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Letter: VA backlog is a travesty

As we approach Memorial Day, it’s appropriate to look beyond the shocking and horrific Boston bombing. My heart is with the city where I was born, and the victims. Onefundboston.org is a real blessing for them.

Media coverage of victims’ injuries and the enormous physical and psychic challenges on the road back gives us insight into the life changing struggles our veterans face. The random violence we found abhorrent in Boston has been going on for more than 10 years in countries where our troops are in harm’s way. There is no One Fund for our wounded soldiers and sailors or for Iraqi and Afghan civilians.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has 900,000 outstanding claims from vets in an inefficient paper-based claims system that interferes with healing. Claims for war-related injuries including loss of limbs, sight or hearing, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress currently take an average of 279 days, with some taking 500 days. The VA says claim waiting time will be down to 125 days by 2015.

Every day there are 22 veterans’ suicides. The invisible wounded are just as important as the marathon victims. Yet their plight hardly makes the media, perhaps because the corporate benefactors of war don’t want us to think about this abuse of those who served us.

We need to be as engaged with our vets’ needs as we are with the marathon victims. A steady bombardment of calls, emails and letters is the only way to move our representatives to end this travesty.

CHRISTINE HAGUE

Weare

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