Photo Credit: hammeringsparksfromtheanvil.blogspot.com
The gist of the segment on Dateline NBC was that there are upwards of 500,000 veterans and their family members (adults and children) now suffering from a variety of different cancers that have been linked to contaminated water that was consumed or bathed in while the families were stationed at Camp Lejeune. The sad and sickening part is that it took so long before the public was made aware. To be fair the Marine Corps did provide a full response to queries raised by this story. Read here and form your own opinions.
The Dateline NBC segment had a group of veterans that they spoke with extensively. After years of fighting to get the fact that a problem existed to be recognized by the government, in 2012 a bill was finally signed by President Obama authorizing compensation and health care be provided by the Veterans Administration. (VA). Shockingly, to a man, all of the interviewed marines were getting stonewalled by VA. Their applications for assistance were repeatedly coming back marked "denied".
I can only believe things will turn around as more of the decision makers at VA become aware of the large number of people suffering. But in the meantime, this story can make any citizen's blood boil. It reminds me of the horrible battle so many of our veterans had trying to get acknowledgment of and assistance for some of the agonizing diseases caused by contact with Agent Orange.
Yes even the greatest nation on earth makes mistakes. We're only human. But we must learn to acknowledge mistakes that put our military in harm’s way, and take steps to help them in a timely manner. It is easy to just say thank you for your service but we need to do more to actually show this appreciation.
But God help us if we make these brave guardians of our freedoms have to fight our own government just as hard to get their rightful due and care. Please share this with any former marines you may know, or ill family member of marines who were stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1970 - 1987, so that they may be tested.