And Rackham has a good hunch why: In 2011, his good buddy Myrl Thompson started fighting for him by writing and explaining to Department of Veterans Affairs officials how Rackham served and was wounded in the war, had a hard time keeping employment after, and suffered through the years as a result of what he endured during the war. (Thompson was so moved by his friend's life and service that he paid tribute to him by publishing his story in a 2012 book, "PT Boat 81 -- Still on Patrol 66 Years After WWII.")
Despite Rackham's previous efforts going back to 1974, the VA repeatedly rejected his appeals for help -- at least five times -- because of a "lack of information." Then, all of a sudden, one day he received a letter that said his benefits had been approved "at the level of 50 percent."
Rackham explained to Fox News: "What drove me crazy was that they had the same information in 2008 and they denied me. That's what blows me out of the water. Ever since 1974, when I first asked for benefits, they've had the same information."
As far as how it felt to be rejected by the VA nearly his whole life after faithfully serving his country, Rackham's only commentary was: "It made me feel like I was worthless." He added, "Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction."
I can already hear the political response by VA officials and other government minions: Rackham is "clearly an exception to the rule." Yeah, sure, and I guess there are myriad other "exceptions to the rule," too, such as the dozens of courageous veterans who are now dead because some were cooking the books and dodging civic duty at veterans hospitals across America.
They are not exceptions to the rule. They are proof of the U.S. government's ongoing corruption and neglect, abandonment and abuse of its citizens and war heroes.
John F. Kennedy certainly had it right here: "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them."
Even better is Rackham's message to the VA: "One out of every six homeless people in America is a veteran. For heaven's sake, acknowledge them. They should never be forgotten."
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