ATLANTA - Persian Gulf War veterans this weekend got something they have waited six years for - an apology from a government official for the way their mysterious illnesses have been handled.
U.S. Rep. Bernard Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, drew a standing ovation from people attending a conference of the National Gulf War Resource Center when he said the government had taken too long to do too little to help thousands of sick veterans.
"It's not my job to do it, but let me ..., on behalf of the United States government, apologize to every man and woman who was insulted by our government not acknowledging the problems, who was mistreated by the government," Sanders said. "You put your lives on the line. You did not deserve that."
Many of the more than 200 people at the conference fought back tears as Sanders rushed to catch a plane back to Washington, D.C., for an unusual weekend session of Congress.
Sanders is a member of a House committee that has recommended taking away the Gulf War illness investigation from the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
On Sunday, the Gulf War Resource Center's board adopted resolutions
calling for an independent
investigation of Gulf War illnesses and for appointment of an independent counsel to investigate whether Pentagon and other officials should be charged with crimes for their handling of the investigation.
Originally Published, November 10, 1997 , Belleville News
Democrat, Belleville, Illinois
(c) 1997, Belleville News-Democrat, Belleville, Ill.
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