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January / February 2008

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What a wonderful job Marsha Four did in the two-page article in the November/December issue about the Women In Military Service For America’s 10th anniversary. The pictures are superb and your selection of pictures of the individual women was great because you covered all bases by service and ethnically.

This just adds another star in Marsha’s crown for her support of the entire three days and in getting VVA support. We’re proud to have her as part of our team. This was but one more example of the support she’s always provided.

Wilma L. Vaught, Brig General, USAF Ret., President, WIMSA

Thanks for the great report from Betty Mekdeci, “Agent Orange and Birth Defects,” in the November/December issue. But I have a correction. The article states that it’s been 35 years since Agent Orange was first sprayed in Vietnam. That’s not true: It was sprayed more than 41 years ago. We were sprayed in 1966 and 1967.

Ed LaVenture Menomonie, Wisconsin

In fact, Operation Ranch Hand started even earlier than that—in 1962. –Ed.

The coverage of the 25th anniversary of The Wall in the November/December issue was terrific. I wasn’t able to attend the event, but some of my fellow veterans did and brought me some memorabilia. The cover photo is wonderful, as well as the other photos. I also want to thank Marsha Four for her article, “On The Edge of Change,” and I want to thank all women Vietnam veterans.

I am an Era vet, so I didn’t serve in Vietnam and wouldn’t have met any of these ladies. I can, though, pay my respects to them. That goes for all the women who served in all branches of the service during all wars. The faces in the pictures accompanying the article are beautiful and reflect the strength, wisdom, and dedication of these ladies. I salute all of them.
Also, I was unaware of Arlo Guthrie’s support of Vietnam veterans and all the charitable work he does. A bonus.

Richard Simmons, Chicago

I read with interest the comments made by President Bush in the Government Affairs column in the November/December issue.
Bush acknowledged that there were “serious problems caused by bureaucratic delays and administrative failures. And we’re not going to let those problems continue.”

Well, President Bush made a host of promises to the military and veterans in his campaign letter of September 13, 2000. He said, “Soldiers once ordered to stand in the line of fire should not now be ordered to stand in line at the nearest federal bureaucracy, waiting with hat in hand.” He called for an “immediate, comprehensive review of our military” and “a thorough review of our military health care programs.” Further, he said, “our government should honor the health care commitment made to the men and women who have served and are now serving honorably in our military.”

Time is running out for our President to make good on his word.

Matthew C. Ford, Jr. Washington, New Jersey

I read a recent article about a Westboro, Kansas, Baptist Church protest group that picketed the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, a Marine killed in Iraq. These protesters carried signs saying “Thank God for dead soldiers,” and claimed it was their constitutional right to protest. Evidently, their church doesn’t teach anything about respect of others’ feelings, or compassion for their fellow man. I also would like to know where in the Constitution it says this type of behavior is granted.

Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder’s father took the protesters to court, and won an $11 million judgment against the church. He said his reason for taking court action was not the money, but so other victims would have the opportunity to win judgments against this type of improper protest.

I didn’t think anyone who calls himself a Christian would commit such a despicable, ignorant act. Shame on them. Their actions border on treason.
Lance Cpl. Snyder is a hero and a son of liberty. He and his family are owed more than can be imagined.

William T. Bradley Adams, Massachusetts

I have been a member of Vietnam Veterans of America for many years. I worked hard setting up and selling and packing up at festivals and trying to promote the VVA chapter I was in. I was also a longstanding member of the VFW and the American Legion.

In 2005, I was diagnosed with stage-three colon cancer that spread to my lymph nodes and liver. I lost my job of twenty-one years as a correctional officer and a good paycheck, and have not been able to work since, after surgery and twelve chemo treatments.

Only one person came to see me from the VFW. No members called to check on me. Only one member from the VVA chapter came to see me and one called. I was sick and had no job; my wife was sick also. Maybe I have the wrong impression of what veterans’ organizations do. I thought they were there to help veterans in need.

I have spent the last two years at home with no contact from my fellow veterans, except two. It sure is lonely at the bottom.

Larry K. Barnes Cordele, Georgia



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