VA has served veterans well over the years

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, August 30, 2008

On Aug. 8, 2008, at the Albert Lea American Legion I attended a meeting with Rep. Tim Walz and Sen. Amy Klobuchar on veterans issues. I had to leave early and did not get to state my thanks for how well vets and the troops have been treated in recent years. I also wanted to point out vets are citizens and taxpayers who do not want pandering and seeking to buy their votes with tax funds. Reasonable budgets for all and a balanced budget for the U.S. is needed. Inflation and government mandates hurt vets especially retired ones.

Over the years troop pay has gotten much better than in the past: $1,200-plus a month to start now, verses $98 in 1968 when I entered the Army or $21 in 1942 when my dad did or the $13 when his grandfathers’ Wisconsin Cavalry Unit was federalized in 1862.

Veterans’ Administration compensation has been good in recent years, and while I don’t get it myself, my son-in-law (Army MP in Iraq) does, my brother (Air Force in Vietnam for agent orange) does, and my dad did (US Army skin disease from the California desert).

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My paternal grandmother was partially raised on her dad’s Civil War disability pension. When he died she was 9 years old. Her mother got $30 a month as a Civil War widow.

The VA has done well over the years for vets and deserves our thanks for the good job it has done, and I am sure they want to improve within a reasonable budget and spending priorities.

Tom Schleck

Albert Lea