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(This commentary piece also appears in THE VETERAN, Fall 2004 (Volume 34, Number 2).)

The Struggle Continues


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VVAW is a lot stronger now than it was a year and a half ago. We have around 400 new members, about half of which are old members coming home, but the others are new to the struggle. Some are folks in their fifties becoming active for the first time. And while 90% are Vietnam veterans, other new members are veterans of the Korean or Iraq wars. We also have people on active duty and in-country now, providing a voice for peace and justice from Iraq to the VA hospitals.

Our website (www.vvaw.org) receives about 13,000 visits per month these days. The list of people willing to be VVAW regional contacts has expanded greatly. We've also revived our military counseling program.

We want the bombs to stop falling, the GIs to stop dying, and Americans to stop killing Iraqis. We want the VA to be expanded. We want every vet to be able to walk into a hospital and be cared for, not put off for six months to two years. We want more than just an expansion of cemeteries.

Tall order, yes — but we helped end the war in Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia with Nixon as president.

We were walking point on post-traumatic stress disorder and Agent Orange without law degrees or a big budget while the establishment said we were being crybabies or spreading communist propaganda.

This country is a different place — a better place — and VVAW made a difference. And you can too. Join us, re-up, become a contact.

No matter who gets elected, we're not going away. We've been around for 37 years. We didn't become discouraged when Nixon and Reagan were re-elected, and we didn't cut Carter or Clinton any slack. A lot of promises have been made and now must be fulfilled.

VVAW is going to be around for a while.

Barry Romo is a national coordinator of VVAW.

Commentary on VVAW.org: