VA Scandal on Minds of Many at Miami Beach VFW Post on Memorial Day

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The recent scandal involving Veterans Affairs was on the minds of many at Monday's Memorial Day service at the VFW post in South Beach. (Published Monday, May 26, 2014)

    The recent scandal involving Veterans Affairs was on the minds of many at Monday's Memorial Day service at the VFW post in South Beach.

    South Florida is one of the fastest growing places for veterans to settle when they leave military service and thousands have had tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Outside Post 3559 Monday, "Taps" played in honor of our fallen heroes. Inside, "The Valor of the Brave" mural was unveiled, depicting the sacrifices made by those in uniform.

    "It means that it's commemorating, I get upset, it's commemorating all the past wars and for us to remember those, to remember them on Memorial Day," said Doug Morris, the chaplain at VFW Post 3559.

    "My grandfather was in the war as well. He's a WWII veteran, so for me its just been something amazing to be a part of and I just wanted to get a point across of some history," mural artist Fred Love said.

    Retired Marine John Hamilton spoke of his trip back to Vietnam at Monday's ceremony.

    "I walked down the hill and that's where Andy Rankin died," he said, remembering his friend.

    Hamilton is one of the top leaders nationwide in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and met with President Obama to address the trouble in the VA heath care system.  The White House has ordered an investigation into the actions at 26 VA centers, including one in Florida.
     
    There are allegations some veterans died while they were on waiting lists. There are also calls for the VA Secretary General Eric Shinseki to be removed.

    "Here's what I say about General Shinseki: he's an American hero. I have great respect and admiration for him but if you can't right the ship then he needs to go," Hamilton said. "He can't personally be held responsible for what's gone on for 40 years but he has to turn it around."

    "We need a fresh start here, we need to re-look at this. I don't doubt General Shinseki's commitment and his commitment to our country but I think the President and his administration need to act quickly," Rep. Joe Garcia said.

    The House of Representatives has already voted to give the head of the VA more authority to fire and replace supervisors in hospitals. The President has said he wants some answers and quickly.

    Hamilton told the audience Monday that the military can get a ground soldier trained for combat in little over three months, much less time than it takes some vets to get an appointment in the VA healthcare system.

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