Joe Lewis, VietNow Naitonal President

Joe Lewis

Hello. I’m Joe Lewis. I’m a Vietnam veteran, and serve as the national president of VietNow. We’re not the largest veterans organization in the country, but we think we’re the best. As a VietNow member for over thirty years, I’d be happy to hear from you with any ideas about how we can improve VietNow, and how to keep VietNow moving ahead into the future. Be sure to check our web site at vietnow.com.

National Board News

VietNow National Facebook page.So sorry for the long window of delay and for being gone for so long. A lot has been going on around here at the national office as well as at home. Time to get the show on the road and to get this “blog” thing working for all of us.

One of the things that I have been asked wherever we go is, “Is VietNow National on solid financial ground?” Our continued reply has, and always will be, a resounding Yes.

Something we recently added to improve communications to our members and the veteran community: In mid-September we started a Facebook page. To search for and to “Like” this page, search for “VietNow National Headquarters Corporation.” or just click here. You can like the page, and get updates as they are posted, see VietNow events, and photos of events that your VietNow national board attends.

In the future, this Facebook page may expand to include chapter events and event photos to share for the world to see. Now that sounds like a lot of fun and definitely a lot of work. But this will be done to show the rest of the world all the great work our “Big Little Veteran Organization” can do without the coveted Congressional Charter.

My future posts will be more frequent, and I will also say more in length in order to keep our blog followers up to speed on what VietNow and the VietNow National Headquarters is up to.

Thank you for your patience and I’ll be talking with you shortly.

Another View of Our 30th Annual National Convention

I hope everyone will have a happy and safe 4th of July.

Our national convention was just a few weeks ago, and Ken Dull, a friend of ours, attended and later wrote about it on his Facebook page. After reading through his comments, I asked if I could use what he wrote in my blog. Ken graciously said yes, it was OK for us to use it.

Thank you, Ken, for letting us share your feelings about our convention.

Here’s what Ken had to say:

I had the pleasure of attending the Viet Now convention recently as their guest. I am not a veteran but they welcomed me (literally) with open arms. You couldn’t meet a nicer group of people. It was a true privilege to listen to their stories, meet the veterans, their wives, the Gold Star Mothers, and the Gold Star wife / brother / children of those who didn’t make it home.

Prayers and invocation were offered by Reverend John Steer, who may have lost an arm in Viet Nam, but certainly didn’t lose his sense of humor. Nor did he lose his faith, his positive attitude, or his dedication to his country, and his brothers in arms. John was kind enough to sign a copy of his book “Wounded Soldier” for me. I spent most the weekend trying hard to swallow the big lump in my throat and keep my eyes from tearing…too much.

A Gulf War veteran recounted the story of when she…yes SHE, was wounded on the battle field and her extensive recovery process. A Gold Star wife shared the story of her courtship with her husband, his enlistment, how they were married for just two months before he was sent to Viet Nam. And, even though doctors had told them she could never get pregnant without an operation, their daughter was born two months after their soldier was killed in action.

The evening ended with Reverend John leading us all in a hearty rendition of “God Bless America”. Without any direction, every person in the room stood up, formed a huge circle, held hands, and sang along in loud voices (I still get goose bumps thinking about it). I have always been appreciative to all veterans and try to mention that when I meet them, even in passing. But I can’t express how very humbling it was for me to be in the room with these people who gave so much, endured so much, lost so much, or worried so much for the safety their loved ones.

Again I can only say, “Thank you veterans”. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Thank you also, to the veteran’s families who endured the loneliness and emotional stress of having a loved one in harm’s way. This American is grateful.

A Busy Time

Welcome to the President’s Blog and my short but nice posting.

It has been a short time since my last posting. For that I am regretting. Not because I haven’t posted anything but because I left my computer at home while I was in Washington DC for Father’s Day.

This year was the Son’s and Daughter’s In Touch 25th Father’s Day Anniversary. To be there was a humbling experience for Rose and myself and for Steve and Char Rucki.

This will be a short posting today but I will be posting many more times to let you know what we experienced on this journey to DC in the name of VietNow. There were so many first that Rose and I experienced that it will factually take me many days to keep you informed on what we were privileged to be a part of.

This coming weekend we are off to be with our Mom’s at the American Gold Star Mother’s National Convention in Kansas City Missouri. I will keep you up to date on where Rose and I are traveling to representing our wonderful organization, VietNow.

Do You Know How and When To Retire a Flag?

American flag on pickup truck

Where does being a “patriot” end? Where does desecration of the flag of the United States of America begin?

I’ve been flying the American flag at my home since the 1970s. I grew up learning to display and fold the flag – and also the proper way to “retire” an American flag – learning proper flag etiquette for flying and honoring this great flag.

For as long as I can remember, my family instilled respect for our flag into my everyday thinking. This is the flag of the greatest nation on earth. This thinking is second nature to me to this day.

