Last year, shortly before Memorial Day, I wrote an email to Representative Al Baldasaro of the New Hampshire legislature. Representative Baldasaro is a former Marine who served as an advisor to Donald Trump during his Presidential campaign.

Before sending the email, I spoke to Representative Baldasoro on the phone. I learned that he served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and endures the symptoms of Gulf War Illness, which are known by many scientists to be associated with deployment environmental exposures. I told Representative Baldasoro of my own brother's struggle with environmental exposures after the post-9/11 Iraq War.

My brother, too, was a Marine, and I asked the Representative if he might get a message to the President. I asked the former advisor to President Trump if he thought he could persuade the President on that Memorial day to give a simple speech of recognition for toxic wounds.

Representative Baldasoro said he would try, and he said he thought President Trump would honor these forgotten wounded. I then sent my email. An abridged version appears below.

I asked Baldasoro to reach out to President Trump for our veterans

Dear Representative Baldasaro: After sharing our stories it became clear that you directly and personally understand the plight of so many veterans who have endured toxic injuries. You and my brother Tom both served in the Marines. You are also linked in a continuity of service in the Gulf (though in different time periods) and subsequent physiological illness. As is the case with many Veterans of the pre- and post-9/11 wars, Tom experienced hazardous war time environmental exposures, such as burn pits and other airborne hazards, then became physically ill. However, a characterization of military environmental and occupational injuries and illnesses as psychological persists to this day, undermining healthcare and benefits for many Veterans.

Veterans are told their physical injuries are psychological

My brother's physicians told him his illnesses were psychiatric shortly before he died.

I found my brother's body on February 16, 2009, and from that day forward vowed to discover what had caused his illnesses, and to see that others in his situation not be left behind. This became a singular purpose. As I write, I have a sense of this singular purpose coming to fruition.

What do I write to a man, a former Marine, who is also friend and advisor to the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump? What do I write as brother of a Marine Sergeant to his brother Marine?

I write to you today, as brother to a fallen Marine, in faith that President Trump might, in some manner arising from our fortuitous communication, be moved to publicly acknowledge those who have fallen and those who are enduring the consequences of the environmental injuries of war, for this would surely promote a healing change, and restore honor where it has been unrecognized. It would be no small thing. Sincerely, Dan Sullivan.

President Trump did not recognize the forgotten wounded last Memorial Day

Despite my efforts, I could find no indication that Representative Baldasoro got through to President Trump on Memorial Day.

Yet I have still not given up. Presidential recognition of environmental injuries like burn pit and Agent Orange exposures would go a long way to heal the many families who have lost loved ones to exposures or illness and feel forgotten by the nation.

Last year, I made an effort to reach President Trump through his former advisor. This year, I call upon the President publicly to acknowledge the existence of toxic wounds and to honor those warriors for the nation who have made the ultimate sacrifice due to the environmental injuries of war. We owe these heroes nothing less then our full support, and we owe their families nothing less than the respect of a grateful nation. As the Marine, let us be always faithful.

This Memorial Day, let our motto be "Semper Fi."

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