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  • 03/03/2016 - Vietnam Memorial to be Completed October 2017 in Texas
    Local VVA Chapters are not the only ones who are interested in memorializing those who fought to protect the country. In Killeen, TX, a local business owner, Sandra Skinner, has challenged the community to donate to this very cause. There is an effort to build a Vietnam War memorial at the State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen. Skinner has lead the way by donating $5,000 to the Fort Hoods VVA Chapter 1000, the closest chapter to Killeen. The memorial is expected to be a $27,000 project. Skinners donation made a great dent in the overall cost. The design of the memorial will resemble the memorial wall in Washington DC. Troy Kelley is the designer of the memorial. His previous work includes a memorial for the victims of the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage. The Vietnam memorial will be eight-feet tall and include quotations from various Vietnam veterans. The memorial is on track to be completed by October 2017.
  • 03/03/2016 - Working Together: VVA Chapters and State Councils Fulfill a Last Request
    By Jake Schuessler When his wife, Sheri, telephoned VVA Oregon State Council President Ron Morgan to explain that her husbands final wish was to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, Morgan knew he had to do something. Elliot had served in the Army from 1963-70, enlisting rather than waiting for the draft to get him. He completed OCS and Special Forces training and served with the 101st and 82nd Airborne. He even parachuted onto the peaks of the Swiss Alps during his training. Now Harold Elliot was dying of Parkinsons and Alzheimers; he couldnt wait any longer. Morgan tried to get Elliot onto one of the Honor Flights for Oregon veterans to visit the memorials in D.C. However, a doctor would have to certify that Elliot was terminally ill with less than a year to live in order for him to secure a seat on the flight that left in September. But because Elliots health had improved somewhat, Morgan was unable to get him on the flight. Undeterred, Morgan called on VVA Oregon Chapters 271 in Salem, 585 in Albany, 805 in Roseburg, and 821 in LaPine to help honor this veterans last wishes. Chapter members responded in force, raising enough money to provide for Harold and Sheri Elliots airfare and lodging. Morgan also reached out to Bruce Waxman, President of Dean K. Phillips Memorial Chapter 227 in Northern Virginia to see if VVA members there could provide ground transportation and tours of the monuments. I sent out a Minuteman Alert, Waxman said in an interview. His effort garnered tremendous support. When I asked my board about pitching in to help with transportation, Waxman said, at first they werent really sure, because we had never done anything like this before. But we felt like we had to help this man if we could. Col. Ben Buckley waited at National Airport to pick up Harold and Sheri Elliot, then chauffeured them to their hotel. The next day, Frank Levesque, a retired Special Forces Sergeant Major, escorted them to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknowns and provided a guided tour. Levesque, a post-Vietnam War veteran, swapped stories with Elliot along the way about their assignments. Waxman also arranged for the group to receive a self-guided tour of the White House later that afternoon. Waxman met them there, along with AVVA member Melissa Kalner, who helped with the tour. While exploring the White House, the group had the chance to attend the preparations for a welcome ceremony for Park Geun-hye, the President of Korea. Bill Lynch took charge of the second leg of the journey, driving the Elliots to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial the following day, where they met Jim Knott, CEO of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Knott took them on a tour of all four Vietnam War memorialsThe Wall, the Womens Memorial, the Three Fightingmen, and the In Memory plaque. They also visited the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. Knott presented Elliot with a Vietnam veteran pin at the end of their tour. Later that evening, Lynch took the Elliots to Chapter 227s Thirtieth Anniversary Dinner, where retired Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich, author of Skin in the Game, spoke. The next day, Ron Morgan and Bruce Waxman, along with several other Chapter 227 members and their families, celebrated the success of the trip over lunch at an Italian restaurant. Morgan presented each volunteer with a medallion, an Oregon State Council pin, and thanks for helping a veteran check off two important items on his bucket list. An Alaska Airlines crew provided the Elliots with free food, drinks, and movies on their flight home. Less than two months later, on December 17, Harold Elliot died. He was 74 years old.
