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

January/February 2003
Photo:Michael Keating
Fighting The Same Battles

As we begin 2003, talk of war in Iraq continues. We have been there before. Yes, our war was at a different time and in a different place, but war is war. Most of us who have experienced war first hand are more cautious than many who want to leap into war thinking it will fix all of our problems.

Another real concern is that we cannot take care of those who served in past wars, and now we are facing the very real possibility that a new generation of veterans suffering the ravages of war will need the benefits and services of the VA. Since there are not enough qualified medical personnel to provide quality care in a timely manner today, how will the VA meet the challenge of the future?

The failures of the VA system are no secret, and we continue to press the current administration - as we have with all administrations since 1978 - to fund the VA adequately. The VA mandate, "To Care for Him [and Her] Who Have Borne the Battle, and his [her] Widow [Widower] and Orphan," is not being met, and it cannot be accomplished without the necessary funding.

It is easy to lay blame on VA Secretary Principi, Congress, and OMB, but there is one person who makes the final decision on who gets what: the President. We need appropriate funding immediately. The Congress has consistently demonstrated that it will give the President any amount of money he asks for in regard to veterans health care...and more. But, he has to ask. The time to ask is now. We must be prepared for the next generation of men and women who come home and need medical care. The VA is where future veterans will go for that care. Who will care for them, and who will care for those of us in waiting lines now?

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Vietnam Veterans of America, and who would have thought we would still be fighting the same battles for those who served? Will it ever end?

If veterans service organizations did not actively look out for their members and veterans, where do you think we would be? Would there even be a VA healthcare system today?

For years, we have been educating our representatives in Congress, department secretaries, administrators, OMB, and presidents about our veterans and their service and the need to care for the men and women who have borne the battle. Now, as we move into our 25th year In Service To America, it appears our battle has only just begun.

I urge those of you who can to join with us as we celebrate our 25th anniversary during our 11th National Convention, July 30-August 2, in St. Louis. Be there with us as we renew our Founding Principle, "Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another." We will continue to provide you with updated information on events.

Our prayers are with our servicemembers and their families. We pray for peace and the safe return of those serving our country. We will continue to support our nation's sons and daughters serving today. May God Bless them and their families and keep them safe.



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