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Posted at 03:41 PM on Monday, November 30, 2009 by newJerseyBy Thomas J. Tradewell Sr.
Columnist Robert F. Dorr has once again missed the mark regarding the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. ["Some vets still more equal than others," Nov. 16]. His insinuation that we regard Cold War veterans as "second-class citizens" is disingenuous, and the facts reveal a different story altogether.
The VFW is a membership organization that is open to all who currently serve or have served, provided they meet eligibility requirements as established by Congress through public laws. Founded in 1899, the VFW is America's oldest major veterans' organization, and with more than 1.5 million members, we are also her largest organization of combat veterans, an all encompassing category that includes those who went to war as well as those who deployed in support of contingency operations.
All who have deployed into the unknown are forever bound by a common experience — regardless of service, conflict or MOS — and so, too, are our families. It is a "One Team, One Mission" concept that only we who have been there can understand. It is unfortunate that Mr. Dorr continuously refuses to understand this concept and its critical distinction.
He used the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to say we "betrayed" Cold War veterans because our membership requirements are more exclusive than inclusive, and he cites Korea in trying to validate his point. Had he checked VFW eligibility requirements, he would have discovered that those who served in Korea from the end of World War II forward are eligible. So, too, are those who flew clandestine reconnaissance flights over the former Soviet Union or its satellite states, provided hostile fire or imminent danger pay or an expeditionary medal was awarded.