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september/october 2007

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Featured Stories / President's Message / Government Affairs / Membership Affairs / Veterans Benefit Update / Arts Of War / Book Review / Ask The Parliamentarian / AVVA / Springfield Convention / Election Committee / ETABO / Fellowship Awards / Homeless Veterans Report / Letters / The Locator / Membership Notes / Minority Affairs / Parade / POW-MIA Report / PTSD Report / Public Affairs / Convention Resolutions / Reunions / Scholarship Committee / TAPS / VVAF / Women Veterans / Dine & Dance / Art Cornucopia / Honoring The Next Generation / Rack 'Em Up

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On behalf of the officers and the newly elected Board of Directors, I want to thank all of the delegates who attended the National Convention for their support. In our first term the officers spent a fair amount of time analyzing headquarters operations, which resulted in a few changes. This, among other things, positively affected our revenue stream. As we enter our second term, we hope to make more positive changes.

We also want to thank all of the staff who made this Convention one of our finest and quickest. Apparently, we have very little left to change in our Constitution, which was created at our Founding Convention in 1983. Also, while unfortunately many of our existing resolutions are still relevant, there are very few new issues. Sadly, many of the issues that plagued us as Vietnam veterans are pertinent to the newest generation of veterans and still require our attention.

Sometimes, when you get tired, you wonder why we do what we do. Then something happens to remind you. While sitting in the St. Louis airport waiting for our plane to go home, I ran into an old friend, Tim Driscoll, who was taking the same flight. Tim had been involved in the very beginnings of VVA, when he was an attorney working for then-New York Gov. Hugh Carey. When I asked him what he was doing in Missouri, he told me a heartening story.

Tim served in Vietnam with the HHC 39th Combat Engineers in Chu Lai. Their job was protecting the airfield and keeping open the highway known as “The Street Without Joy.” On August 8, 1968, Tim’s best friend in the Army, Jim Leahy, was killed when his Jeep hit a landmine. Tim wrote a note to Jim’s parents, and on the way home to Brooklyn in November 1968, he stopped in Madison, Missouri, to see them. He has kept in touch with the family ever since.

As Tim says, “I could not mourn for everyone who died, but I could concentrate on the family I knew.” Each year he called the parents on New Year’s and Memorial Day. They’re gone now, but Tim has kept in touch with Jim’s sisters and nephews and niece. He is the pinch-hit uncle attending all of their weddings. He was in Missouri attending the wedding of the last nephew, Matt Boebel, when we met. Not all of us can do what Tim has done. But the memory of those we lost is one of the things that keeps us going.

This is the last issue of The VVA Veteran before the Parade celebrating the 25th Anniversary of The Wall on November 10. Again, I urge you to come to Washington, D.C., that weekend for what is shaping up to be a wonderful event. This Parade may be the last opportunity for Vietnam veterans to gather. Besides the Parade, there are plans in the works for a major concert on the Mall afterwards. Keep your eye out for further information.

Of course, we also will join the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for its regular Veterans Day services at The Wall. If you need help with your travel arrangements, whether for a couple, a chapter, or an entire organization, go to and click on the 25th Anniversary icon for more details. If you know any corporations that might be interested in becoming sponsors for the parade, please let us know. Sponsorship information is also on the website.

As part of the commemoration, VVA is publishing a book just for the 25th Anniversary. This keepsake is something everyone will want to have. Again, go to for more information or check out the ad in this issue.

Previously, I mentioned that we were reaching out to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the USA. The Elks have agreed to partner with VVA through the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund in our new coin can donation program, which has been named “The Michael Manning National Veterans Program,” after the long-time Director of the Elks’ National Veterans Service Department who died July 22. Mike Manning had worked with VVA in setting up the program, which will feature coin cans in every Elks lodge and other locations. On behalf of all the members of VVA, I want to thank the Elks, and especially their Grand Exalted Ruler, F. Louis Sulsberger, for making this wonderful program happen. If you are an Elk, please contact me at

I hope to see many of you at the Parade.


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