20 Years of The Veteran
By Jeff Machota
For decades, Barry Romo made sure The Veteran (and before that Winter Soldier and First Casualty) was published and distributed to members and supporters of VVAW across the country. First he did this as part of a collective, then later with only a few to help out. In 1995, Barry couldn't finish the current issue.
In the summer of 1996, after viewing the incomplete layout at Barry's apartment, I told him I was pretty sure I could give it a try. I brought the production into the computer era. Joe Miller, Lisa Boucher, and of course Barry, helped out with the content. I also brought the VVAW mailing list into the computer era.
Hard to imagine that was 20 years ago. I don't think in the summer of 1996 I had any idea I would still be doing this all these years later.
Many things have changed since then, most significantly the new format we had to adopt last issue to keep up with the changes in the print industry.
The wars of GW Bush increased our circulation to close to Vietnam War level numbers. Over 17,000 issues of the paper are distributed across the country twice a year. The days of stamping and labeling them around my dining room table are long past.
We have also managed to put every issue of The First Casualty, Winter Soldier, and The Veteran online at our website. 46 years of articles by and for VVAW members and supporters.
Over the 20 years I have been working on this, countless people have contributed articles, poems, photos, and cartoons since then. It amazes me that we can still manage to get great articles and we continue to re-discover great photos from the past.
Thanks for the opportunity to play a role in keeping VVAW alive.
Jeff Machota helps produce The Veteran from his home office in Urbana, Illinois.