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

July 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 Regrettably, because of the volume of mail we receive, we are unable to acknowledge or return unpublished material.
   
 
EDUCATIONAL AMBASSADORS

I read with great interest Tom Hall's report on VVA's contribution to the Teach Vietnam Teachers Network Inaugural Conference. As a life member of VVA and a past president of Chapter 273, in Providence, Rhode Island, I would like to thank Tom and VVA for their participation in and support for this wonderful conference. As a participant, I was overwhelmed at the turnout and the intense interest of the non-veteran teachers. We came together as the first group of teachers to be selected as Educational Ambassadors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

As a Vietnam veteran, it doesn't get much better than it was at the conference. Imagine being surrounded by 70 non-vets who really wanted to learn about our veteran experiences and what they should teach in their classrooms. Our answer to them was: Teach the truth; don't leave it to the media or Hollywood to do it. They've already done too much damage.

G.D. Woodside, Jr.
Seekonk, Mass.

POW/MIA PHOTOS

I chair the Adoption Committee for the National League of Families of POWs and MIAs in Southeast Asia. The League is attempting to locate photographs of all the 1,891 Americans still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. We need the help of VVA members to accomplish this goal. If anyone has a picture of a missing American they would be willing to share for our project, or knows where we may be able to obtain one, please contact me.

The League needs to preserve the POW/MIAs' stories and their faces. We need help to accomplish this task.

Candace D. Lokey
P.O. Box 206
Freeport, PA 16229


VETERANS LIKE US

There was a review in the March/April issue of the Entertaining Vietnam documentary by Mara Wallis, an excellent review. All the people in these wonderful shows are kept from being considered veterans by all the veterans organizations. This, I feel, is wrong.

The folks in the shows went to very small places and saw plenty of action. VVA has people who are full members who were never even in country and some who were in country who were in the big base camps. Some of these show folks have the same war nightmares we veterans have. So why can't the rules of membership be changed to show that all these folks are veterans just like us?

William Gary Bradberry
Huntsville, Texas


NON NONCOMBATANTS

I'm feeling a bit conflicted after reading your article about wannabees. I've recently found one who claimed to be in my pipeline engineer unit. But, as I read on, it became clear to me that if you weren't a grunt in the Nam, you were still a wannabee. That's crap.

I spent my first six months at a firebase where I came up against ambushes and had to bury dismembered bodies. My next six months were in the base camp as a clerk getting mortared constantly. We lost people to enemy fire even though we were ``noncombatants.'' That may not have been as bad as the grunts had it, but I still suffer from it even today. I realize that the grunts had it worse than anyone else, but I really get tired of my service being belittled.

Gilbert Ray
Via e-mail


A PLEA FROM INSIDE

Over the years I have been incarcerated, I have seen one bill after another signed into law to help veterans. This is good. But little if anything has been signed into law to help us incarcerated veterans. So I ask fellow veterans to remember that most of us were there at your side when things did not look good. Remember, there are thousands of us in the prison system across America, the country we so proudly put our lives on the line to serve.

When Public Law 107-95 was first written, it talked about helping incarcerated veterans. With the changes of the writing of P.L. 107-95, they have closed the doors to almost all of the Vet Centers that are supposed to aid us with housing once we leave the prison systems. I am requesting all veterans to lobby their representatives to produce legislation that will aid incarcerated veterans in housing when they become eligible for parole so they can have a place to live while they work their way back into society.

Paul Charles Stimel
Huntsville, Texas

   

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