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Dear Veterans Affairs, We just want to talk: Signed The Vets

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Cory Clark       (Page 1 of 8 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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Freedom Plaza to V.A.
(Image by Cory V. Clark)
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br />Freedom Plaza to V.A. by Cory V. Clark

Washington D.C.-September 5, 2012

A number of veterans from across the board have been occupying Freedom Plaza for over a year now in anticipation of this day; today they will march on the Veterans Affairs office in Washington, D.C.

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In order to speak with representatives about various key issues needing addressing in the veteran community, including suicide, homelessness rates among veterans, standard of living increases for veterans, and cutting the red tape on claims and answering V.A. claims in a timely fashion. The original plan was for a twenty-four hour occupation in front of the V.A. Office at 810 Vermont Avenue.

When we got to the V.A. Office, a short walk from Freedom Plaza to just across from McPherson Square (the site of another occupation), many of the veterans spoke about the issues near and dear to them.

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Don't tread on us! by Cory V. Clark

Many of them are angry at the lies they were told when they joined, while in service and after they were discharged.

"Veterans are suckered into wars for greed and profit, then have to fumble through the maze of paperwork to file claims," said Bill Perry, a Vietnam Veteran. "They've used us and abused us and these kids like an old condom, then threw us all away."

"No one knew about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder back in my war, so they self medicated; the V.A. won't look at your claims if you've self medicated. This is unacceptable," said Perry.

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After Bill finished a mysterious masked young masked veteran of four combat tours came out to speak. "They are not taking care of our pain; more soldiers have killed themselves than died in the war."

"Everyone who was involved with 9/11 is either dead or has been captured. We looked around and asked ourselves, 'So do we pack up? Is it time to do inventory? Yet a year later, there we still are.'"

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Cory Clark is a freelance photojournalist and writer focused on civil and human rights issues, social justice and politics. He is a regular contributor with Getty Images, AP and AFP. His work has appeared in, The Guardian, Fortune (more...)

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