A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

photo by Michael Keating
October 2001/November 2001

President’s Message

The Challenge of a New Battlefield

By Thomas Corey

On this Veterans Day, it is especially important for our nation to recognize and honor the service and sacrifice of America's veterans.  America's sons and daughters have always answered the call to duty.  By recognizing those who served, we are sending a clear message to those serving today: We will remember you and your service.

Today our sons and daughters and fellow Vietnam veterans face the challenge of a new battlefield, a new enemy, and a new call to duty.  We will not let them be forgotten today, or upon their return, as others were.  We know the importance of a grateful nation.

This November 11, two months from the day our national soul was wounded, we will gather in communities and pay tribute in our own ways, some quietly, some with patriotic music and flags, to the men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States.  We will also remember those who were killed, many of whom were veterans, by terrorist forces in the war at home.

As September 11 unfolded, many of us relived scenes from Pearl Harbor, scenes of suicide aircraft attacks, and the Tet Offensive, during which we were being attacked in many locations at the same time.  As veterans we were aware of what was coming.  It had come home and we were not safe or secure.  This enemy does not distinguish between military and civilian targets, and sadly, we are all at risk.  We must help each other and our neighbors face this new war.  Our military experience can help us advise others and can be extremely valuable in calming their fears.  Veterans are playing their role "In Service To America."  In this issue, you will read about a few of them.  I know that we are all out there helping.

As veterans, each of us has pledged to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.  Many have given their lives in support of that pledge, and we have not failed in our responsibility to remember them and live as examples of their service and sacrifice.  We will continue to fulfill our pledge, now, as citizens trained to defend our country.

This Veterans Day we must also rededicate ourselves to our Founding Principle and recognize that once again these words are meaningful and necessary--Never Again Will One Generation Of Veterans Abandon Another.

We have an obligation as veterans and citizens to witness the manner in which our veterans and military casualties are treated.  We must raise our voices in praise if merited and in objection when warranted.

Vietnam Veterans of America has devoted 23 years to correcting the wrongs in a system that was collapsing.  Vietnam veterans experienced first-hand a level of care that was inadequate at best and indifferent at worst.

We challenged and helped change a system that had failed in its mission, and we continue to press for additional resources to address the critical needs.  Our job is to assure the VA health-care delivery and benefits system for our veterans and military are adequate today and tomorrow.

The Secretary of the Department of Veterans, Anthony J. Principi, knows where we stand on these and other important issues.  Since he assumed office we have expressed our opinions about the VA and its shortcomings.  He has responded with action and promises.  We have advised Secretary Principi of our concern about the VA's role as the backup for DOD to provide the necessary care and treatment for those men and women in service who will become casualties of this new war.

This nation must not fail in its responsibility to its veterans.  We will continue to be very clear with everyone, from our elected officials to the voters.  When the administration and Congress are increasing funding for critical agencies and pouring billions into industries, they must remember those who served and those who are serving by being equally generous and providing ample and adequate funding to the DVA.  Veterans earned their rights, and this country needs to fulfill Lincoln's promise:

"To Care for Him Who Has Borne The Battle, and His Widow and His Orphan."

Let us keep our thoughts and prayers with the young men and women who have volunteered to defend the nation and our interests and have embarked on a lifetime of service to America.  God Bless those serving and those who have lost their lives to this new war.

We will not let you be forgotten.

Peace Be With You.

   

E-mail us at TheVeteran@vva.org


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