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"Veteran Will Work For Food"

by Mario Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003 at 2:23 PM

idea for a protest sign

Today I was going into the MacArthur Park Red Line station and found a man holding a sign on the street level entrance (facing the escalators) that read:


I talked to Paul for a few minutes. He says he was in Vietnam and managed to to be discharged after a bullet barely missed him while in a hospital bed.
But he says to get veterans benefits you have to or had to stay in 'Nam until you were honorably discharged or something. Being in for 1 or 2 years wasn't good enough.

Currently he is against the war with Iraq and is homeless in MacArthur Park. Although he may be only in his 50s (if he was in Vietnam) he looks to be well into his 60s and from a humanistic standpoint, receiving social security benefits. Maybe war and now streetlife has aged his eyes.

I said his sign had some political meaning: You fight for your government, and when you're let go they have no use for you. You're on your own. It's a sober reminder to all the flag waving patriotic young men out there itching for some "action" in defense of Uncle Sam. Uncle doesn't give a shit about you.

I asked if he would be willing to have his picture taken for a meal. He said he's open to the idea but he can get food at a soup kitchen. He would prefer money. I said "$5?", and he said "How about $10?".

So, anyways this would be an excellent picture to take and blow up onto a picket sign. I met him at 1:30PM on a Wednesday but he says he is down there every day in the afternoon if anybody wants to take some pictures.
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