In August 1999, my father, Frank J. Bakula, was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. My father did two tours of duty in World War II, one with the Army and the other with the Merchant Marine. I decided to go to the Veterans Hospital on Fresno Street and Clinton Avenue, to see if they could help my father.
I had both of his honorable discharge documents with me, so I was prepared. The lady at the hospital said his records burned in the 1973 fire at Overland, Kan., where the veterans records were stored, and they couldn't help my father even though I had his honorable discharge papers. My father died four weeks later. I never told my father what our government did to him.
My father, like all veterans, gave his country his best. It's embarrassing that our country didn't give it back.