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President’s Message, March/April 2022 -   -  

Lots of Good Stuff Going On


On March 2 I presented VVA’s annual congressional testimony before the Joint Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees. My predecessor, John Rowan, was an absolute master spokesperson. I hope I did you all a bit proud. We have a fabulous Government Affairs and Communications team, and they worked hard with this old relic on the testimony.

I shared much critical information gained through decades of sticking the cow in the ribs. VVA is viewed as the elder VSO on the Hill, and without a doubt, we are among the wiser VSOs committee members will likely encounter. The entire testimony is posted on vva.org, and a short, five-minute verbal summary is on Facebook.

It’s important to know we are still carrying the heavy generational baggage for many of our long-term allies and partners. We are still fighting for the families of our brothers and sisters whose names are inscribed on The Wall through our support of Sons and Daughters In Touch and Gold Star Mothers.

We are committed to keeping the POW/MIA issue as our solemn priority, so the National League of POW/MIA Families can continue to depend on us to back the fullest possible accounting. We will not let new leaders in Congress forget the pain that our colleagues’ families experienced.

Maybe we can help push through legislation that assures that current and future veterans don’t have to experience the adversarial attitudes that so many veterans received while trying to get assistance for everything from emotional stress to unknown toxic ailments, to loss of hearing. It’s not okay to spend trillions of dollars on wars and then pinch pennies on caring for our warriors.


This year we have a ton of meaningful events that VVA will be hosting across the United States and its territories.
Let’s look at March 29, Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day. This is a national holiday, which means it will be observed by VVA chapters and state councils throughout the country. In this issue, “Parting Shot” provides a great preview of VVA’s participation in the ceremonies at The Wall.

Memorial Day and Father’s Day are ideal occasions for VVA members nationwide to host and participate in local events. Standing together as brother- and sister-veterans and saluting is a powerful expression and a fulfilling experience both to onlookers and for ourselves.

August 10 is Agent Orange Recognition Day and September 16 we will participate in POW/MIA Recognition Day. These days were conceived by our fellow Vietnam veterans, and they present great opportunities for us to join as groups to share our comradery.

VVA holds our National Leadership & Education Conference August 9-13 in Greenville, South Carolina. The focus will be on how we can “welcome back” VVA after these wasted years of the COVID pandemic. We can learn from each other and share how we bring vital information and experiences to veterans, veterans’ families, and our communities.

This year also marks the fortieth anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. During Veterans Day Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Executive Director Jim Knotts is planning an event-filled week of observances, and VVA has been invited to plan and participate in the events. We are taking VVMF up on that offer and have shifted schedules to make sure that our entire National Board of Directors, a full complement of our committee chairs, and all VVA state council presidents have the opportunity to participate. 

Dennis Howland, VVA Public Affairs Committee Chair, and Marsha Four, former National Vice President and current Special Adviser, are working on plans for our members to participate and help VVMF make the fortieth anniversary of The Wall a memorable event, including displaying VVA’s pageantry though the massing of the colors from every VVA state council. We’ll have lots more details in the May/June issue.

We’ll also share with you details about the honor that has been conferred on VVA to serve as the official VSO host of the National 2022 Veterans Day Memorial Events at Arlington National Cemetery.

I am very much looking forward to these exciting events, including honoring the 58,000-plus service members whose names are inscribed on The Wall. I am sure we would all love to be around to honor The Wall’s fiftieth anniversary, but that’s a real long shot.

Please join us in Washington, D.C., the end of March and again the week of Veterans Day 2022.




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Geoffrey Clifford Mark F. Erickson Chuck Forsman