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

December 2003
Photo:Michael Keating
From The Publisher

In my role as President of VVA, I also serve as the publisher of The VVA Veteran. One of the pleasures I have in reviewing The VVA Veteran prior to publication is reading through the submissions for Membership Notes. Although the reports on each activity are brief, they point out the valuable work that our members do in our communities across the country.

Our members build and maintain memorials, provide scholarships, and distribute personal care packets at their local VA hospitals. They set up and maintain food pantries and emergency fund programs to help veterans who find themselves out of work and without the ability to pay for housing or utilities. Our members assemble and distribute holiday baskets with food, toys, and clothing to those in need, and they provide assistance at homeless shelters and to those who live on the streets.

Our members are also involved helping to meet the needs and programs of Gold Star Mothers and Sons and Daughters In Touch. We work with families who still wait for information about loved ones missing from our war and from other wars.

Many of you know how important our AVVA members are to ours. VVA and AVVA work hand in hand to focus on the problems we face together, whether it is health care for veteran or community needs that affect us all.

As we begin the New Year, we still face many challenges, some that have been with us for years and some that have burst onto the scene as a result of action or inaction. The war on terrorism - regardless of where or how it is being fought - continues to present new and unexpected challenges and a new set of confrontations about care and treatment and benefits.

We have not resolved the issue of concurrent receipt or the troubling issue of CARES and the future of our Category 7 and 8 veterans' care and treatment. How is it that Congress can so easily vote for an additional $87 billion to continue the war in Iraq, yet it cannot find the money to properly fund the VA? How can the administration and Congress so willingly support the expense of war but turn a deaf ear when the cries of those who fight the war beg for service and respect? It has fallen upon our shoulders to make sure the administration and Congress do the right thing.

Soon you will begin to receive information about our new get-out-to-vote project. As the elections approach, we must encourage voters to remember our men and women in the armed forces and our veterans. Every two years we elect fewer and fewer representatives who have served in uniform. It is increasingly difficult to persuade those who are eager to wage war that there is a cost beyond the pricetag for tanks, artillery shells, and smart bombs.

Remember our troops, whether they are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, or elsewhere. They depend on our support. Pray for their safety.

Happy Holidays. God Bless America. Peace.


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