Thirty minutes into a new documentary film about one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, a male breast cancer survivor describes the faith that exists among veterans of Camp Lejeune that justice will be done.
"We're in every town across America," Mike Partain says in the film. "We're in every town, in every city and every state. And every one of us has a congressman and a senator."
"Semper Fi: Always Faithful" illustrates the overwhelming odds in fighting the Defense Department, Congress and powerful special interests over the historic water contamination at the North Carolina Marine base. The two men at the film's center, Partain and veteran Marine drill instructor Jerry Ensminger, remain skeptical of the powerful operators inside the Beltway.
But not so cynical that they don't see some hope.
"You can help," Ensminger, of White Lake, N.C., tells one group of veterans in the film. "Write a letter to your member of Congress."
The film will be shown Thursday night on Capitol Hill as lawmakers host a screening in hopes of swaying their peers to pass legislation to help victims of the contamination.
Bills filed in the House of Representatives and Senate would provide health care to any Camp Lejeune veteran or family member with illnesses related to the contamination. A vote on the Senate bill is expected in the Veterans Affairs Committee next week.