The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

May/June 2003 POLICY FOR LETTERS

Letters

We welcome letters to the editor for publication in The VVA Veteran. We are interested in your criticism as well as your praise. Letters may be edited for purposes of clarity or space. Regrettably, because of the volume of mail we receive, we are unable to acknowledge or return unpublished material.
   
 
SOLID GOLD

Thanks so much to The VVA Veteran for the very special article and photos in the March/April issue. We are an organization that was never recognized since World War II. We were dormant until veterans like you came along. We struggled to get what we needed and never asked for anything. Thank you so very much for all you have done for our organization, for me, and for my sister Gold Star Mothers. God bless you and all the Vietnam veterans of America.

Ann Y. Sherman Wolcott
National Vice President
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
Via e-mail

FAMILY TRADITION

Every day many WWII veterans pass away. These WWII veterans are our fathers and uncles and our mothers and aunts. They were significant influences on Vietnam veterans in our formative years. Recently, my father-in-law, Leonard A. Gearhart, Jr., passed away. He was a WWII Army veteran. Prior to his death, my son e-mailed the following message to his grandfather:

My dearest grandfather, it occurs to me after 22 years of life just how lucky I am to be an American. How lucky I am to be your grandson. I am proud to say that I am the grandson of a World War II veteran, the son of a Vietnam veteran, and the descendant of an American Revolution veteran. Every day I strive to live up to the proud tradition of the Gearharts. I am proud to be your grandson, and I will always love you.

Terrance P. Hubert
Carson City, Nevada


THE IMAGE

I question your editorial judgment in making your lead letter in the March/April issue one from a convict. Not only is Kurt Gehring wrong in the sense that fighting in combat is, in fact, different from not seeing combat, but it also hurts the image of VVA by seeming to portray it as a haven for inmates and recovering addicts. I understand Gehring's point that we don't need to be divisive in VVA, but we do have to be realistic. VVA should applaud those of us who went to law school and grad school after returning from Vietnam rather than going to prison. If more Vietnam veterans refrained from smoking and drinking, and ran five miles every day, the Rev. Phil Salois would have a shorter obituary column, and VVA would have a better public image.

James C. Anderson
Washington, D.C.


 


VETERANS' RIGHTS

I've been searching for common ground among the peace folks and others who want peace but don't want to forget the kids who are in the military. Some people have termed it "support the warrior, not the war.'' I never considered myself to be a warrior so I can't identify with that, but I understand what they are saying. I also read Thomas Corey's press release of April 9. I was glad that he mentioned our "right to oppose our government.'' Based on what I've read in the past several months, we, the veterans who know what war is about, have a duty to speak up.

Arnold Stieber
Via e-mail


FLASHBACKS AND FEAR

I'm having flashbacks. The nightly news is filled with vivid images of war. The subject is polarizing communities. The war is beginning to be debated across the dinner table, at work, and among friends. The generals assume that bombing will produce positive results. Shock and Awe sounds like the sequel to Rolling Thunder.

The President, Secretary of Defense, and the Defense Department seem to have underestimated the average Iraqi's patriotism and the average Moslem's response to the war. The enemy refuses to play by the rules of war. There is talk of the "Hearts and Minds'' of the enemy and civilians. Innocent civilians are paying the highest price in the war. An arrogant Secretary of Defense and President are defining the war as a battle between good and evil, while questioning the patriotism of those who disagree.

What always follows a flashback is an overwhelming, cold, cavernous feeling of fear. This time my fear is for the 18 year old who at the time of his high school graduation could find himself fighting an ongoing war in a faraway country. My fear is for the people of Iraq whose dreams of something better for their children have now turned into a prayer for their safety. My fear is for the grunt seemingly protected by his rifle, flack jacket, and helmet blown away by an unseen booby trap, extremist, or sniper. My fear is for the returning veterans who will forever have their own images to kindle their flashbacks. Support the U.S. troops. Bring them home.

Kent Draper
Newburg, Wisconsin

   

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