Thank you very much for the Feb. 11 article “Caregiver benefits proposal draws criticism.” I am a retired Air Force master sergeant, having served from 1981-2001. Fortunately, although I served a total of 10 months in Southwest Asia, I did not have to experience the true horrors of war that so many of our combat veterans have had to endure over the past decade. I find it tragically ironic that for a country that has admitted the mistakes in the manner in which it treated its Vietnam War veterans, we seem to be riding down a sadly familiar trail.

With the crisis of the federal budget upon us for yet another fiscal year, I am very concerned that the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to fail in implementing the legislative requirements levied upon it. So many American soldiers and their families sacrificed their futures to fulfill their commitment in answering America’s call to duty, America cannot afford to fail them now, lest our country lose its credibility in all our eyes and repeat the mistakes of its seemingly forgotten history.

So many veterans returned from Vietnam with injuries that impeded their ability to succeed for the rest of their lives, and yet they were ignored by the very nation they served. These injuries consisted of physical impairments as well as mental impairments. The full effect of these combat-related injuries will not be known for decades to come. Now is not the time to fail. The caregivers and our wounded warriors need our support now — and in perpetuity — not just until the ticker tape parades are over and all of our troops have come home.

I plead to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, and to President Barack Obama — let us not fail our veterans and repeat a shameful chapter in the history of how America welcomes its combat veterans home. Please enact the full range of benefits to our wounded warriors and their caregivers contained in the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, and in the spirit of the legislation as drafted by the American public’s elected representatives.

Again, thanks very much for your article, and bringing this shameful treatment of our veterans to light.

Master Sgt. Jim Klipp (retired)

Arlington, Va.

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