BY GUMERSINDO GOMEZ, CHAIR
I am indebted to the delegates at the 2019 VVA National Convention who supported MA-15, the Korean American Vietnam War Veterans resolution. It showed your support for the Minority Affairs Committee. It gives me great joy to have that feeling. Once the resolution passed, Korean Vietnam veterans got busy visiting their legislators to seek support for the Korean American VALOR Act, H.R. 234. They also contacted former Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.) and others to support the proposed law.
On May 4, 2021, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs approved 25 bills, including H.R. 234. When this bill reaches the House floor, I will keep you informed so we can contact our representatives and ask them to vote for it.
In the last committee report I mentioned MA-10, Self-Determination for Puerto Rico. It should have read MA-10, Equal Treatment of 3.2 Million American Citizens of Puerto Rico.
I am looking forward to the Convention in November now that we will be able to interact with each other. I have missed the days of being around a bunch of grumpy old men and women in a room discussing Vietnam veterans’ issues.
I believe the 2021 Convention will be the most significant one we’ve ever had. We have tough decisions to make about our organization and its future. We are still here and in control; my hope is that the decisions that we make will help future generations of veterans.
What we have created should not go to waste with the last-man-standing component of the VVA Constitution. Instead, we must recommit to our founding principle, “Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another.” Thousands of us have benefited from the VVA Benefits Department, which I consider the backbone of our organization. It is up to us to ensure that we continue to help those who cannot help themselves.
I hope that we make the right decision at the Convention and that we can continue going forward with our duties as members of this great organization that has done so much good for Vietnam War veterans and their families, and for the veterans who have come after us.
We have fulfilled our mission; let’s make sure that it keeps going with new generations of veterans, and that our legacy is never forgotten. Hope to see you all at the Convention.