66.Dear American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans

vetsday07.jpgDear Groups,

I noticed you are sitting on a war chest of monies, let me help you spend it the right way this Veterans Day:

I notice that in all the comments that I receive I never get comments from anyone identifying themselves from my fraternal veteran organizations.

I guess it is about time you backed a candidate with some gonads for veterans (oh I am sorry you cannot do that yourselves and remain tax exempt).When I joined your organizations you told me you supported all veterans. I have not really seen that often, except in the magazine. I have seen you parade around, hold fights about how long Charly is going to live to decide if he is going to get a life membership or not ($35 dollars a year now is a lot to consider), Post 80 of the American Legion in Grants, NM is selling tattoos, I cannot get a ride to the VA from the Disabled American Veterans for a VA Compensation Physical, at that time a life member in Burlington, NC. I was told by the state chapter of the DAV of North Carolina to call Salisbury,NC which is over 100 miles away…Thanks DAV! Coy, our distinguished recruiter would kick your asses knowing this. I have seen posts that did want younger veterans to join for membership purposes (we need that money you know for the membership drive), but please stay away from the club, and do not think about running for anything like being an officer at all.

Now I noticed dues went up this year. We blamed it on Katrina relief. I guess losing all of those physical posts had nothing to do with it like paying the deductions on the insurance policies. I have a big idea! And all of that mail I used to recieve to resupply the emergency funds, now everyone should read what those emergency funds also go for! It is not just for Veterans and their families in distress, it is also for posts to get loans to keep their doors open. Read the small print.

Cancel the conventions and use the money to assist rebuilding. We do not need to have the fancy conventions, having the posts fly commanders and others from all over the states in. We could just send all that money to rebuild. We could even take all the money everyone would spend on scotch, rooms, beer and shows (oh lets not forget slot machine quarters) and take that money for the homeless veterans. No one is there to hear about Resolution 10. anyway and cannot remember what it was past Resolution 12. anyhow. Who are we trying to fool here? Boy did I just ruin everyone’s year? I was reading convention resolutions since you gladly put them on the internet, where baseball and everything else comes up, but not a single thing for a homeless veteran comes up? Oh please! I am not interested in rounding up benefits to the nearest 50 cents when I am not getting any! Geez. Does everyone have to fly to Las Vegas for this? How about getting those AYES or Nays by MAIL? What an idea.

For having huge office buildings and paid staff, does anyone read some of these reports the VA and other agencies try to put before congress on homeless veterans? If they did, why do I not hear any screaming? It is amazing to me these fraternal organizations with these offices in D.C. are not in those meetings bending the armed services committee on veteran affairs chairman’s ears off his head! We are a lobbying organization too supposedly. Just what is going on in those buildings and who are you paying up there for staff? Is it Hotels.com to check out Bally’s in Vegas? It sure is not reading the CHALENG or the GPD reports before it hits a congressional panel. A friend of mine went to a CHALENG meeting and the VFW guy just clapped and nodded his head. Just what the heck is going on.? Where do I get my DAV, VFW or American Legion Bobble Head Doll? Just who are we lobbying? Here I am a homeless guy working for peanuts, and one of your membership, I should not have to be telling you this. What is membership? A $35.00 drinking permit? That is what most the membership thinks it is anyway! As a member the most important thing I ever saw at the post level was the MEMBERSHIP DRIVE. Get the $35.00 in to National and hurry.

Lets Face It Folks. As Fraternal Veterans Organizations, all we are is FRATERNAL. From all I have seen at the Local Level is a bunch of Beered up Buffoonery. We have dances, we have meetings about paving the parking lot, about Joe being in charge of flag burning. This is important. I have heard about plane tickets to conventions and who is mad about not going as paid. I have heard about color guard and how so and so did not get paid yet. I never heard about helping someone, or a homeless veteran. From the State Levels (those I have met and some I have interviewed) it is sort of shameful the lack of knowledge that they have on the issues that they have been entrusted to discharge. From one of my posts, the gentleman that was elected to state, Oh Boy! It was because no one else wanted it! One DAV State Deputy in Tennessee when asked about Homeless Veteran Programs in his state had no clue. Unfortunately he was speaking at a homeless Veteran function. At the national level our Fraternal Brotherhoods of Veterans are so worried about tax exemptions on their membership dues they divide our magazines from dyed in the wool war on terror fighter politicians to splitting the page with a politician who cannot remember how they voted on the bill. No wonder our President has such a poor rating and a lot of the fault is right in our own magazines. If we cannot take a stance due to our own TAX STATUS this is SICK. Something else, why are women veterans forced to join an auxiliary? Show me a branch of our military where we have a women’s auxiliary anymore. Women Veterans should be full members and not segregated!

