Saturday, January 10, 2009

Are You A Veteran?
Ok you raised your right hand and swore the oath. You spent your tour where and when you were told.
You did your duty, many did more than just "duty". You were away from home for long periods under some
harsh and trying situations.

So now you decide to collect some of the "veterans benefits" that you THINK you are entilted to. Guess what?
You may find out that according to congress you do not qualify for these promised benefits. You must have
served during a "recognized war period"

What does that mean? It is very complicated, time and place limitations. Lets say that you served your tour
between July 27, 1947 thru June 26, 1950, not a war time era and you do not get most benefits. Or if you
served from February 1, 1955 thru February 27, 1961 another non-war time frame again you are out of luck.
Does this start to sound scary?

The good news goes on, if you spent your military service from May 8, 1975 thru August 1. 1990 you are once again
not as good a veteran as other veterans. So you are a veteran but not a VETERAN.

Is this fair and equal treatment? No of course not.

Where does this leave most Cold War Veterans? OUT IN THE COLD. It was a long and drawn out, dangerous
time from Sept. 1945 to the collapse of the Soviet Union Dec. 1991. Many times we were on the very edge, so
close to nuclear war, most people had no idea.

It was a secret so deep that even today many veterans are not allowed to discuss where they were or what
they did. They will carry their secrets to their graves. Yes they are proud and quiet, not one to toot their own
horn. Our nation should recognize them and honor the promises made to these servicemen and servicewomen

The Department of Defense says that there are 156 MIA from the Cold War, that does not include those MIA/POW
from Korea 8,100 and Vietnam approxmitaly 2,400

Some people may, as Gov. Palin did, say that the Cold War was won without a shot being fired. Well that is
far from true and many lives were lost during this period. If you think no shots were fired I suggest you talk to
some of the families of those who "Gave Their All". Think about Cuba, Beriut, Honduras, Granada, Berlin,
Dominican Republic, Haiti, and many other spots. Planes shot from the sky, ships attacked lives were
lost to Communist forces.

But Congress does not seem to think these places and lives matter. It was "undeclared" so your
service means nothing. The new GI Bill that was passed with much hoopla did nothing to correct this

What can be done to correct this wrong thinking and lack of action? Contact your elected officials mail, fax,
email, phone, or in person. Tell them a veteran in a veteran, and all should be treated with equal respect
and honor.

The number of homeless veterans outnumber all other segments of the homeless. They need our help
and we must continue to push for their rights. Let your Senators and Representatives know that now is
the time.

Yes, the country and our citizens are facing hard economic times, we hope the mess will be straightened
out soon. But think about this, many service personnel are at or below the poverty line. Members of the
military have to get food stamps? Veterans without a home, or a job, or health care.

I say shame on Congress do what is proper. Remember and honor our veterans.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Vice Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"