Wednesday, February 19, 2014

VFW Finds Consequences To Its Actions

Yes indeed, contrary to what some folks say, life really does have consequences.

Most of us are very aware that we'll certainly reap what we sow. Whether it's breaking the law of doing things that might not be illegal but just aren't right, most of us will not escape the consequences of our actions.

In many ways, that's what I see happening with the VFW.

A report out of Washington state about a VFW post up there talks about how its membership is in decline.
The report about the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Washington state talked about how they dutifully go about the business of doing things for its community such as marching in the local annual Veterans Day Parade, providing color guards for local schools, as well as providing  military honors for veterans' funerals.

But, the Yakima Herald also reported the hard truth about VFW Post 379, or rather its membership, in that their post is in decline and losing more members than bringing in.

According to the report, its rolls, like those of the national organization to which it belongs, are slowly dwindling. The loss of their membership is specifically tied to the fact that their World War II members are dying of old age.

Fourteen members of the post have died so far this year and, as the paper wrote, “it’s only February.”

While the Washington post is far from dead with just under 1,000 members, the report stated they've had 118 deaths last year and 134 in 2012.

Total membership in Post 379, according to the Yakima Herald, is down to 937, from nearly 1,400 as of just five years ago.

“That’s probably the trend all across America,” Bob Hearing, the post’s 68-year-old historian, told The Herald. “We’re just losing membership.”

Randi Law, a spokeswoman for VFW Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, confirmed to The Herald what Bob Hearing suspects -- the VFW's National membership has fallen from 1.8 million to 1.4 million, since 2004.

Yes, that's a loss of 400 thousand members in just 10 years.

So why the VFW Membership decline?

Well, obviously, one reason for the membership decline is that the World War II, Korean War, and even Vietnam veterans are dying off at a rate faster than they can get in new members.

Knowing that, the question becomes why can't they get in younger members?

Now to be real frank about the answer to what I think is going on, I have to first state a disclaimer.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, than you probably know that I'm a former U.S. Marine and a member of the American Legion post here in small Glencoe, California.

You may also know that after many years of not being a member of the VFW, that I did become a member of the VFW back in 2002 -- for only that year.

A friend who is a member to a local VFW post in a neighboring town reminded me that the VFW does a lot of good things locally for the community. And yes, he is right.

Another friend contends that what the VFW does at the National level doesn't impact veterans at the local level.  But, that's where I see a problem.

Like the American Legion, the bulk of the yearly membership dues goes to the VFW National organization to do with as they see fit. In reality the post only sees a couple of dollars from every member when they renew their membership. It is a small percentage of what the yearly dues are.

And yes, there is the problem with the VFW.

When my membership ended back in 2002, I simply did not renew it.

Frankly, like many other vets, I have political differences with the VFW National organization who veterans are financially supporting.

Now chickens are coming home to roost and the VFW is having to face the consequences of its mistakes and bad deeds.

So yes, I think the VFW is now finding out that there is consequences to its actions.  Like many veterans, I don't like who the VFW has endorsed politically in the past.

In 1992, believe it or not, the VFW endorsed draft-dodger Bill Clinton over World War II decorated Navy pilot George H.W. Bush.

And don't be fooled into thinking it's only one or two endorsements over the years, the VFW has made hundreds of endorsements for politicians who were blatantly anti-military and anti-veteran.

Yes, that's why the VFW is in trouble.

For example, on November 10th, 2009, former U.S. Marine Nick Popaditch announced his campaign for California's 51st congressional district as a Republican.

The incumbent was anti-military liberal Democrat Bob Filner who had held the seat since 1992.

Nick Popaditch was a U.S. Marine on his second deployment commanding tanks in the First Battle of Fallujah in April 2004.

During the battle on April 7th, supporting infantry with a pair of M1 Abrams tanks, and turning onto a narrow street, Gunnery Sgt Popsditch opened his hatch for better visibility despite the constant RPG-7 attacks.

He was wounded in action in an ambush when a rocket propelled grenade struck him in the head.

