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To the editor:

After reading your editorial page in the Deseret News March 2, titled "Let VA hospital beds stay empty," I feel from my own experience with the VA hospital in Salt Lake City that you have left out one very important fact.I am a four-year Navy veteran of World War II. My brother-in-law is a 20-year Navy and Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War, in which he was wounded. In 1989, we went up to the Salt Lake VA to get a medical card just in case we needed any medical attention. They just laughed at us, would not grant us an interview of any kind or look at our honorable discharge and other papers.

They just said we do not have the time or the people to do the paperwork. Also, no money to hire anyone after the so-called means-test legislation slammed VA hospital doors on thousands of veterans nationwide in 1984.

Why did we want a medical card? Well, for one reason, we are entitled to one. Also, we are both retired on Social Security. I was 63, my brother-in-law was 62 at the time, with no health insurance.

I quote your own editorial, "This nation owes a big debt of gratitude and compassion to its military veterans, especially those injured in serving their country." So that's why we say if veterans can't get a bed in a VA hospital, how in the world can you say let non-veterans have the empty beds?

George J. Carpenter

Salt Lake City