I’ll tell you what bothers the hell out of me:

Those supposed “patriots” who have torn and tattered American flags flying on the back end of their trucks. In some cases, their flags are worn out almost beyond recognition. This is unacceptable.

When their flags begin to deteriorate, these “patriots” should do the proper thing, and “retire” the colors of our great nation. To do anything less is disrespectful to those who gave their lives in defense of our nation.

The way I look at these people and their disrespect for our flag is no different than when I see some idiot wanting to walk on our flag.

Our duty as veterans is to educate the civilian population regarding this simple aspect of respect for our fallen brothers and sisters. It’s our duty to teach respect for the flag to the children in our schools.

It’s our duty to educate everyone in proper flag etiquette. Are you willing to stand with me in this? If so, I’m willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with you.

Another way to help is to provide a location where people can take their tattered and faded flags for a proper “retirement.” If your community doesn’t have a collection point, you can create one.

You can check with a local grocery store or a hardware store or any other business that you think might be willing to let you set up a collection point. Many local businesses will be happy to participate, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because this might bring in potential customers for their business. You’ll never know until you ask.

If you’re hosting a flag “retirement” ceremony in your community and don’t know the proper procedure, in a few days I’ll be posting some information on how my own VietNow chapter (McHenry County) does this.

Stay tuned.

Memorial Day 2015

Memorial Day

Welcome everyone,

Memorial Day has come upon us in what seems to be very early this year. Does this stand to be that time runs faster than it did when we were younger? Such is life in the fast lane.

Remember when Memorial Day really did mean what its name really is, “Memorial Day”?

Memorial Day has become mostly a three-day weekend so that everyone can get out and spend money camping, shopping, and God only knows whatever else they all do.

The vast majority of the American people do not remember when it was that Memorial Day was honored on May 30th, no matter which day of the week it fell on. I will be attending a Memorial Day remembrance program in Alton Illinois, on Monday morning. Also on Sunday, I have been asked to speak at a church service in St. Louis, Missouri. I hope that the roof doesn’t fall upon me while I’m in there.

As you all know who are reading this, Memorial Day is the day that we as a nation pay respect and tribute to those who have given of their lives in defense of our great nation. This is also a day to pay homage to those who have passed during the last year who served our great nation in the armed forces.

In some Memorial Day programs that I have attended this last tribute has more focus than those who lost their lives while serving on active duty.

It is important that we do not forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. No matter how you spend your day, please pause for a few minutes and remember our fallen brothers and sisters who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Yours in brotherhood.

30th Annual VietNow National Convention

Hello everyone out there,

The 30th Annual VietNow National Convention is now in the history books. I want to thank the DuPage County Chapter of VietNow for their dedication and hard work in putting this together. If you are a member and did not make it this year, please make plans to attend next year because you will miss a lot of good information.

For our members-at-large, you can attend the convention and sit in and learn may new things about the veteran issues of all veterans from 1957 to today. At our 31st National Convention we will be looking into things for our spouses to do while we are in convention session Friday afternoon and Saturday.

I put a challenge to each of our organizations chapters. If your chapter can increase its membership by 15% or more by next March 1st, then your chapter’s delegate fee will be paid for by the National Headquarters.

My own goal is to increase our organizations membership by 10% and to work with and organize three new chapters. If you like what you see here on our web site, we look forward to having you as a member of our big little organization. If you are interested in forming a VietNow Chapter in your area, we look forward to working with you tto make that a reality.

If you are visiting the VietNow web site and want to join, we look forward to having you as a member.

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald

VA Secretary McDonald lied about being in Special Forces

Mr. Secretary, the veterans of this great nation had high hopes for you and what you have been doing to help our nation’s veterans. Trust is a factor that veterans need to have when dealing with the government officials.

Mr. McDonald, this nation’s veterans do not need to be told false tales of valor. The veterans and the public need factual statistics about those you have let go. We do not need inflated dismissal statements that were created to make you look good. You stated that heads were rolling for the way people under your control have ignored their duties and responsibilities. But you only made that statement to make yourself look good in the veterans’ and their families eyes.

Mr. Secretary there is a law in place that is called the “The Stolen Valor Act.” Your boisterous statement to that homeless veteran was out of line. What that veteran, and every other veteran, really needed was to be told the truth and to be told what a great tribute that he was to this nation’s heritage.

Mr. Secretary, you have one hell of a patch job that needs to be handled in an honest manner. Veterans need to hear that their sacrifices for this nation is a tribute to them and their families. While you may have some good credentials, that is not what our veterans need to hear.

They need to hear that you understand and appreciate them for who they are and what they did while serving our great nation.

God Bless the United States of America and Heaven protect our Veterans.

VA Secretary admits he lied about about being in Special Forces.