I have waited a few days before I made this post. I am still upset and unbelieving.
Memorial Day we had a little gathering and BBQ at our house. I was wearing my medals and my Cold War Veteran hat, in memory of those who gave their all in all of the wars and battles.
Among the guests were my brother, and a young woman of about 36. She was very impressed and was
asking a lot of questions about the Cold War. She remembered hearing about it in school, but was not
sure exactly what it was about.
As I was explaining the who and the why she became more and more interested. I mentioned that in general
the public does not understand and forgets the Cold War. Something we are all aware of, and are attempting
to correct the misunderstanding.
Out of the blue, my brother, who himself is a Cold War Veteran steps up and says "Well, they call it
the Cold War because no shots were fired." I was livid, he knew what I was doing with the American Cold
War Veterans; what we are attempting to do.
I looked at him as if he had just walked out of the mental hospital. I said, "No Shots Fired?" You tell that to
the 14 planes that were shot down by communist forces, with 165 people still missing." "What about the
USS Pueblo 1 killed and the rest of the crew held captive for 11 months." "The ship is still being held
in North Korea, still a commissioned ship in the US Navy." "The USS Liberty with 34 killed, USS Stark with
37 killed, the USS Scorpion with 99 souls lost." I can give you a lot more instances, should I go on?
He just got red in the face and walked away. Our friend sat there and her eyes got bigger and bigger,
her jaw dropped. She asked me if that was true, and of course I told her it is completely true, and that
is not all of the story.
A lot of these were top secret missions, and no one could talk about them. Even today there are things
I can not talk about. Like so many veterans there are secrets we will carry to our graves.
When we brought the food in the house, she put her arm around me and said "let's have a big hand
for Jerry" "He is a true veteran, and I am proud to know him." "You should all be proud of what he did
for our country."
I was rather embarrassed and just stood there with a big smile on my face. I told them I do not want
people to applaud me. I want equal rights for all Veterans, I want to see each and every veteran
get what they were promised.
No more veterans being dissed and demeaned by the public, and especially by other veterans. No more
of "my war was better than your war." We are all brothers and sisters in arms, we were all willing and
able to place our lives on the line.
But, as many of us know; you may have served but you may no be "veteran" To many people the Cold War
Veteran is not a true veteran. The VA does not recognize us, often a claim is filed and denied. Leading
to years of fighting with the VA to receive help.
How many veterans are homeless? How many suffer PTSD and other ailments? Why does this continue to
happen day after day? How many vets could not take it any longer and took their own lives?
America wake up, these brave men and women deserve better treatment, not just from the VA, but from
everyone. You have the right to protest, live your life as want, be free to chose. Why? Because of America's
Write your elected officials now! Tell them to correct this wrong. Bring about justice and equality to all
who served. The new GI Bill does not do that, there are still big gaps that veterans are falling through.
While you are it, demand the full accounting of all POW/MIA. Bring them home, let the families finally
have closure. They are not forgotten, they are important to us all.
And you might ask them to support a Cold War Victory Medal for all those who served during the
Cold War, from Sept. 1945 to Dec. 1991.
National Vice Chairman
American Cold War Veterans, Inc.