A HEARTFELT LETTER TO ALL VETERANS
FROM: Michael D. D'Andria, ALLVETS INC
I'm writing this on a subject near and dear to many of our hearts, that subject is the National Service Organizations, better know as the American Legion, VFW, DAV etc. For many years many of us have turned our backs to these organizations, for many of us it was not through our own faults, as many can attest to we were ignored or driven out from these places, some will remember being told that we were not welcome for we had lost a war, others of us were ignored for our ideas or defeated every time we ran for office, we were just not wanted. Now it seems as if we are being begged to join, the so called mortar they built these organizations with is beginning to crumble, if we as Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans do not respond, a lot of these home town Post and Chapters will become nonexistent, they could be gone forever, this Ladies and Gentleman would be a disaster.
These organizations in our present, have sat by while benefit after benefit has been stripped away, the outlook for Veterans is bleak indeed, it would be a complete and final victory for our government if Post and Chapter's across this nation dissolved because of membership and leadership, we will then be right were the Government wants us, at their complete mercy with no voice at all, we must remember that excluding the treatment the Vietnam and Gulf war veterans have received these organizations were their fighting for veterans rights and attending to the veterans families, they helped to establish the benefits that most of receive today, some may not be what we expected, but at least we do have a system in place, many of these organizations were started by our fathers and grandfathers, something we should all be proud of.
What I'm asking now is that we all take a second look at these organizations, granted they are controlled to a certain extent by the government, does not detract from all the good they have done for the veteran and his family, we must join these organizations and we must take part in all their activities, we must begin to run for office, we must make the numbers of veterans in these organizations larger then ever, we must show the government that we are united and it is not just words, now is the time my fellow veterans, in order for the NVSOs to survive we must take our rightful place in them, we must from the inside as members and officers of these organizations begin to change those things we despise most about them, we can no longer sit back and complain that they are doing nothing to help today's veteran while sitting on the outside waiting for them to do so, we must become involved, we must take part and I don't only mean paying for your dues and sitting home, the membership card is not issued to you so you may phone in your complaint, it is issued so you can attend and voice your opinion or vote on a matter of concern, we must attend the monthly meetings, we must show that we do care about our fellow veteran and the benefits we are losing. The old saying that there is strength in numbers is a fact, I am not asking you to give up the organization you belong to now, what I am asking is that you join and take part in a National Service Organization near you and help to change it so that it will now support what we are all doing and asking, fighting for the equal justice and promises that were made to us all.
Remember this, if the National Service Organizations fail because of the lack of membership, then all the small organizations we have now will lose also, we must begin to change the thinking, that a veteran of the armed forces is not just someone that served in war time, was on foreign soil during war or was injured. All those that serve are veterans, those that did not get into combat insured the survival of those that did, with supplies, food, ammo, trained troops, transportation, medical care, etc., etc., etc., a war time era veteran was as vital to the war as those that were in actual combat, injured or died and should be treated with the same dignity and respect as those that did the actual fighting, these changes can only come about by us, we must take part now in the future of these organizations, bring about sorely needed changes, we must show the government that we indeed are not a bunch of old men and women sitting at a bar at our post or chapter hoping for changes and complaining.
If we now as Vietnam and Gulf war veterans do not begin to take our rightful places in these organizations then I fear we will suffer the greatest loss of all Respect and Dignity. What our Grandfathers and Fathers before us began will fade into the night as just an old memory. I beg you now please join you local post or chapter, it is past time for the torch to be passed, it is now time for all of us to put up or shut up.
Michael D. D'Andria
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