It both blinded and deafened him, yet he struggled to maintain consciousness until his tank was moved out of danger - he was then evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
After a prolonged stay, he was sent back to the United States, ultimately losing his right eye due to damage to the optic nerve and hearing in his right ear.

At Naval Medical Center San Diego, some of the vision in his remaining left eye was restored by the hospital’s medical professionals, while his ocular prosthesis features the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor instead of a pupil.

Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch was awarded the Silver Star for actions in combat on November 10th, 2005, and medically retired on April 22 of that year.

Though he was endorsed by former presidential candidate and Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee and former Congressman Duncan Hunter, and though Popaditch cited his "love of country" for why he was running for political office., the Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed his liberal anti-military anti-veteran opponent Democrat Bob Filner.

Yes, it's true, the VFW supported Bob Filner over decorated veteran former Marine Gunnery Sgt Nick Popaditch, a Marine combat veteran who lost an eye in Iraq.

Another example is the VFW's decision to endorse Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California liberal who has voted to cut military spending, including cuts to spending for VA Hospitals, and once admonished a one-star general to call her "Senator" instead of "Ma'am."

And no, the VFW has not stopped with just Boxer and Filner. 

Withing the last ten years, the VFW, the nation's oldest major veterans group had the nerve to endorse Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Shummer, Alan Grayson, and nearly 200 other liberal anti-military anti-veteran Democrats running for Congress.

No matter what their anti-military, anti-veteran, no matter how far left wing they were, the VFW endorsed them.

Many of these Democrats fought against funds, material, new equipment including body armour for troops in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Many of these Democrats supported anti-military groups like Code Pink who was the liberal anti-war group who met our wounded troops at VA Hospitals with signs calling them "murderers" and such.

And yes, many of those Democrats proudly took pictures with Code Pink and others - all the while taking campaign dollars from them while being endorsed by the VFW.

One of the most mind-boggling VFW endorsements was of Democrat Ron Klein over Republican Allen West in the race for Florida's 22nd District.

Not only is retired U.S. Army Lt Col West a decorated hero of Iraq, but he was a member of a local VFW post in Florida.

Believe it or not, as shocking as it is, the VFW threw their support behind Ron Klein who has never served in uniform and who had voted against military needs in the past.

Now, for you folks who are going to write to tell me that I just want to see Republicans endorsed, allow me the chance to make my point a little easier for you to understand.

I'm against liberal anti-military anti-veteran Republicans just as much as I am against liberal Socialist Democrats who hate the military or anyone who has served.

America does not need so-called liberal Republicans like John McCain who himself has voted against what benefits veterans and our military.

Folks, the criteria for a veterans group's endorsement should be easy to follow: 1) the candidate should be pro-military; 2) the candidate should be pro-veterans; 3) the candidate should be a veteran.

If the candidate is a veteran and anti-military than the endorsement should go to the person who will be a benefit to the military and veterans isssues - it's not real hard to understand.

What veterans should not put up with is a situation such as what took place in Illinois in 2006.

In 2006, the Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed an Illinois liberal Republican congressional candidate with no military experience over a Democrat who was not only a veteran -- but is in fact a disabled veteran who lost her legs in combat in Iraq.

The endorsement of Republican state Sen. Peter Roskam over Tammy Duckworth angered a lot of people including former Sen. Bob Kerrey who is a veteran who lost a leg in Vietnam.

"They should be ashamed of themselves," Bob Kerrey said at the time. "They have some explaining to do to their members."

Tammy Duckworth is a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot with the Army who lost her legs when her aircraft was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

The VFW should be ashamed of themselves for doing what they have done politically for years now.

So yes, while many veteran organizations including the American Legion are sadly losing World War II and Korean War veterans simply because of their age, the VFW is finding out that there are consequences to the things they do.

In their case, their support for liberal candidates who are anti-military and anti-veterans are good enough reasons for most veterans to simply stay away.

When asked to join, more and more vets are telling the VFW, "No thanks, I'll go join a Vets organization that's for the vets!"

After all, veterans don't need to be members of a VFW which ignores its members to suck up to anti-military Washington politicians.

That's how I see it.

Tom Correa

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