Charly if he has been paying his dues for 50 years give him his life membership dammit and quit fighting about it. That is the least of any posts worries. Your worries are outside the door of the post. State Level, you need to be kicking some of these dead beat posts asses back to active in their communities. Nationally, just maybe you need to take those DC headquarters and turn those into homeless shelters, I have seen them. It is amazing for fraternal organizations, there is a lot of money there in real estate holdings, and just cash. I do not remember my membership including a retirement fund, and I do not remember anyone rushing out the door offering me a check to help me through my hard times. Hell I cannot even get a ride to the VA for the promises made in my memberships. Until your organizations feel like you can get things straight, I recommend you take those red, white, blue and yellow magnets off of your vehicles.

militaryappreciationmon.jpgTonight some of you will be standing around Golden Corrals displaying your various post hats with big pasted smiles on your faces. You might see some homeless veterans. All you will say to them I imagine is “Hey How Are Ya” and go on talking to your post buddy. After the night is over with you will feel proud of yourself for some reason on a full belly. You will never even think of the plight of what you are seeing actually. You will not have a clue that somewhere in those rooms are men and women veterans and that the meal served to them in a restaurant is the first sit down meal they might have had since last year. That the amount of food in front of them so overwhelms them that it frightens them. That other homeless veterans are standing outside wanting to come inside but cannot. They do not know where to hide their possessions where they might not be stolen. So because of that they might not eat. But baseball resolutions were more important!

By the way, don’t forget Charly, give him that life membership, and go about with the reasons the organizations where founded for. There are war-chests of monies, millions to be exact. Uhh, why does a fraternal organization need to be hoarding millions when there is crisis everywhere?

Happy Veterans Day!


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6 Responses to “66.Dear American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans”

  1. 1 An American
    November 12, 2007 at 7:51 am

    On this Veterans Day 2007 I thank you for your service to our country and also thank you for being a source of information & advocacy for homeless veterans throughout our country. I also offer a sincere apology for the lack of support our country has demonstrated to those who served our country so loyally. I am one American who has been shocked at the plight of our veterans who have been treated with such neglect & have been enlightened by your frankness in exposing the problems of homelessness.
    I hope you can indeed enjoy a warm meal today and know that you have supporters who are cheering you on not only on Veterans Day but everyday.
    God Bless you,my friend!
    An American

  2. November 12, 2007 at 2:39 pm


    Forget about getting the “Ayes” and “Nays” by mail. That would cost postage.

    Since they’ve posted to the Internet, let them take votes online and have them set aside the few cents that would be spent on postage, put it into a special fund that can be used to help those of the “brotherhood” who so desperately need it!

    Or does that make too much sense?

    Otherwise, all of the talk is just that… TALK! And as everyone knows… Talk is cheap! But then again, it seems that the all of the Veterans’ Fraternal organizations are cheap too!

  3. November 12, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Thank you for your service my friend.

    Please tell that to the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee and have him read this site!

    Thanks Raja!


  4. November 12, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    I want to give another round of applause for Wanderingvet for his service to this country, his sacrifices, his willingness to take on the establishment and for his good advice for his fellow homeless in need.

    Thank you for your service, you are a true American Hero, and I’m proud to call you friend!

    RE the alphabet soup organizations: You gave it to them and they rightly deserve it. I’ve done some searching of the various post websites and have yet to find anything about the homeless, other than the one that is converting space for them. I take your word for it to all the rest of what you say. There is a little at the national level, best I can remember. Nothing at the local level where it has to filter down to.

    I’m thinking of doing a campaign (nicely of course) to see if we can get them off the peg. There seems to be enough money there to fix the problem if they would do it. A project to energize the members. Any ideas?


    I just spoke to a class of High School Students that have more zeal for homeless veterans than the orgnaizations that are supposed to represent us, but I will come up with something!


  5. November 14, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Thank you for the reminder the importance of focusing our time, money, and energy on the most important matters for any fraternal organization. I am grateful to my fellow Elks who’ve provided guidance for newer members in charitable causes, and indirectly led me to you! One such member is a local chaplain who coordinates distribution of personal hygiene products to homeless veterans in our community. I’ve decided to take it a step further and have a holiday drive at the state agency where I work. We plan on using your personal hygiene list as a guide. We will also provide information regarding yours and OldTimer’s site in order to create awareness of a dire need. It will only be a drop in the bucket, but it’s a first step.

    Thanks to you and all veterans for their service to our country. God bless you!

    I was really having a bad day Debbie and letters like this really cheered me up this evening!

  6. November 16, 2007 at 5:55 am

    I’m glad that I was able to give something back to you! I’m just beginning to learn more about the many factors involved in your issues.

    The chaplain who is providing me guidance is concerned about making sure the items and resources we are collecting make it to our intended recipients. I understand the difficulties with state and federal agencies all too well – luckily there are a lot of people in our local community that believe in and support “DIY” and “grassroots” efforts. I am proud that our local food bank has taken a proactive approach in their mission by bringing in key stakeholders including VOLUNTEERS to discuss their 5 year strategic plan. It is imperative that we build a strong foundation locally, especially since federal programs aren’t meeting critical needs of so many of our citizens.

    Get well soon, and stay warm!

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