A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

October 2000/November 2000

President’s Message

At Arlington Cemetary

By George C. Duggins


Mr. President, Secretary Gober, Secretary Cohen, General Jackson, Mr. Metzler, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, and my very dear brother and sister veterans:  It is a great day to be In Service to America.

Vietnam Veterans of America stands proud today and on behalf of our 50,000 members and 628 chapters, I am honored to represent these dedicated men and women who sacrificed so much for their nation during the Vietnam War.  Vietnam Veterans of America leads the charge to resolve many of the issues still facing those who served during the Vietnam era; and with strong friends like U.S. Navy veteran, Doctor Ron Dozoretz, I have great confidence in our future.   Dr. Dozoretz I salute you.

Mr. President, we salute YOU for moving forward with the largest budget in VA history; however, we still need more to bring all of our veterans into the 21st century.  We need to make the commitment that when America places its sons and daughters in harm’s way, our nation will never compromise on the quality of care needed to mend their wounds, make them strong in the broken places, and guide them in their return as full partners in our society.

Too many veterans are trapped in the bottomless pit of homelessness. Far too often we turn our backs on homeless veterans in an effort to avoid what they represent - the failure of our system to care for those who have borne the battle, and their widows and orphans.

The less visible wounds of war also continue to haunt too many veterans and their families. The growing epidemic of hepatitis C -- the “so called veterans hepatitis,” is increasing at an alarming rate. It must be checked.  Battlefield toxins -- such as Agent Orange and depleted uranium, meant to destroy our enemies, we find harmed our own sons and daughters.  We must address these issues while we still have time.

We also seek - NO, --  we demand,  the fullest possible accounting for all American servicemen and women still missing from our nation’s wars and conflicts.

Today Vietnam Veterans of America and our dedicated, Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America members challenge the veteran’s community to rise to the call of a new activism. Let the power of our unified commitment motivate each and every one of us to make community service the cornerstone of our destination of freedom and justice.

America’s veterans have and will always lead our great nation towards success and that is what Vietnam Veterans of America means when we say “In Service To America.” 

God Bless America and her honored veterans, both past and present.

George C. Duggins gave the preceding address at the official Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery. Vietnam Veterans of America was the host organization for the 2000 ceremonies.


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