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VA legislation is a significant step forward

Sen. John McCain, left, R-AZ, and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, hold a news conference to discuss recent reports that dozens of VA hospital patients in Arizona may have died while awaiting medical care in the Phoenix VA Health Care System, adjacent to the VA Hospital on Friday, April 18, 2014, in Phoenix. Last week's disclosures by current and former Department of Veterans Affairs employees is leading to investigations by the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Inspector General for the VA are looking into not only the deaths, but allegations of falsified record keeping and medical reporting. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

This spring, as tragic reports surfaced of veterans dying while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA, I hosted a town hall forum at Burton Barr Central Library where the families of four veterans who passed away stood before a packed room to tell their stories.

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Arizonans in ‘Old Guard’ say honoring the fallen is the greatest service

Units of the Old Guard stand in formation during an Army retirement ceremony on Nov. 1 at Fort Myer. (Cronkite News Service photo by Chad Garland)

Former Phoenix residents Tyler O’Connor and Enrique Garcia took different paths to the Army.

O’Connor knew at age 7 that he wanted to be a soldier and spent four years in Army ROTC at Arizona State University to earn a commission in the infantry. Garcia decided much later to enlist, about a year after high school. O’Connor wound up serving in Afghanistan, Garcia was deployed twice to Iraq.

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