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november/december 2008

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Featured Stories / President's Message / Government Affairs / Membership Affairs / Membership Notes / Chapter 88 / Chapter 366 / Chapter 463 / Chapter 620 / Region 3 / Region 4 / Veterans Against Drugs / ETABO / AVVA / Voluntary Service / Convention Resolutions / Public Affairs / Veterans Incarcerated / Reunions / The Locator / Letters / Books In Review / Taps / MIA Identified / Advance Appropriation / Chemical-Biological Exposures Website / California Memorial

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Veteran Cover

BY STEPHEN WILSON

In 1999, VVA Chapter 582 in Chico, California, reawakened with five members. After many questions about our mission and how to raise money for operating costs, we slowly organized into a group. Our first car show was the brainchild of Les Orme, the chapter president back then.

We made some money and that was a good start. In September, we had our eighth People’s Choice Car Show. This one was the best so far. It has taken time, though, because we originally knew little about car shows. This year’s show was our biggest money maker, with slightly over $5,000 in profits and with more than ninety vehicles entered.

How did we do it? It was our dedication and help from a core group of people who discovered that creating a show is rewarding. They realized, too, that they could make a significant effort to help local veterans of all wars.

First, we choose a location and check on insurance, which is partially provided by VVA. The theme is always the same: The People’s Choice Car Show is an event in which those who attend vote on the cars and decide the winners. We have ten categories, including motorcycles. That makes it easier. A few people want to have more categories, but we choose to keep it simple. There is no admission charge.

[read complete article ]


BY XANDE ANDERER

Most soldiers carry a letter they hope no one will ever read.
The military encourages everyone in combat zones to compose a letter to be delivered to their loved ones should they fall in battle. It’s a final goodbye of sorts, words they never had the chance to say aloud, a modicum of comfort for the loved ones left behind. Some are addressed to unborn children, others to small children too young to remember them.

The letters are painful to read. The sad fact is that more than 4,200 families have read those bittersweet letters and more than 8,500 children have lost a military parent in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This December, 1,600 of those children and their families will converge on the self-proclaimed happiest place on earth—Disneyland—for a welcome, if temporary, escape from their grief.

The event is the third such trip made possible by Snowball Express, an all-volunteer charity. Its mission is to provide happy memories and camaraderie for the children of servicemen and women who have died in the Global War on Terrorism.

This year’s all-expense-paid trip includes visits to Disneyland and the Universal Studios theme park and a day-long event called “A Day in the Life of California.” All travel, hotel, and food costs are free. “They don’t pay one penny,” explained the event’s chairman, retired USAF Lt. Col. Roy White, a Southwest Airlines pilot. “They’ve already paid everything they need to pay to this country. The purpose of the trip is to let the children know their sacrifices aren’t forgotten.”

[read complete article]


TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JURY

With temperatures barely above freezing in the early morning of November 11, Janet Gorman King read her poem about nurses in Vietnam, “Hers Was the Last Face He Saw.” King read in front of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. The crowd attending the reading had come to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the dedication of the Memorial.

As the temperature rose and the warmth of the day spread over the thousands of Vietnam veterans and their supporters, the spirit of the motto of the Memorial—“A Legacy of Healing and Hope”—also spread over the crowd. A day of storytelling, speakers, and camaraderie culminated with the Color Guard Pass in Review that was developed and organized by VVA.

“Fifteen years ago we talked about leaving a legacy,” said Diane Carlson Evans, an Army nurse in Vietnam, founder and president of the board of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation. “But what is that legacy: remembering, honoring, and connecting with a new generation. I hear women say, ‘If it wasn’t for the Memorial, I wouldn’t be where I am today.’”

[read complete article]


BY PHILIP CAPUTO

Ten o’clock to two o’clock.

As far as the geometry of fly-casting goes, that’s all you need to know. The rod tip describes an arc from about forty-five degrees above an imaginary plane extending forward from your waistline—the ten o’clock position—to about forty-five degrees behind—two o’clock.

There are variations, nuances, but we won’t go into those because this is not a treatise on fly-casting or fly-fishing. This is about redemption, or more to the point, about a way for the returning warrior, scarred body and soul, to find redemption.

A psychologist would say “to reintegrate himself into civilian society,” or some such; a guru might speak of the “healing process.” I prefer “redemption.”

It’s a search that goes back to the times when men fought in phalanxes, with swords and spears and shields. In Book II of Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeneas offers to carry his father, Anchises, out of the ruins of Troy on his shoulders. But he asks Anchises to carry their Penates—the family’s household gods—because:

In me, it would be impious, holy things to bear,
Red as I am with slaughter, new from war,
Till in some living stream I cleanse the guilt
Of dire debate and blood in battle spilt.

[read complete article]


Homeward Bound:
The Repatriation of Lewis Clark Walton, Sr.

BY MICHELLE BAUGH

Rows of mourners sat with eyes staring down at their hands folded, fighting tears at St. Anthony’s Church in Providence, Rhode Island. On May 5, 2007, more than three hundred mourners gathered to honor Special Forces SSG Lewis Clark Walton, Sr., who had returned home after his remains were located and identified December 2006 in Quang Nam Province.

Clark Walton was a “soldier’s soldier,” in the words of his friend Joe Hannon, who served with him at Ft. Devens in Massachusetts. Hannon, a Vietnam veteran who served with the Special Forces, says he formed a bond with Walton and tried to talk him out of going to Vietnam. “I had already been to Vietnam when I met him. I told him to stay the hell away from there—it’s no good.”

Against his friend’s advice, Walton dropped everything and went. He was assigned to Support Headquarters Company, 5th Special Forces Group. They were assigned to Military Assistance Command Vietnam-Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG), an unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia

[read complete article]

 

 

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