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 2. Building a GI and Veterans Movement >>

Supporters Rally to Save Our Veterans Land

By Steve Crandall

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The rally on the 16th of August to save our veterans' property was a great success. We had individuals representing the Disabled American Veterans, Gold Star Families Speak Out, The Evan Ashcraft Foundation, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and the Broken Rope Foundation. Several local civilians joined in to support saving our veterans land. These groups and individuals all have different political views about the wars past and present, yet they came together to save our veterans land and support our veterans rights.

Veterans came from as far away as San Diego and Ventura to participate in the rally. They spanned several generations of war from World War II, to the Korean War, to the Vietnam War, as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Some were in wheel chairs and others were clearly still suffering from their wounds of war but none of these obstacles kept them from supporting our common cause.

They shared information about their military backgrounds and stories about their war experiences. Some of the stories were about the good times and others about the more difficult times. They also shared stories about their lives today, their hobbies and their involvement in fighting for veterans rights. Civilians spoke about their connections with veterans and desires to help save the land for veterans so they can have a place to heal from the effects of war.

The support didn't only come from the sign holders but also from the drivers and passengers of cars rounding the bend at Wilshire and San Vicente. The nearly constant sound of car horns echoed off the surrounding buildings as passengers and drivers gave us a thumbs up sign of support. Even though we had been on our feet for several hours it was that unexpected support that gave us the energy to hold those signs even higher and look forward to returning again.

This rally was a small example of veterans and civilians with different political viewpoints about wars past and present uniting around a common cause to Save Our Veterans Land. But as successful as the rally was, we still need the presence of the many veterans groups that weren't represented. When we all stand together, the VA and our elected officials will have to rescind the public park land deal with the Veterans Park Conservancy and keep their promise to preserve this land as a place for veterans to heal from war.

Steve Crandall is the president of the California Central Coast Chapter of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

 2. Building a GI and Veterans Movement >>