On March 20, I
presented Vietnam Veterans of America's legislative priorities in
VVA's annual testimony before the House and Senate Veterans'
Affairs Committees. Joining me at the table were Avery Taylor, the
chair of VVA's Government Affairs Committee; Bob Maras, chair of
our Veterans Affairs Committee; and Rick Weidman, VVA's director
of Government Relations.
stressed that funding for VA health care is our top priority. Once
again, I noted, that each year we must plead for what is right and
what is fair for those who served this country honorably. I have
grown weary asking every year for the same thing: more money, more
money. When will the VA receive sufficient funding to fulfill the
mission it is mandated to do--providing quality heath care in a
timely manner to America's veterans?
that there are dedicated people working at the VA Medical Centers,
but they need help. They are understaffed, overworked, and
continually asked to do more with less. We asked Congress to make
health care spending for veterans an entitlement program, at a
proper funding level, by enacting mandatory funding legislation
for veterans health care in the 108th Congress.
there is one person who can decide what the VA receives to care
for this country's veterans: the President. Veterans, family
members, and our neighbors need to write him and your
congressional representatives and tell them it is past time to
adequately fund the Department of Veterans Affairs. We must
constantly remind them that veterans need their support and we
would hope they want our support. Hopefully, we won't have to
report on this need anymore.
On March 2,
the California State Council and Redondo Beach Chapter 53 and
other VVA and AVVA members hosted a great
dinner and sendoff for 77 members of Sons and Daughters In Touch,
who were about to embark on a journey of the unknown to Vietnam.
They were going to walk in the footsteps of their fathers and
visit the sites where their fathers were killed. It was an
emotional experience that I will never forget, and I am grateful
that SDIT asked me to join them in this amazing and meaningful
chapter in their lives. Their dads, our buddies, are very proud of
them, and they were with us each step of the way. In the next
issue of The VVA Veteran, we will cover this historic
VVA has been
and will continue to be a principle voice in the issue of American
POW/MIAs. This is a priority. We will continue our support for
those serving today, for the wounded, and for a safe return of
those captured. We will remember those who made the ultimate
sacrifice and their families. Our prayers are with all of them,
and we hope for a speedy end to this war in Iraq and the return of
our service members.
May God bless