As a Vietnam veteran I must respond to the article by Steve Crandall (“War, politics and the veteran,” Power to Speak, 11/21/07). As the president of the local Vietnam Veterans Against the War, he feels he and his organization were slighted because they were not invited to participate in this years Veterans Day ceremonies. He states that the motto of his organization is \\\”Honor the warrior, Not the war\\\” and seems to think that the Veterans Day events were doing something different. His comment could not be further from the truth. Every \\\”real\\\” combat veteran I\\\’ve ever met including myself, hates wars. No sane person could do otherwise, but Mr. Crandall must feel that mourning the loss of those brave men and women amid flags, anthems, ribbons and badges is a pro-war activity. It certainly is not. We gather each year to honor the sacrifices of those who died for our country in any and all wars, popular or unpopular. While we mourn, we control our emotions, set aside the pro or antiwar feelings and merely cry together. If Mr. Crandall and his crew are willing to do that, they are welcome to join us.

Today we have some who choose to demonstrate at the private funerals of our warriors. They actually cheer, in the presence of the grieving families, the deaths of the soldiers. I can\\\’t think of anything more revolting. Given the history of Mr. Crandall\\\’s organization and their past public demonstrations, I can see why the local Veterans Day ceremony officials might have been reluctant to invite his organization to participate. I know that I personally would not want his long-haired, bearded, camouflage-clad, bearded and flowery head-banded representatives stomping around my grave. Until they can clean up their act and themselves and learn to behave appropriately, I won\\\’t want them around.

Now, let\\\’s talk about the Veterans administration. If Mr. Crandall and his crew would get clean and sober and just visit any VA clinic and not be impolite and demanding to the underpaid and hard working VA representatives (many of them are volunteers too), they would find, as I have for the past 27 years, plenty of help, care and proper compensation for their service-connected injuries. Sure, there are glitches and exceptions where a single veteran will have a bad experience, but the VA is a big, complicated and overworked organization and such things happen. Even in excellent civilian hospitals, a wrong limb is amputated from time to time. Like our civilian counterparts, veterans have to learn, accept and follow the rules of the organization and all will go well most of the time.

Korean, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans should all take notice of our World War II brothers who served \\\”The duration,\\\” which was in many cases three or four years of continuous combat, while we complain over our measly one-year or 15-month tours. Our World War Ii brothers sit in the VA waiting rooms and calmly and quietly wait their turn, thankful that they have a place to go for treatment at all.

J. Richard Phaneuf,
Private to Lt. Col., U.S. Marine Corps
1953 to 1980
Oxnard, California

Thank you Mollie

Thank you, and please extend my thanks and appreciation to Mollie Vandor for the article “Comic Relief” (Art & Culture, 11/21/07) you published in the #Reporter#. We have had participants show up and enjoy the laughter club because of your coverage. It\\\’s a win-win situation when you help people find some joy and free laughter, and they are grateful to you and your publication for bringing the event to their attention. Continue the good work. Happy holidays.

Live life laughing!

Roni Tagliaferri,Camarillo