2014: The Year Ahead
A message from the VFW commander-in-chief
January 09, 2014
This year promises to be a momentous one for America’s veterans and its
warriors. Issues affecting those in and out of uniform will be on the front
burner on Capitol Hill.
in 2014 will no doubt put veterans and the armed forces in the national
limelight: congressional elections and withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from
Afghanistan. The ending of a war is always a watershed in history, and this one
should be no exception.
such a milestone will attract publicity that should be maximized to the benefit
of the Afghanistan War’s veterans and their families. While the media is
focused on the political ramifications of the combat disengagement, we should
draw attention to the needs of the youngest generation of war vets.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the 47,000 GIs remaining in Afghanistan: “I
know more than occasionally you wonder if anybody’s paying attention, or if
anybody cares, but we do.”
have been speaking on behalf of the American people in general, but his words
could have been our own. This is all part of our commitment to “fully support
U.S. troops and their mission to prosecute the war on terrorism.”
VFW’s Priority Goals include a host
of issues—health care, housing, education, employment, transition assistance
and military quality-of-life as a whole—that are perfectly relevant to those on
active duty today. Each and every one of these goals is being pursued with
vigor by our Washington Office staff.
As politicians seek public office during the mid-term elections, these
and other issues important to all veterans will take center stage. Adequate and
timely funding for the VA budget, top-notch mental health services, reducing
the disability claims backlog and protecting compensation are among them.
are being courted is also the time when the prospect for a public hearing of
veteran concerns is greatest. Mid-year up until Election Day will be the
opportune time to get elected officials to pay attention. And it is at the
grassroots level that you can make the biggest difference. Leverage your Post
and Department membership in the quest to preserve veterans’ rights. State
legislatures are often an overlooked and neglected battleground.
important for another more personal reason. Fifty years ago in August, Congress
took a step that had far-reaching consequences. With the Gulf of Tonkin
Resolution, it opened the door to a wider war for Americans.
that month we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sacrifices made in
Vietnam. To me and my fellow Vietnam vets—now the largest single segment of VFW
membership—this is a date with genuine meaning.
Whether it be an anniversary
commemoration, the highlighting of veterans issues in an election year or
remembering the most recent generation of vets as they return home from
Afghanistan—or a combination of all three—make 2014 a year worthy of your time.
BACK TO NEWS >