Atomic Veteran’s Widow/Widower and Children

TO THE WIDOWS AND CHILDREN

You too are the victims of an unconscionable, haphazardly executed military plan to deify the atomic bomb.

Because of “secrecy” surrounding the nuclear test program and the veteran’s “oath of secrecy” very little is known by their families about the veterans involvement and experiences. Widows are often unaware of the veteran’s test participation and that the illness that led to their death was the result of ionizing radiation exposure. You may not be aware that your husband or father died in the service of our country and has made the ultimate sacrifice.
This dedication is to the young women, who along with the Atomic Veterans, were denied the right to know of the possible deleterious effects of radiation exposure on their lives and that of their children. They were denied the right to know that their futures held increased possibilities of any or all of the following effects:

  • Becoming caretakers while watching loved ones suffer and die at early ages.
  • Seeing their children born with bewildering and unexplainable genetic problems.
  • Raising “fatherless children” or VA proclaimed “war orphans”.
  • Dealing with mounting medical expenses and disabilities that deplete financial resources and effect entire families. This requires the addition of “wage earner” responsibilities to the caretaker’s struggles. The feelings of guilt and anger increases as families attempt to survive decreased income and increasing indebtedness.
  • Learning that part of the VA’s medical treatments may have included additional experimentation, without prior knowledge or consent, prompted by attempts to find or develop effective treatments for radiation illnesses.
  • Children watching in confusion as parents angrily battle a puzzeling, unseen and unyielding adversary,
    (VA?)…(our government?)…(classified records?)… (radiation exposure?). Wives and children watch helplessly as the Atomic Veteran struggles with fears, pain and disabilities and the political fight which could diminish ever mounting medical costs.
  • Children withdrawing from family-life as a sense of overwhelming confusion and fear become an everday part of their lives.
  • Mature sons and daughters discovering that the medical problems effecting their parents, themselves or their children are conditions now claimed to occur from radiation exposure.
  • Being thwarted in attempts to gain access to information which could provide answers, explanations and assurances, and yes!!… COMPENSATION. Attempts that produce only frustration, denials, corrupted or destroyed records, more secrecy and disinterest.

Families wonder what kind of legacy have they and their children been handed as a result of the US Nuclear Test experience and radiation exposure. Families find that the Veteran’s service years linger to haunt him and his family in painful and frightening ways.

So the 50 year quest continues for answers, acknowledgment, admissions and compassionate resolutions as does the continuing effect of radiation exposure. You wonder, for how many generations will this anguish be perpetuated? How many more generations must endure the consequences of ionizing radiation exposure?

You ask questions and get no answers. You would like to see beyond the veil of secrecy which still exists today—50+ years after the first test.
This nation’s consequences could easily be the repetition of this abhorrent, inhumane “secret” history.

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RESTORATION OF DIC FOR UNREMARRIED WIDOWS

The “Veterans Benefit Act of 1998” amended Section 1311 of USC 38 by restoring eligibility for Dependents Indemnity and Compensation (DIC) effective October 1, 1998 to those surviving spouses who had remarried and subsequently had that marriage terminated. The surviving spouse must make application for this benefit to be restored. Any problems or questions should be directed to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).