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March/April 2007

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
I Love A Parade

BY JOHN ROWAN

It used to be that if you were running for Congress, you’d really want a stint in the service of your choice—Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard—on your resume. Today, however, there are fewer military veterans serving in Congress than since right after the First World War.

VVA wants to recognize these men and women who donned the uniform and now continue to serve. On April 25, we are hosting a reception, honoring members of the 110th Congress who served our nation in the armed forces.

The event will help focus attention on veterans who served and who continue to serve. It will also help illuminate some of the issues we are concerned about. If you’d like to learn more about this reception, contact. Carl Tuvin, one of our senior advisers, at 301-254-8461, or via email at ctuvin@vva.org

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the dedication of The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial—our memorial. In celebration and commemoration of this occasion, VVA will host a parade in memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and in honor of our service to our nation.

We invite all Vietnam-era veterans to join us in Washington on Saturday, November 10. In this edition of The VVA Veteran, you will find an announcement providing details on the parade and other events of the day. We ask every chapter and individual veteran to register for the parade, and we will assist with travel arrangements.

We also encourage everyone to join the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s traditional Veterans Day services on Sunday, November 11. Please plan to join us with your family and friends for this special experience.

Also featured in this edition is our 2007 Legislative Agenda. It is not much different than last year’s in that we again focus on three main issues: Funding, Accountability, and Outreach. The main difference this year, of course, is that the Democrats are now in charge. Given their support for many of our initiatives when they were in the minority, we plan to hold them to their promises.

We have presented this agenda in a special joint session of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees. We also have testified before both committees, reiterating our concerns that the VA’s proposed budget for health care and claims processing is insufficient. We participated in a special meeting called by Chairman Bob Filner of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee with all of the committee’s members and the leaders of all the veterans and military service organizations in order to develop an agenda for the committee for this year.

As in the past, we encourage our chapters and State Councils to reach out to their Representatives and Senators to persuade them to support VVA’s agenda. Whether they are Democrats or Republicans, they should be asked to support our proposals and if they will not, to explain why.

Our Government Affairs chair, John Miterko, has been working with several State Councils to get their state legislatures to support our agenda. Thus far, in addition to Texas, these states have already endorsed or are actively looking to endorse our agenda: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington State.

My congratulations to the State Councils who have taken the initiative in this arena.

In this issue is a profile on Dr. Jim Rogers, whom I had the pleasure of serving with on the Board of Directors from 1983-1989. VVA has been privileged to have had many wonderful, talented people volunteer their services to our cause. Unfortunately, many members do not know these individuals or the work that they have done for veterans on our behalf. Beginning with Dr. Rogers, we plan to do profiles on these pioneers, so that the present members can understand the work that has been done to bring this organization to where it is today.

This will be a busy year. We hope our efforts in Congress will succeed. But, whatever the outcome, we will celebrate on Veterans Day weekend. See you there.

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