  • 03/03/2016 - Working Together: VVA Chapters and State Councils Fulfill a Last Request
    By Jake Schuessler When his wife, Sheri, telephoned VVA Oregon State Council President Ron Morgan to explain that her husbands final wish was to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, Morgan knew he had to do something. Elliot had served in the Army from 1963-70, enlisting rather than waiting for the draft to get him. He completed OCS and Special Forces training and served with the 101st and 82nd Airborne. He even parachuted onto the peaks of the Swiss Alps during his training. Now Harold Elliot was dying of Parkinsons and Alzheimers; he couldnt wait any longer. Morgan tried to get Elliot onto one of the Honor Flights for Oregon veterans to visit the memorials in D.C. However, a doctor would have to certify that Elliot was terminally ill with less than a year to live in order for him to secure a seat on the flight that left in September. But because Elliots health had improved somewhat, Morgan was unable to get him on the flight. Undeterred, Morgan called on VVA Oregon Chapters 271 in Salem, 585 in Albany, 805 in Roseburg, and 821 in LaPine to help honor this veterans last wishes. Chapter members responded in force, raising enough money to provide for Harold and Sheri Elliots airfare and lodging. Morgan also reached out to Bruce Waxman, President of Dean K. Phillips Memorial Chapter 227 in Northern Virginia to see if VVA members there could provide ground transportation and tours of the monuments. I sent out a Minuteman Alert, Waxman said in an interview. His effort garnered tremendous support. When I asked my board about pitching in to help with transportation, Waxman said, at first they werent really sure, because we had never done anything like this before. But we felt like we had to help this man if we could. Col. Ben Buckley waited at National Airport to pick up Harold and Sheri Elliot, then chauffeured them to their hotel. The next day, Frank Levesque, a retired Special Forces Sergeant Major, escorted them to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknowns and provided a guided tour. Levesque, a post-Vietnam War veteran, swapped stories with Elliot along the way about their assignments. Waxman also arranged for the group to receive a self-guided tour of the White House later that afternoon. Waxman met them there, along with AVVA member Melissa Kalner, who helped with the tour. While exploring the White House, the group had the chance to attend the preparations for a welcome ceremony for Park Geun-hye, the President of Korea. Bill Lynch took charge of the second leg of the journey, driving the Elliots to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial the following day, where they met Jim Knott, CEO of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Knott took them on a tour of all four Vietnam War memorialsThe Wall, the Womens Memorial, the Three Fightingmen, and the In Memory plaque. They also visited the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. Knott presented Elliot with a Vietnam veteran pin at the end of their tour. Later that evening, Lynch took the Elliots to Chapter 227s Thirtieth Anniversary Dinner, where retired Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich, author of Skin in the Game, spoke. The next day, Ron Morgan and Bruce Waxman, along with several other Chapter 227 members and their families, celebrated the success of the trip over lunch at an Italian restaurant. Morgan presented each volunteer with a medallion, an Oregon State Council pin, and thanks for helping a veteran check off two important items on his bucket list. An Alaska Airlines crew provided the Elliots with free food, drinks, and movies on their flight home. Less than two months later, on December 17, Harold Elliot died. He was 74 years old.
  • 03/03/2016 - Facing the Wall
    By Larry Harris The throbbing roar of fifty motorcycles announced the motorcade. Most of the riders had longish hair, beards, and mustaches. This gray brigade seemed serious, proud, and glad the trip was over. They had been in formation since leaving Page, Ariz., escorting a truck pulling a trailer containing the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Snow-covered peaks and mesas punctuated the horizon. The procession entered the parking lot of Zion Harley in Washington City, Utah, on March 11, 2015. Southern Utah Chapter 961 was the host and custodian of the Wall while it was in Washington County. On the half-size replica of the granite memorial in Washington, D.C., each name was etched into the metal surface. Harley Davidson had made a large donation, including use of its parking lot. The fifty-foot trailer pulled in, and everyone began to unload the panels and set up the Wall. People worked together for a common cause. The trailer, loaded with military precision, was unloaded the same way. If you want something done, ask the military. Word came down that we would have to fill sand bags. WTF! The red sand behind the parking lot became our next work station. People started to bitch (very military like), but when the bags arrived, we went to work. In little over two hours the Wall was up. Hard to believe it had just been on the road. We took a break, hung around, and just checked things out. There was a feeling of relief but also: What next? We talked generic military bullshit, when we would come back, and what to expect when we did. I always thought there would be enough people to take care of the needed tasks. There was, but they still made us wear a one-size-fits-all vest that didnt fit anybody. Oh, maybe it fit the ROTC and young cadet volunteers. The