Jon Stewart & Susan Zeier J. Scott Applewhite AP

Topical comedian Jon Stewart hugs veterans’ activist Susan Zeier of Sandusky, Ohio after the U.S. Senate finally passed the PACT Act to help former service personnel whose illnesses appear traceable to toxic “burn pits” in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Veterans Administration must now presume that certain illnesses came from such exposure, instead of the veteran having to prove the case. The vote was scuttled a week ago by Republicans who objected to an unrelated bill, so they refused to support this one. So a few dozen veterans from around the nation camped out on the steps of the Capitol to demand a vote. Stewart drew media attention to the issue, which pressured Republicans to reverse their position and allow the bill to pass. One additional note of special importance to Daily Office members: the PACT Act also includes veterans of “the Vietnam Era” who were exposed to Agent Orange while fighting in Laos, Cambodia and neighboring countries – including our late Honorary Deacon Clint Gilliland, who blamed his decades-long illnesses on Agent Orange, but gave up fighting the VA. He was a Navy medic embedded with the Marines in Cambodia, a secret and illegal incursion the U.S. did not publicly acknowledge. Jon Stewart, Susan Zeier and friends: thank you. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

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