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I was never close to him. I met him twice so I can't say that his death has greatly effected me with saddness. I know his name, that he was my great uncle and that he fought in the Vietnam war. He worked for my grandmother and ran her auto repair shop in McIntosh, New Mexico. He didn't have any kids and wasn't married but I know my family was greatly affected by his death. It wasn't that he died that bothers me so much but rather the way he died because he took his own life 4 days ago. He suffered from the side effects of Agent Orange like many Vietnam Veterans have. For most of his life he fought with the Veteran Affairs about his ailing health and they always denied his claims and lost his paperwork every time he filed them. Eventually he got terminal cancer and the VA claims that it's heriditary but no one in my family has any sort of cancer or has ever had cancer. Sunday evening he argued with my grandmother and threatened to take his life with her gun. I guess my grandmother didn't think much of it because he always threatened to kill himself. He shot himself  in the head outside my grandmother's house. They found him on Monday morning slumped over the car with blood all over. After I talked to my grandmother on the phone I started thinking about all the troubles he went through with his health because of the Agent Orange. I thought about how many decades he went back and forth with the VA to get benefits and health care coverage that was never granted to him. I thought about all the other Vietnam Veterans out there who are sick and are also waiting for health care, compensation for their pain and medical conditions, or just to be recognized and heard by our wonderful Government. I thought about all those people who are in or were in the same situation as my uncle and that hurt me the most.

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I am so sorry.

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They stomp on you, but you gotta hold your head up high and remember fiercely. So sorry for your loss. Words are not adequate enough. I can give you my online virtual hug and a shoulder to lean on.

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Thank you

Thank you both for your condolences. I'm not stopping on the fight my uncle started. I just wrote my first of many letters to our President and I'm trying to figure out how this petition thing works, how and who to submit it to and of course, the content and how to circulate it. I want to do one online and one physical. I think what really needs to be done is that the VA needs to be reformed and our Government needs to take action for what they did. I think it's so stupid for them to continue to believe that we need more data and more testing to support the claims of thousands of Vietnam Veterans. I don't know if they are sitting on their thumbs in Congress or if they're just waiting for all the Vietnam vets to die so this problem goes away. The fact is, the problem doesn't go away because many of their offspring are born with birth defects that are directly related to their parent's Agent Orange exposure. Vietnam has done research on Agent Orange effects on it's own country and the results are unbelievable. It's so disturbing.