gray brigade seemed to be about forty years and fifty pounds away from a proper fit. The Traveling Wall remained in southern Utah for five days. I attended the closing ceremonies. An honor guard, a junior high choir, and an Irish band paid homage to the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans. The service anthems were sung; the Army hymn brought an unexpected tear to my eye. A few members of Chapter 961 spoke and our chaplain gave the closing prayer. When I got home that Saturday evening I was totally spent. I had a splitting headache and just felt kind of weird and empty. I couldnt put my finger on the reason. I had a restless night without much sleep. After much reflection the next day I began to piece things together. I was torn between expressing my own grief and being thought of as unmanly. Men are taught to overcome grief, not experience it, Dr. Alan Wolfelt wrote in his paper, Men in Grief. He claims that men and society in general had little tolerance for the expression of grief. I was taught to suffer in silence; if I didnt, it was a sign of weakness. But right now, I needed some help. My father must have had anxiety and felt vulnerable, but like most World War II veterans, he never said a word about his experiences. I was confused, then and now. Did anybody know or care about me if I was silent? Maybe a lot of these guys with PTSD turned to drugs and alcohol instead of grieving. It had seemed easier for me to get stoned or drunk than to mourn. It had taken me about forty years to ask for help or support. Who knows, maybe it was possible to grieve and not be a sissy. During my recently ended twenty-year career as an alternative education teacher, I had grief counselors help my class after the death of a classmate. I wasnt sure if looking at the Five Stages of Grief would help me, but I looked them up. They are: Denial and Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Where was I on that list? When I was at the Wall interacting with people I was okay. I enjoyed helping people find a name. I especially liked discussing the history of the Wall and what happened to all the things people left there. A motorcycle that traveled with the Wall had been left at the Wall in D.C., not sent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection like all of the other things left at the memorial. It was fun to talk about. The total number of names and how many women were included were rich topics for discussion. As a retired teacher and people-person, I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the visitors. But when it concluded, I felt hollow and unfulfilled. True, I did have a reverse Wall moment when I looked for a name and didnt find it. That was a relief. But after the Wall was packed away and I was alone with my thoughts, things got difficult. Some things I know for sure. Everybody takes something to the Wall and everybody leaves something there. That can be spiritual, metaphorical, or physical. Wherever the Wall is raised is sacred ground. I believe this with my entire heart. However, it is billed as the Wall that Heals. But I had no feelings of healing. I was sad and depressed. I suffered from survivor guilt like many vets. What did it all mean? Experiencing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is different for everybody; it can also be different each time you see it. I first saw it in Washington, D.C.; it took me three days to get there. Avoidance is a common PTSD symptom. But I remember thinking that The Wall was done the right way. It didnt glorify the Vietnam War, but it paid tribute in an appropriate manner. The shape and form accurately reflect the experience. Most vets agree with the designs restraint. When viewed in its entirety, it is breathtaking. From the apex to the two waning ends, it conveys a feeling of fading away or the culmination of a meaningful experience. I had a friend who got depressed because he said his volunteering to go to Vietnam was a mistake. His decision wasnt wrong. He went at the time because he thought it was the right thing to do. He shouldnt second-guess himself. Americas decisions made the war what it was. Another guy said he was bringing his buddies home. He lost quite a few men whose names are on The Wall. Now he was bringing them to where he lives. I thought that was poignant and moving. At least his friends can be with him for a while. I believe that many people are looking for a sense of closure. Civilians, servicemen, and servicewomen want to see a name so that they can make their peace. Some people just want to say good-bye and that is okay, too. Even if you didnt have a plan before you go to The Wall, you need to ask yourself: Why did I go? Maybe you had a plan that changed after you went. The important thing is not to beat yourself up over it. The first time I went to The Wall was mainly out of curiosity. Then, twenty-five years later, it was to see if my acceptance of PTSD and dealing with it made any difference. It did, but I wasnt prepared for the emotional drain. I thought to myself almost lyrically: When will the pain return to the darkness from whence it has come? Now after my recent experience I feel better and more centered. Some people never go to The Wall, while others return again and again. There are no rules. So do what you want, but dont ignore The Wall. Even if you dont go, you need to figure out how you feel about the whole Southeast Asian experience. I wont ever forget the more than 58,000 names; you shouldnt either. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial doesnt glorify, but recognizes the sacrifices we made. What am I to do now? Whats left for me?
