November 12. Vice-President Pence’s Veterans Day speech lauded the recently passed “VA Mission Act,” which takes money from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ budget to reimburse private-sector doctors who treat bureaucratically-authorized military vets. The Act also orders an inventory of VA facilities, the prelim to selling some of them off.
For all its flaws, the VA system did right by Dennis Peron. Dennis died in March of this year at the San Francisco VA Hospital, which overlooks the confluence of the ocean and the bay. His experience in the Air Force during the war in Vietnam is recounted on the next-to-last page of the Winter 2018/19 O’Shaughnessy’s.
Here are some pictures taken at the hospital a year ago, before Dennis rallied and got to go home for a few months. Friends had turned the walls of Dennis’s small room at the VA into a collage of proud memories.
In an outdoor enclosure for the incorrigible cigarette smokers we talked and I auditioned “Ripped Van Winkle.” —FG