By: Steve Trubilla
This week I turn my attention to a scandal that impacts many locally, the Veterans Administration and the death of veterans that fought and lost their battle to obtain earned benefits.
It is an old story of broken promises, and one that continues to repeat itself.
I remember my mother telling me of her father, a veteran who had returned from WWI. The troops were promised a bonus for their service.
On 28 July 1932, the command was given, “fix bayonets.” An estimated fifteen thousand veterans were routed from the grounds of the White House with, horses, tear gas and machine guns.
My grandfather was one of them. Many in the “Bonus March,” were killed, including children. The makeshift camps they set up were torched.
If you do not know this story, read it. It is but one of countless stories that veterans from every war have to tell.
Many that served during the Spanish American War had to find their own transportation home, and were denied hospital care.
Vietnam and Agent Orange is another.
The true story has yet to be told of the thousands exposed to chemical and biological weapons during Desert Storm. Many, if not most, will likely die before what was done is revealed.
America stumbles into conflict and politicians make promises to troops and their families they have no intention of honoring.
They say and do whatever they must to get what they want. Situational ethics; the end justifies the means.
A promise given and not kept is a lie. It is now the unfolding story of health care for today’s veterans.
The youth of today would be advised to listen to those that came before them when they consider joining the military; they are the next generation to be betrayed.
Could it be the VA scandal is a layered, deliberate and calculated distraction to take the focus off other scandals?
Is it a power-play money grab to destroy the veteran’s military health care system and literally steal untold billions from our veterans?
There was a time when soldiers returned from war and they were left to care for themselves. There was no medical care or veterans’ pension.
In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed what would become known as the organization “Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States,” the VFW.
Here is the story of our local VFW, as told to me by retired US Army Colonel Richard Heroux.
The Colonel serves as the trustee for the Post.
The Wake Forest Memorial Post 8466, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, was formed in 1994 by 13 area veterans.
They conducted monthly meetings at a local restaurant on North Main Street until they were asked to share a building operated by the local American Legion Post in 2000.
The designated membership area for Post 8466 encompasses the area North of Raleigh, Wake Forest, Youngsville, Louisburg, Creedmoor, Bunn, Lake Royale, Henderson, surrounding communities, and extends to the Virginia border.
Membership for the Post has steadily grown from the 13 to approximately 90 members today.
Over the course of time, they have been involved in a great number of community activities.
The Post has received the designation of All State Post for 2013-2014. In addition they have adopted the 5th Battalion 113th Regiment of the North Carolina National Guard stationed in Louisburg on two of the unit’s recent deployments.
The monthly newsletter they publish has won the Department of North Carolina first place in editorial excellence.
Post 8466 meets monthly; at 7 p.m., the first Thursday of the month, at 225 East Holding Avenue, Wake Forest. A mystery meal is often prepared by a member of the Post and is served one hour prior to the monthly meeting.
Area Veterans of Foreign Wars are planning their ninth annual spaghetti dinner. The proceeds received from the dinner support community based Wounded Warriors and an assortment of other veteran programs.
This year’s celebrated Spaghetti and Meatball Dinner will be held this coming Saturday, June 14, at the Border Restaurant, 712 North Main Street, Wake Forest, NC 27587 from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door or from members of the Post.
Tickets are $ 5 each and a limit of $ 20 per family has been established.
The dinner consists of a salad, with choice of dressing; a drink, spaghetti and meatballs, and a desert. The meals can be consumed on the premises or taken out to be consumed at home.
June 14th is also the birthday of the United States Army. There will be songs honoring both the flag and the Army.
A membership to the VFW would be a perfect gift. The VFW is a snapshot of American patriots standing for America, and is leading in the fight to serve and protect veterans and their families.
They deserve and need our support. It is one way to put meaning to the statement, “thank you for your service.”
Everyone is invited to the Spaghetti dinner; it is not just for veterans. So please think about it, you have to eat anyway.
For more information about your local VFW contact Richard Heroux at (919) 494-2707 or via email: RHEROUX1@nc.rr.com