  • 03/03/2016 - Missing in Action, Not Recognition
    By Jake Schuessler A long line of motorcycles processed slowly through the Texas State Cemetery. Their arrival opened the ceremony on September 26 to memorialize 105 Texas Vietnam veterans listed as Missing in Action. Organized by VVAs Austin Chapter 915 for the eighth consecutive year, and supported by the Texas Association of Vietnam Veterans (TAVV) and the local VFW post, the recognition ceremony hosted more than a hundred dignitaries, VSOs, and Vietnam veterans. Those who rode in the procession were part of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, In-Country Veterans MC, Veterans of Foreign Wars Riders, and Patriot Guard Riders. Master of Ceremonies John Miterko of Chapter 915 began the ceremony with a formal introduction and nod to special guests, including the Superintendent of the Texas State Cemetery, Harry Bradley, and State Sen. Donna Campbell, Chair of the House Defense and Veterans Affairs Committees. Then there was a presentation of colors by Chapter 915 and TAVV members led by Vietnam veteran Freddie Garcia, with music played by the Austin Police Pipe & Drum Corps. Chapter 915 Vice President Charlie Grant led the Pledge of Allegiance and Chapter 915 Chaplain Larry Yager provided the opening prayer. The POW/MIA table ceremony, conducted by Chapter President Roy McCrary, recognized those missing from each of the services. The ceremony has many symbolic components, principally a white-clothed table representing purity set with empty, overturned toasting glasses and surrounded by empty chairs. There are also lemon slices, reminding us of the bitter fate of these men, and salt symbolizing the tears of our families and those still missing, Miterko said. Other components include a yellow ribbon, lighted candle, and a Bible. Chaplain Yager closed the table ceremony with a prayer for the thirty-five members of Chapter 915 and TAVV who had recently died. The TAVV Fire Base Team presented a folded memorial U.S. flag to Belinda Rogers, widow of Vietnam-era veteran William Nelson Rogers, who died in August. A performance by the HeyLusKa War Dance Society followed, led by Jim Cook, a Vietnam veteran. The song and dance, dedicated to all Vietnam veterans, included a blessing for the Texas MIAs, their families, and those who participated in the recognition ceremony. An eagle feather fanned smoke into the sky to carry the blessing to the Grandfather Spirit. Afterward was a reading of the names of the Texas MIAs. A ships bell tolled before a member of each service branch began reading. Veterans in the motorcycle units answered for each of the MIAs as their names were read. Although our brothers-in-arms are not with us physically, a brother warrior answers for them today, Miterko said. Today their spirit and memory are with us. As long as our generation of warriors remains alive, our missing brothers will remain alive in our hearts. The ceremony ended with a second performance by the TAVV Fire Base team and the playing of Taps, along with a 21-gun salute by VVAs Chapter 863 Honor Guard. The Austin Police Pipe & Drum Corps played Amazing Grace and a series of instrumentals. Wreaths were laid by several VSOs and Sons and Daughters in Touch, as well as by Sen. Campbell and veterans family members. A reception followed at the Gallery Room of the Texas State Cemetery. The Superintendent, a Vietnam vet, came up to me after the ceremony and said that the fourth Saturday of every September is reserved for this ceremony, Miterko said. So we plan to do it for as long as we can.
  • 03/03/2016 - Dean K. Phillips Memorial Chapter 227 Organizes Support The Girls Bra Dri
    The Dean K. Phillips Memorial Chapter 227 recently worked with Team Red, White, and Blue (RWB) to collect bra and cash donations for those in need. Team RWB is specifically focused on helping enrich the lives of veterans. They do this by helping veterans connect with their respective communities in physical and social activities. The two organizations were able to meet and exceed their goal. Over 400 bras and $340 were donated, and excess bras were distributed to Final Salute, Inc.
  • 03/03/2016 - Queens Chapter 32 Recognizes Community Friendships
    There are many members of a community that love and support their local VVA chapters. The Queens Chapter 32 in New York has many supporters, some of whom they recently recognized. Assemblyman Mike Miller and state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. were honored by the chapter for being friends of veterans and specifically of the Queens Chapter. The chapter made each of these men honorary members of the group with a plaque. In addition, the chapter gave each man a jacket with their names, the chapter logo, and the U.S. flag on it, representing their support of the many men and women who have served.
  • 03/03/2016 - New Castle Chapter Donates $3,500 to Memorial Project
    The New Castle Chapter 850 in New Castle, DE, recently donated $3,500 to the Vietnam Veterans Legacy Veterans Motorcycle Club. The donation is for the VVLVMCs project to rebuild a memorial at Fire Base Lloyd on state Route 9 in New Castle. The VVLVMC has helped with and been active in many veteran related events across the state. Because of this, the New Castle Chapter was happy to donate to their project. Because this project will cost about $12,000 total to complete, the VVA chapters donation will help the VVLVMC make significant progress toward their goal.
