This letter is prompted by your editorial "California Remembers" (Nov. 21), noting the dedication of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Dec. 10.
I am a Vietnam veteran (U.S. Marine Corps, 1967-1968), and I have been involved in organizations and projects devoted to assisting Vietnam veterans for many years.
I know of few government officials who consistently have been less responsive to the problems of Vietnam veterans than President Ronald Reagan and Gov. George Deukmejian. Hundreds of outreach facilities for Vietnam veterans were closed during the Reagan Administration, leaving literally thousands of veterans without the psychological help, employment counseling, and emotional support necessary for their long-delayed re-integration into society. At the state level, the Deukmejian Administration has displayed callous disregard for the emotional and employment problems of California Vietnam veterans.
On Nov. 11 I watched in disbelief as Ronald and Nancy Reagan desecrated the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington with a contrived "photo opportunity" and transparently false sentiments. And now, through your editorial, I learn that the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be dedicated by Deukmejian, the individual who adamantly and successfully opposed the expenditure of one cent of state money to build the memorial. (That is the reason why the memorial project was a "five-year effort.")
I believe that my fallen comrades deserve our gratitude and respect. They certainly do not deserve the spectacle of cynical politicians utilizing these memorials to enhance their public images or to advance their political careers.
RICHARD E. ROSS