For Veterans Day In Memory Of My Husband

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Jan. 3, 1991

Dear President (George H.W.) Bush,

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Roy Barnes in Vietnam

I am the wife of a Vietnam veteran. I love my husband very much, and I am proud of the fact he did serve our country in time of need. The only problem is, I have to see the effect of that war on him every day of his life. He was stationed in parts of Vietnam where Agent Orange was sprayed heavily, and has left him disabled neurologically with Parkinson's disease. He is only 43 years old.

With this upcoming war in the Persian Gulf, I tell you, it scares me very much to the point of crying often.

I did not enjoy the holidays, as I did not have the spirit. All I could picture in my mind was war and chemical destruction. If this is to happen, how many young men will be killed, or left to suffer worse effects than my husband suffers now?

I don't know if writing this letter to you will help any, but I pray to God to find it in your heart, and for God to show you a solution for, "Peace on earth and good will towards men."

Let us keep this spirit of Christmas in our hearts not just during the season, but in every day of our lives.

Yours truly,

Mrs. Alice Barnes

Payson, AZ

Nov. 5, 2006

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter in hope that people will open their eyes and ears to what our soldiers and veterans endure from the effects of war. I know as a widow of a Vietnam veteran who passed away two years ago, on Dec. 8, 2004.

I had seen the effects of that war, and how he suffered and never complained. A proud man he was, and always will be in my heart. Yes, his country gave him a bronze star, and other medals, but it will never make up for the years left of his life, and what he went through afterward. How many of you pro-war have ever had to live 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with someone who suffered through effects of a war?

Take a walk through a Veterans Affairs hospital sometime. See these young men in beds, wheelchairs, no limbs, or blind, or mentally not all there. It's not a pretty sight.

Try to get compensation from the VA. My husband was turned down all the time he was alive. I, as a widow, who put in a claim even with help from senators, have been turned down.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard on the news, our veterans of the Persian Gulf War have been denied any claim for Gulf War syndrome. VA claims Gulf War syndrome does not exist. I am submitting a letter I wrote to the old man, George Bush, Sr., in 1991, during that war, and by God if I wasn't right. I suspected, in the future, those vets would have a problem with the system, too.

I feel sorry for our soldiers from this so-called war in Iraq. Stand up hard to our U.S. government for what you fought for, once you're back in the U.S., and given medals and written glory awards. It's forgotten by the establishment when you try to file a claim.

My son and daughter-in-law, and my two grandchildren, live in Phoenix. Through their church, they go and help feed the homeless (75 percent veterans) every Sunday afternoon. My grandson, who is 14-years-old, tells me of so many homeless veterans and the stories he has heard from them. It kills me to think of what our government has done to our veterans and their families. "Shame" on our political system. I tell you who our real heroes are -- 99 percent of the time, just plain old people of every day life, your husbands, wives, sons and daughters, the ones who try so hard from generations, who really keep our country a better place to live and be safe.

Remember, so deep, more than ever this Veterans Day, what this war brings for those who serve and served, because the way our government system runs our country, what in the world will the future bring for these soldiers and veterans who served in this war? Pray for them and hope our government won't forget them when they put in a claim for their injuries and illnesses.

Mrs. Alice Barnes

Wife and widow of Roy Barnes, Vietnam vet

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