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Veterans Lining Up For Top Campaign

KCUR photo by Dan Verbeck
Veterans assess candidates . (LtoR) Don Mackey, Independence, Mo., Dave Denayer, Butler, Mo. and John Goodwin, Overland Park, Ks.


In the building race for President of the United States, Senator Barack Obama's veterans affairs advisors in Missouri have been listening to former military personnel at meetings around the state, while his GOP opponent, Senator John McCain's counterparts call their candidate a 'tireless advocate for our troops.'

Ten veterans and a soldier's widow told their stories to Senator Obama's advisors at the National World War One Museum in Kansas City. The ex marines, sailors, soldiers and air force men want assurances veterans benefits will be increased. Among speakers was Kathleen Aylward whose late husband served in Vietnam. She says the Veterans' Administration needs more awareness that families are very important to healing those wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In her words" ...the VA budget is not appropriating funds to that. We must have supported programs and i believe Obama will do that. I also believe that he's gonna recognize that we have female veterans in this war."

Nearly 15 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are females by Aylwards reckoning. She says their special needs are not being addressed by the current VA administration. Most veterans speaking at the forum acknowledge Senator John McCain as a genuine war hero but none say they appreciate his stance on veterans affairs.

Senator McCain's Missouri veterans' group e-mailed a quick rebuttal. The three paragraph statement notes that John McCain has always put his country first and calls him a tireless advocate for troops who are currently serving.

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