(CBS Washington) — This country’s veterans will be celebrated this Memorial Day Weekend, but the celebrations come amid a month-long scandal involving Veteran Affairs hospitals.
The VA scandal has gotten a great deal of attention lately after reports surfaced that many veterans were on secret waiting lists, with some dying in the excessive and long process. Sounding off about the scandal is actor Gary Sinise who has his own take on the current state of the VA system.
“What we do know is that there’s a great need within the veteran community for additional services and additional support,” Sinise told CBS News. “The VA system is obviously broken and has been for a long time. These current things happening in the VA that are coming to the surface right now — that is a product of a very, very deep problem within the VA…Things are going to happen within a bureaucracy like that that are going to have negative effects. I think some of those things are surfacing now.”
Sinise, who notably played Lt. Dan Taylor in “Forrest Gump” and will be co-hosting the National Memorial Day concert in Washington D.C. for the ninth year, has become a pillar of advocacy for veterans. His foundation, The Gary Sinise Foundation, seeks to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build veteran and military communities in this country.
Those same communities have spoken out about the treatment of veterans as secret waiting lists surfaced, revealing years of a damaged VA system.
“It’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Rep. Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican who heads the House Veteran Affairs panel, told CNN on Friday.
It’s been reported that dozens may have died while waiting for care from the VA system, and with allegations cropping up only six months ago, many do not know how far back the damage really goes.
“We’ve received some information and some tips that will make what has already come look like kindergarten stuff,” Rep. Miller went on to tell CNN’s New Day.
Only as recently as Wednesday did President Obama address the public about the current scandal, saying “If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period.”
Many have spoken out about the current state of the VA system, but as both President Obama and Rep. Miller state, much more digging needs to happen to get to the bottom of this.
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