  • 03/03/2016 - Chapter 805 Earns $22,000 for Bronze Battle Cross Memorial
    Chapter 805 of Roseburg, OR has big plans for Memorial Day 2017. This national holiday is their deadline for a project theyve been hard at work to get in the works. The chapter has raised $22,000 through selling nearly 4,000 patriotic calendars during the winter. Their funds will be put toward a bronze memorial at the Roseburg National Cemetery Annex. The bronze statue is called Fallen Solider Battle Cross and it depicts a set of boots with a rifle and bayonet upright between them. A helmet rests on top of the gun. The brain power behind the great ideas of the memorial and selling calendars to fund the project came from Jack Flowers, Chapter 805s treasurer. He had visited a similar memorial in California, and during restless nights as a result of medication he was taking, he conjured the idea for the calendars. The calendars featured patriotic pictures of flags, memorials, and local veterans, and were sold by a group of 25 men. They clocked nearly 300 hours at stores around the county to sell the calendars for the statue. The stone base for the memorial will showcase inscriptions explaining the statue and dedicating the battle cross to more than 58,000 soldiers who never set foot back on American soil after the Vietnam War. It is being made by the same company that created the Oregon Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall.
  • 03/03/2016 - Daytona Beach Chapter Holds Ceremony Honoring Veterans
    Nearly 9 million Americans were honored by their community for their service during the Vietnam War. Residents and veterans in the Southeast Volusia area in Florida gathered in the New Smyrna Beach High School auditorium to show appreciate for veterans and their loved ones. During the service, the Daytona Beach Chapter revealed a 5-by-4-foot picture collage featuring 119 men who were alumni of the historic high school that later served in Vietnam. Nearly 50 of the men still live in the Southeast Volusia area and were able to attend the ceremony. This project to honor Vietnam veterans has been ongoing for the past year. Col. Frank Farmer of the VVA, along with seven other members in their local chapter, started the project as a way to preserve the history of those who served from their area. There were many remarkable people in attendance at the ceremony. Barbara Dillon, with her daughter Melissa and two grandsons, Dillon and Daniel, was there to honor her husband, William (Billy) J. Dillon Jr., who recently died from an illness doctors believe may be a result of Agent Orange exposure. Along with many family members representing their deceased veterans, several government officials were in the crowd. Some include Senator Dorothy L. Hukill and New Smyrna Beach Mayor Jim Hathaway. Rod Phillips, a member of chapter 1048, spoke to the audience about the veterans sacrifices. He personally had served in the 101st and 82nd Airborne Division and the 11th Special Forces Group. The beautiful composite picture with framed artwork depicting the war is now on display at the New Smyrna Beach Historical Museum.
  • 03/03/2016 - Veterans of Chapter 1078 Return to Vietnam
    Knoxville Tennessee Chapter 1078 is a tight knit group that meets regularly and volunteers often. Many of the members find a strong bond built on their Vietnam commonalities. Nearly 20 people, mostly VVA members and their wives, recently traveled to Vietnam to build new memories, and for some, to heal. During their trip, they took tours and went on dinner cruises. The Vietnamese people were very welcoming. Some of the veterans faced unsettling memories that they had relived in dreams for years. Many were there to see places theyd been many years ago. Some veterans, who served during the Vietnam War but not in the country itself, were able to see places their fellow veterans had seen. But for all, the experience they had in Vietnam was exciting and monumental. President of Chapter 1078, Don Smith, and his wife were both in attendance on the trip to Vietnam. Without a doubt my favorite part of the trip was the impact it had on several of our chapter members& It is a phenomenon I cannot explain, but the trip provided a lot of healing and closure for many and they came back with a completely changed attitude. One of our chapter members even said the nightmares he was having prior to the trip have subsided. After coming back from Vietnam the first time, most did not receive big recognition or welcoming parties. This time, after getting off the plane, other members of the chapter had gathered with balloons and signs to welcome their friends and fellow veterans home. This was a meaningful gesture to the veterans who had not received the same welcome 47 years prior.

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Who We Are

Vietnam Veterans of America was organized to improve the lives of Vietnam era veterans. VVA is also committed to veterans of all conflicts and feels a special affinity for our veterans returning from Iraq , Afghanistan and the Global War on Terrorism. This commitment has prompted VVA to identify specific activities it carries out for our current Veterans through VVA's program, VetsConnect.

VetsConnect funds projects in support of today's veterans and current military, and will utilize the proven resources of VVA to provide services, assistance, advice and support directly to those who served on active duty after September 11, 2001 and/or their families

Our Mission

Our mission remains true to the founding principles of the Vietnam Veterans of America, vowing that:

“Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

We will stand together with today's veterans and support the needs of all veterans of the Global War on Terrorism

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