I joined the Army in 1957, when I was 17 years old. I grew up in the Army. I served in Korea in 1958 and 1959.

I am one of the millions of Americans who made a commitment to our country and now I ask that members of Congress uphold their commitment to America’s veterans.

What I learned during those years in the Army really defined who I am. I have always been really proud that I served and I am proud to be an American.

Sometimes, the way that the federal government is run, such as when government functions are shut down because of an extremist set of tea party Republicans holding the country hostage, makes me wonder if it was worth it.

There are veterans all across the state who, like me, are fed up with the politicking in Washington, D.C.

Many people, when they think of a government shutdown, picture the national parks and monuments being closed. While that is undoubtedly one effect of a shutdown, there are many in Maine and across the country who lose access to things such as Head Start, nutritional programs for infants, and military pay.

I have friends and family and there are people who live in fear every day that they could lose what little they have to survive.

That isn’t fair and it isn’t right.

As a veteran, I did my job for America; it is time for Republicans in Congress to do theirs.

Ray Polley, Wales

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