The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress
Here To Make A
BY THOMAS H. COREY
It's traditional, as we move into another
year, to look back at where we've been and to look ahead at where
we are going. In VVA, next year we will address our
veteran-related legislative priorities, as well as other important
issues facing us.
We can be proud of what we have accomplished these last 12 months.
We still have work to do, but we will not be swayed in our pursuit
of justice for veterans.
We began the year with the Vote For America 2004 campaign, which
energized many VVA members to reach out like never before to
remind our fellow veterans and the general public that each vote
matters and each voice can be heard. That is, after all, what we
The elections are now over. It is time to get to work to address
the serious issues confronting our active-duty and veteran
population and their families. We will continue to present a
strong, clear, and consistent message: We are here to make a
difference for those who served and for those serving today. We
have carried our message to everyone. We refuse to be ignored.
I understand that at times it is frustrating, but we have
supporters on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill who have
stood up and supported our goals. Loyalty to the spirit of our
national motto, "In Service To America," is the dynamic force that
motivates our members in every state, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin
Islands, Guam, the Philippines, and beyond.
In addition to pursuing our agenda in the legislative, executive,
and judicial branches of government, VVA and AVVA members have
worked in many areas: creating identification packages for
children at local malls, conducting clothing and food drives,
registering voters, offering Honor Guards for ceremonies and
funerals, restoring and maintaining monuments and memorials,
visiting patients in VA hospitals, Soldiers & Sailors homes, and
nursing homes, providing service and shelter to homeless veterans
and their families, and speaking to a new generation of Americans
Our members in the Washington, D.C., area and beyond visit with
wounded servicemembers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and
Bethesda Naval Hospital. Our members also meet and support
returning troops throughout the country.
We continue our groundbreaking working on the SHAD program, part
of the Cold War-era Project 112 that tested the effects of
chemical and biological weapons on U.S. military vessels,
aircraft, and thousands of American servicemembers. Every
servicemember who was subjected to SHAD tests should be notified
of his participation in order to evaluate his health.
We should all be proud of the part VVA played in the dedication of
the In Memory Plaque November 10. This plaque is the final element
of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It honors those among us who
returned home and found out years later their health had been
compromised. Now, just steps from where the names of over 58,000
of their comrades are engraved on The Wall, the spirits of
these men and women who served together rest in peace together.
We are concerned about the placement of the Plaque and will
continue to promote a more prominent placement for this important
part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Our work is never finished. In some instances, it has just begun.
We face a government in which all three branches are controlled by
the same party. We lobbied hard in the last Congress but fell
short of what we believe is the minimum necessary to care for
those who served.
We are prepared to meet face-to-face with those who control our
health care system. They have been elected to lead the country.
Our duty as citizens and veterans is to insure that they do the
job they were elected to do, and that they do it fairly and
I have asked for meetings with the leaders of Congress and the
administration to urge them to meet the needs of veterans and
active-duty personnel. We will continue working with Congress and
the administration regardless of our political beliefs. We will
continue to insist that the care and treatment of our veterans is
the cornerstone of Homeland Defense.
Remember our friends who are facing illness, all who served, those
serving today, and their families.
I wish everyone a health and happy holiday season.
God Bless America.
Happy New Year.
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