It was almost un-American. As young men returned home from fighting in the Vietnam War, they came back almost as though they were unwelcome.
Many see it as an injustice that took place some 50 years ago. Today, some of those veterans are facing another battle — one for benefits that come years after they served their country overseas.
Last week, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer was in Dunkirk to call for the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Veterans Affairs, to stop playing games, end the years-long dispute, and add new conditions to the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list. “It’s an absolute disgrace to have our government say that you’re not getting the benefits you’re entitled to caused by your brave service overseas,” he said, noting 32,000 Western New Yorkers served in the war in the 1960s and ’70s.
Despite some noting Schumer’s call as pandering, the reality is those who served in Vietnam have faced health issues for years — some since they returned. All Schumer is seeking is that these veterans, diagnosed with bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension as well as “Parkinson-like symptoms” be eligible for help.
These soldiers gave their time and service to our country while on foreign ground. This initiative deserves support.