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Veterans for Peace Chapter 39 members are planning to go to Nassau County NY to support Iraq Veterans Against the War who are going on trial on December 10 and 11. Members of the IVAW were arrested while exercising their First Amendment rights at the last presidential debate. They tried to get questions asked of the candidates which were specific and important to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The vets were herded like animals by mounted police and one vet suffered broken facial bones when a horse stepped on his face. We invite all other chapters to join us in this endeavor. Please coordinate with Chapter 39 by emailing Jim Minnery at jimminnery@aol.com. We anticipate renting a van and would be willing to pick up other VFP members along the I-80 corridor.

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Veterans Day Commemoration

VFP chapter 39 held a somber Veterans Day commemoration in Cleveland Hts. on Sunday November 9. The steel gray sky and the freezing rain were a fitting accompaniment to the moving readings of the writings of veterans and their loved ones throughout American history. Tess and Steve Perry did a wonderful job, once again, in making this special day happen.

Check out the Veterans Day Program for all of the readings…

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This video was created by Mike Ludwig, Sp5, U.S. Army, Vietnam and Steve  Perry, Captain, U.S. Army, Vietnam, in tribute to The Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier is a group of Iraq War veterans dedicated to exposing the injustices of this war…

 

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Summary:

 

Veterans for Peace, Northeast Ohio Chapter 39, spearheaded a community effort to seek withdrawal of the Virtual Army Experience from the 2008 Cleveland National Air Show. Earlier this summer, a successful effort had been undertaken in Milwaukee by the VFP chapter and other peace activists.  Similar efforts had not been successful in Duluth.

 

On Monday, July 28, 2008, a four-week plan was developed. Opening day for the Air Show was scheduled for August 30th.

 

Goal: To enlist the widest possible community involvement in our efforts. To that end, it was determined our biggest resource would be the internet. 

 

Message: Simulated Killing at the Air Show is not acceptable. After examining the Army’s response to efforts in both Milwaukee and Duluth, it was determined that we had to stay away from opposition to our current war, or war in general, and focus on the shooting-gallery, killing aspect of the “game.”

 

We highlighted seven principles we hoped the community would support:

  • The Air Show is promoted as wholesome family activity
  • Technology that simulates killing has no place in it
  • The VAE misleads people about soldiering, disrespects what real soldiers experience and trivializes the burden they carry
  • The Army may call it virtual, but it inflicts real pain on those who have been in war, have lost loved ones in war, and have lived with those who carry the scars of war
  • The VAE desensitizes young people to killing
  • Labor Day celebrates working men and women. The Air Show’s stated purpose is to assist careers in aviation
  • Tax dollars are used to pay for the VAE

 

Result:

 

There is no way to determine exactly how many phone calls and emails were made to elected officials and sponsors, but we would assume hundreds. Anecdotes as well as an Army counter-effort would support this. On Friday, August 29th, the day before the opening of the Air Show, in response to a request from the Mayor’s office, the Army raised the age for VAE participants from thirteen to seventeen. The VFP put its opposition efforts on hold.

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