By Hollis Higgins

With the U.S. Government about to spend $65 million rewriting the history of the Viet Nam War that bitterly divided our citizens, you may be interested to know that Veterans For Peace has established the Hoa Binh Chapter #160 in Viet Nam. San Francisco Chapter donated $4000 for Hoa Binh, twice! And it has collected our local chapter’s $100 donation for support of programs. These include:

Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign [vn-agentorange.org] advocates for three-million Vietnamese families affected by application(1961-75) of 20 million gallons of herbicides (13 were Agent Orange/dioxin) as well as cleanup of environmental “hot spots.”

Unexploded Ordinance (UXO); ten percent of 15 million tons of munitions did not explode, and has killed or wounded more than 100,000 persons, one-third of whom are children. VFP, through Project RENEW, seeks to increase the $4 million/year the U.S. budgets for cleanup and educating about the dangers UXO presents.

Friendship Village, vietnamfriendship.org, near Hanoi, is an international center providing medical care, physical therapy, education and vocational training.

VFP Spring Tour of Vietnam: A two-week tour hosted by Hoa Binh Chapter re-introduces VFP members to the Vietnamese people and the war legacies that remain, visiting battle zones, cemeteries, hospitals major cities, and restoration sites. (More: vfp-vn.ning.com/).

President’s letter accompanying our donation:

To Our Cherished Comrades In VFP;

Spokane VFP #035 feels a great affinity for the leaders and members of #160. Even those of us who never came close to the RVN feel strongly that our lives were altered by our country’s military blundering there, and we want to be part of the reconciliation and peacemaking of our fellow veterans who live and work in Vietnam.

Personally, I have great admiration for Chuck Searcy, whom I met in Thomson, Georgia before we were both deployed to Vietnam. Through VFP, I have followed his devotion to building relationships to the Vietnamese people, and I’m proud that my brothers and sisters in Spokane feel the need to be even a small part of that work.

Please see that our token gift of appreciation and encouragement is directed to #160, and that the leaders of VFP know that we are indebted to them for creating an environment in which men and women may love and serve their country without the hatred and fear that continues to deteriorate most of our country’s resources. Any pride we ever had in our military participation can only be sustained by the ability of so many warriors to reject violence and the notion of enemies, and build, against all odds, a peaceful world.

We are proud of our organization and the members of #160.

Peace, Rusty Nelson, President, Spokane Veterans for Peace #035

You can be part of our work to abolish war. Monthly meetings are 2nd Wednesday, 6:45 PM at the Community Building. See spokaneveteransforpeace.org.