|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Vice President’s Report, July/August 2023|
Conventions and Commemorations
Another two years have passed, and VVA’s National Convention is upon us. It will be held at the Rosen Center, August 8-11, in Orlando, Florida. We have been there before and know this is a great venue with much to see and do in the area.
The business of the Convention will be the primary focus. Proposed Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions will be on the agenda for the delegates to consider and vote upon. You can rest assured that how to handle VVA’s dissolution will be on the agenda as well.
The all-important elections for Officers and Board members for the next two years takes place on Friday. At this time, we have 16 candidates running for the ten At-Large Director slots, including some new faces. Delegates should check out the candidate statements and decide who they want to run the organization over the next two years.
We look forward to our usual heart-pounding election. Delegates will want to attend their regional caucuses to hear the Officer and Board candidates’ briefings on Wednesday and Thursday night.
Dan Stenvold, Chair of the Convention Planning Committee, as well as Wes Guidry, VVA’s Meeting Planner, have been busy putting together the Convention agenda. Information about all events and entertainment is on our website.
The host of this Convention, the Florida State Council, has also been busy getting volunteers to help and planning activities. For the first time, there will be a spouse tour to The Villages for non-delegates who wish to go. They can sign up on the Convention registration form.
Delegate registrations have been coming into headquarters and the staff has been busy processing them all. Be patient; there’s lots going on at the HQ building.
The D.C. Commemoration
During the May 11-13 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration in Washington, D.C. events took place on the National Mall, JFK Hockey Fields, and West Potomac Park. The Welcome Home celebration honored Vietnam War veterans, the contributions we have made as veterans and as citizens, as well as our allies, the military services, and nongovernmental organizations that support veterans and their families.
The program featured a plaza of appreciation with entertainment, a parade ground, interactive engagement, historical and museum exhibits, two display areas featuring Vietnam War helicopters and vehicles, a veterans’ services hub, and more. VVA had a tent to welcome Vietnam War veterans home.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights put on a great jump show. A baton was passed from one jumper to another in mid-air. That baton was then presented to VVA National President Jack McManus and now sits in the Duggins Conference Room in Silver Spring. Take a look at it the next time you’re at the HQ building.
All the armed services were represented there and broke their backs trying to be nice to us. There were also concerts, films about the Vietnam War, panel discussions, the Marine Corps Drill Team, and the U.S. Coast Guard Jazz Band. In one panel discussion, six four-star generals and flag officers who served in Vietnam discussed the war and its legacy.
I do not think what Vietnam War veterans went through when we came home has been repeated by the public with our current veteran population. The tide has truly changed. Vietnam veterans are responsible for that change because we did not take the abuse, the disrespect, and the injustices dealt out to us.
VVA was born in 1978 to redress those injustices, and we have accomplished what few other veterans service organizations have. I believe that VVA’s work will never be forgotten. Our efforts over the last 45 years will insure that the legacy of American Vietnam War veterans will live on because the armed forces learned many unforgettable lessons from our war. What we did and how we did it are a part of us, and always will be.
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