VFW in MN tries to make amends to Vietnam vets


May-2013-Ride-For-Healing-Lead-Sign

I came across this 2013 Memorial Day article and video about “A Ride for Healing.”  I’m taken aback.  The Veterans of Foreign Wars did not offer membership to returning Vietnam veterans because the war was undeclared. 

“You know what? We’ve got a wall in D.C. with 58,200-plus names on it,” Ulferts said. “You go tell them it wasn’t a real war, they died somewhere.”

I’m glad that the VFW is sorry but why now? This is a nice website but should this effort be filed under “better late than never” or “too little, too late?”

http://rideforhealing.com/

If you want to do something truly positive at this late date, get busy on helping veterans with HCV.

Editor’s note.

Rarely do I piggyback comments onto my fellow columnist’s posts but this is one time I feel  it necessary. Few of you who were not there in Vietnam understand the loathing we felt from the American public. Hell, we probably loathed ourselves in private. There were times when I seriously questioned what I was doing there and whether God could ever forgive me. Eventually, being hard-headed and 20, I decided to piss on the fire and call in the dogs. I signed up for the second tour. If you’re going to Hell, you might as well go in style.

The empathy we Vietnam Vets feel for each other is something none can describe from any other war. Being despised makes the bond tighter than ever. Kiedove’s husband can probably confirm this. Being considered lower than whaleshit for decades  requires some  acclimatization. Suddenly being greeted by a Veterans Service Organization with the sobriquet ” Yo. Welcome home, brother” rings hollow-now and forever. They made their bed. Let them lie in it. My ultimate respect will always be for those who fought with me-not against me. As such, the VFW and I have nothing in common and never will. I actually have more respect for those who decided Canada was a viable alternative. At least they had the guts to stick with their convictions and not try to rid themselves of their leopards’ spots decades later. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

About Laura

NW Vermont.
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17 Responses to VFW in MN tries to make amends to Vietnam vets

  1. Colleen Triesch says:

    Archbishop Gomez, thank you for your leadership. Colleen Triesch.

  2. Patrick Wilson says:

    Yes , I was discharged from the Marines at the age of 19 after a 12 month 20 day tour and wounded in an ambush. I seriously was messed up psychologically. I tried to join the VFW to seek some brotherhood and maybe counseling. The post commander told me I didn’t qualify as it was a non declared war. They can KMA. I am a DAV life member.

  3. Captain Bruce Haedrich says:

    I met another Vietnam vet in Wal-Mart the other day. We did not know one another but ended in tears over how we were treated by the public and the VFW as well. I have not and will not join the VFW.

  4. SPrice says:

    There is reason for doubting their intentions, that’s for sure.

    The VVA just asked President Obama to pardon post 911 Veterans with bad discharge papers because of under diagnosis of PTSD and TBI. They said…..

    “The sole purpose of VVA existing is to ensure that no generation of veterans ever has to face the horrors that Vietnam veterans did when they returned home from overseas in the 60s and 70s,” VVA assistant director for policy and government affairs Kristofer Goldsmith told Task & Purpose.”

    But then he continued……

    “We would like to ask for similar action for Vietnam-era vets, but for many of them it is too late.”

    So the org that has as its core mission, “Never again will one generation of veterans leave behind another” did just that.

    Source:
    “Advocacy Group Calls On Obama To Pardon Post-9/11 Vets With ‘Bad-Paper’ Discharges”
    http://taskandpurpose.com/advocacy-group-calls-obama-pardon-post-911-vets-bad-paper-discharges/?utm_content=tp-facebook&utm_campaign=news&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

    • Kiedove says:

      I would also add gay vets or married but cheated, and this discharged in having their discharges updated to honorable.

  5. Ted Brumet says:

    Not sure if you noticed or not. Those Veterans who denied your due rights, are falling quickly to the wayside.
    The Veterans who are trying to make amends for what the VFW did back then, are either your fellow Vietnam Veterans, or vets who have participated in recent conflicts.
    Rather then denounce the organization as a whole, denounce those who were running the oeefanization then.
    I am a post commander, a desert storm veteran, and Iraqi freedom veteran. Although I might not have the same experiences as you did, I know you guys won the battles in vietnam, you lost to politicians. And I am sincere, when I say “welcome home.”

    • Narda says:

      Well said.

    • Kiedove says:

      Thank you for your sharing your thoughts on this older post. I think making amends and reaching out to support Nam vets is proper and positive. It’s good to know that the attitude changes are real in posts like yours. Please comment/discuss anything on Asknod without worry although we try to avoid UFO sightings,religion and political chatter. Best wishes, Kiedove

    • asknod says:

      One can never go back and “make it right”. History, at least in America, is final. I chose a different path in life that didn’t include college. I chose not to be “all I could be” after my service and stayed out of the conversation. Nothing now could change my mind about how I and my fellow Vets were treated for decades. After the WWP forced through the VA codicil of granting “SMC T caregiver status to only post -911 Vets, my anger grew tenfold. George Orwell’s Animal Farm drove this point home-“Some pigs are more equal than other pigs”. Thank you for you individual mea culpas, Mr. Brumet, but my fellow Vets and I, for the most part, find the apology hollow, 45 years late and contrived to fit the falling numbers of members in the Big Six VSOs.
      P.S. Besides, the guys who bailed to Canada got a reprieve before us. It’s like having your picture taken with the Bronze medal and then being given a ceremonial Gold forty five years later. Warm and fuzzy feelings?

      • That’s what it comes down to, dwindling membership and falling revenues. My father was a WWII Army Vet, and my Vietnam Vet husband served over 20 years in the USAF. Neither ever had any use for joining a VSO. Your point about discriminating against caregivers of pre-911 Veterans speaks volumes. I would love to hear the VFW’s response to that point.

      • Kiedove says:

        VA is also doing this type of PR. The bitterness is understood. But the younger vets who may be trying for real reform, and had nothing to do with the past VFW’s mistakes, I think deserve a chance to make sure this never happens again to any other veteran population in the future.

        http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/26537/mcdonald-thank-vietnam-veteran-welcome-home/

    • SPrice says:

      Read my post Mr Brumet.

  6. warsucks says:

    I found a lot of the VFW types who criticized Vietnam Veterans were classic armchair generals who’s idea of serving their country had been getting some safe, behind-the-lines assignment when the fighting was going on and then acting like they won the war single handed once it ended. True warriors have an understanding, a comradeship, that such people could never understand.
    YOU ARE HEROES IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD, VIETNAM VETERANS, NEVER FORGET THAT!!!

  7. Kiedove says:

    Yeah, my DH’s homecoming in CT was cold as ice. No one wanted to hire Vietnam vets–the stigma was terrible. But he did the job he was supposed to do and no one can take that away. He couldn’t stand the pettiness and arse-kissing of his duty stations post-Vietnam.
    Did the VFW treat Korean veterans the same way?

  8. asknod says:

    Interesting. I left a comment on the site about what I felt concerning the VFW. They chose not to publish it. They don’t get it. Censorship won’t shut this one up.

  9. hepsick says:

    who needs THEM anyway

  10. WGM says:

    To little to late; WWII Vets, civilians, VFW and other such organizations would have nothing to do with The Nam era vets. When their membership dropped to a skeleton crew, then they invite us in to fill the ranks. They are 45+ years too late with the thank you and welcome home parade. I agree, their “Welcome home, brother” rings hollow-now and forever. They cast the die, and made their bed. I will never have anything in common with them; and want nothing to do with those kind of sheep people.

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