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VVAW 50th Celebrations
VVAW held two gatherings in September to celebrate our 50th Anniversary.
September 10, 2017 we gathered in Milwaukee in the back room of the historic Falcon Bowl. John Zutz secured the premises and some food. Mark Runle brought more food. Barry Romo and Jim and Sukie Wachtendonk brought the banners and photo albums to share. VVAW members, friends and family from Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago caught up and shared memories over drinks. John Lindquist even called in from England.
VVAW banners hanging in the back room of the Polish Falcon Bowl in Milwaukee.
September 16, 2017 we gathered in New York at Connolly's Pub in the middle of Manhattan. Brian Matarrese and Susan Schnall secured the room (which we've used for many events in the past) and the VVAW 50th anniversary cake. Jan Barry gave a brief overview of VVAW's early days, Bill Ehrhart read some poetry, Frank Toner read a statement from Al Hubbard, Michael McPhearson of VFP presented VVAW a plaque for our 50th. Lots of old friends gathered to listen and celebrate, including members of other groups, such as IVAW.
Here are some excerpts from Al Hubbard's statement:
A very proud salute to all my sisters and brothers of VVAW for 50 years of service to our country.
I have a very special place in my heart for Jan Barry, who introduced me to VVAW and along with Jon Bjornsen, the late Carl Rogers and the other founding members, allowed me to sit in the National Office with Madelyn Moore at my side during those formative years. Madelyn was my compass in the steering of VVAW.
A very warm thanks to our Regional Coordinators, Barry Romo, John Kerry, Ed Damato, and all those who helped form and expand VVAW.
I salute my dear friends, Marty Webster, Bill Branson and the entire staff of the National Office, and we must thank the Milwaukee Chapter who have put their emphasis on advocating for our sisters and brothers suffering the ravages of Agent Orange, and require assistance navigating the VA system.
VVAW still has work to do.
This month I celebrate my 83rd birthday, pleased at having recovered from brain surgery. I pledge my remaining energy to the fight.
Thank you VVAW for what you've done, what you are doing, and more importantly what you can do to keep our country great.
See photos of VVAW's 50th!