vet and I`ll always remember what he said about being young and carefree one minute and sitting in the middle of a war the next. "I didn`t even know where Vietnam was."

From a chair on the sidelines, I noticed a sickly, frail Vietnam veteran struggling with the paper bag he was trying to put his meds in. I`d seen him several times before, all 110 pounds of him: ponytail, Harley patches, several wonderfully artistic silver rings. I got the sense it took everything he had to stand erect and hold his head up. I nodded and smiled, he did the same.
A Vietnam Vet Harley Davidson man probably on his last leg but holding on to every speck of pride he had left. An old tough guy dealing with what he brought home from the war. As he shuffled out of the room, another Vietnam Vet approached him on a dead run. The other vet grabbed onto the Harley vet and told him he was so glad to see him. The Harley vet put his head on the other guy`s shoulder and they stood quietly like that for at least a whole minute. It was one of the most touching things I`ve seen at the VA.

Another vet that had two legs last month only has one this month. A young, female vet from the Iraq War learned yesterday that she has cancer.

Yesterday, the hundreds of cars in the VA parking lot, the filled waiting rooms and the numerous hallway dramas were all reminders of who actually pays for our wars.

Please, please, please support our veterans.


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DU Rec In_The_Wind Oct 2014 #1
Yea oldandhappy Oct 2014 #2
Thanks for that post. As a Vietnam vet I am lucky upaloopa Oct 2014 #3
Thank you for your service. n/t eggplant Oct 2014 #4
Thank you so much for your post. Both of my parents were WWII veterans and Dad served in Korea. japple Oct 2014 #5
Thank you, democrank. nt sarge43 Oct 2014 #6
My father died of Agent Orange exposure. nolabear Oct 2014 #7
And on it goes.... and on... and on.... Bigmack Oct 2014 #8
A friend died of exposure to agent orange. Enthusiast Oct 2014 #9
A Vietnam Vet I know is recording a CD of songs based on his experiences Beaverhausen Oct 2014 #10
It's something of an urban legend that vets were 'shit on' when they got back. Certainly, they KingCharlemagne Oct 2014 #19
They absolutely were shit on when they came back whopis01 Oct 2014 #25
This message was self-deleted by its author KingCharlemagne Oct 2014 #28
Got you. Agree 100% that government treated vets mighty shabbily KingCharlemagne Oct 2014 #29
I didn't mean literally. But they were taunted and called baby killers Beaverhausen Oct 2014 #30
Really? Would your friend or you be receptive to academic studies that KingCharlemagne Oct 2014 #31
IT HAPPENED TO HIM!!! Beaverhausen Oct 2014 #32
I remember those days pretty well. They were crapped on, and then they weren't. MADem Oct 2014 #37
Pentagon Papers leaker and now fervent antiwar activist Daniel Ellsberg says KingCharlemagne Oct 2014 #38
I wish we'd stop putting shit on the mall, myself. MADem Oct 2014 #39
In war, peace and when they're injured ffr Oct 2014 #11
Oh dear, I have something in my eye... cry baby Oct 2014 #12
Thank you. For those of us at home, the battle ends. For many brave souls ... CaptainTruth Oct 2014 #13
Incredibly moving, democrank Iwillnevergiveup Oct 2014 #14
VA takes really takes good care of me. marble falls Oct 2014 #15
I support the vets (I'm one myself, though I went through nothing like some have). ladyVet Oct 2014 #16
Seems to me the best thing we can do for our veterans is not to make more of them. calimary Oct 2014 #17
Thank you, Democrank. You make the world a better place. mountain grammy Oct 2014 #18
I love that part of Vermont. elleng Oct 2014 #20
I worked for many years on we lawyers called the "Dust Docket," which was usually made up Dustlawyer Oct 2014 #21
Love and Peace to you and your companion pinboy3niner Oct 2014 #22
Thank hou for being there for those vets. No Vested Interest Oct 2014 #23
Thank you for this post, demorank. My husband is a disabled Vietnam veteran. Silver Gaia Oct 2014 #24
K&R n/t intaglio Oct 2014 #26
Never was in VN, but our friend's brother was, and died from Agent Orange DFW Oct 2014 #27
I am a military brat demigoddess Oct 2014 #33
kicking…. dhill926 Oct 2014 #34
Thank you for your post. Our Serviceman suffer during and after wars. The physical and mental glinda Oct 2014 #35
HUGE K & R !!! - THANK YOU !!! WillyT Oct 2014 #36
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