|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|President’s Message, May/June 2022|
Time To Show We Haven’t Gone Away
BY JACK McMANUS
We are in the seventh inning stretch of the congressional legislative session. Several very critical pieces of proposed legislation require us to weigh in with every ounce of clout that we can muster. You are desperately needed to help us mount our all-hands-on-deck campaign to get the toxic exposure and veterans caregiver issues signed into law before the fall mid-term elections.
The House approved the Honor the PACT Act. It now must be approved with a few important modifications in the Senate. The Senate bill, the Cost of War Act, does nothing for the Gulf War vets or for Vietnam veterans with hypertension and other lingering health issues. It is principally an enrollment bill for Post-9/11 veterans that does little to address their underlying burn pit-caused health issues.
The baloney that the Senate bill answers all past, present, and future military toxic exposure health issues is a charade. It’s been chopped into phases that will never be enacted, and the politicians damn well know it. The Senate needs to accept the House-approved legislation now!
Expect to be seeing and hearing the tough old VVA again—we are back in this fight. You, the members, wanted us to stay alive as an organization to continue to be relevant until we all die. Now is your time to help us win this fight. Watch the Web Weekly and check your email regularly for recommendations on how you can participate.
TIME TO PLAN
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is planning a great week-long series of events to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the dedication of The Wall throughout the Veterans Day week leading up to November 13.
VVA will actively participate in a whole bunch of interesting things during that week. VVA members and their families from all around the country can join together as we honor and remember our own military service, especially all of our veteran colleagues from fifty years ago.
As Vietnam veterans did 40 years ago, we will show the country and the world that it is never too late to respect who we are as people and as patriots. We can still teach from our presence and with our own history that we can go to our Nation’s Capital and participate in events with the respect and compassion we have for our nation and for each other without tearing it apart. The youth of this country (and lots of older citizens) need to see and hear that tearing ourselves apart is not the only way to bring about change. Peacefully showing our young people who we are and why some Americans made the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War is our nation’s highest form of respect and honor.
It would be great to say that we can all meet again for the fiftieth anniversary in 2032, but I have already been booked that day in a hotter place.
Many of your buddies are going to make the best of this year’s fortieth anniversary, so please plan to join us as an individual, as a chapter, or with a group of old friends. For me, it’s not just something on my bucket list—it’s the whole dang bucket. We’ll have more details about all the events as we get closer to Veterans Day.
WE CAN’T HEAR YOU
In the last several months I’ve had the opportunity to visit with chapters and state councils as they come back to life with in-person meetings and events. As varied experiences, they’ve been knock-me-over-with-a-feather type occasions that very clearly showed me that invisible does not equate to being inactive. Good Golly, Miss Molly! You all sure have been busy behind those masks and smelly sprays.
So let’s make a deal: You all tell me what you’ve been doing, and I’ll spend more time telling you what we’ve been doing in the head shed. Frankly, we’ve both been doing a lousy job of communicating. Tell us all about the good things you’ve been doing, and I will work on spreading the word far and wide. And feel free to tell me the bad things, too, such as what I haven’t done right and what needs to get done. I promise that you will be heard and will get a response. We are looking at implementing some new channels of communication to all VVA members, so stay tuned.
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