‘Never again’

News | November 2, 2016

On the fourth Wednesday of every month, a meeting of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 776 is called to order. The 40-or-so people in attendance recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and observe a moment of silence for people who are listed as Prisoners of War/Missing in Action, as well as those who are now serving in harm’s way. Financial reports are reviewed, members who are struggling with health issues are named, and the chapter coin report is given.

The coins, specially made for Chapter 776, are given by members to people they encounter in their travels. A person wearing a Pearl Harbor survivor hat at the Mississippi Valley Fair. A veteran working through paperwork for the Veterans Administration. A firefighter.

It’s been 50 years since the first American ground forces landed in Vietnam, 40 years since the war ended. The effects from war, however, remain strong in the lives of countless people, including Vietnam vets. The motto of the Vietnam Veterans of America is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.” The people of Chapter 776, including St. Paul people, are living out that motto.

On Sunday, Nov. 6, 10:45-11:30 a.m., in the Luther Loft, Greg Paulling, president of the chapter, will present The faces of Agent Orange: Learn about the longlasting effects of Agent Orange and other toxic substances on veterans, their children, and grandchildren.

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Greg says he had it pretty easy during his time of serving as an air traffic controller in Vietnam. He was stationed at the Tan Son Nhut air base near Saigon, where he and his fellow service members ate at a mess hall, slept in an old French hotel for a time, watched movies in an air-conditioned movie theater.

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“That did not happen in the field,” said Greg, who now works at the Milestones Area Agency on Aging.

When Greg’s parents died, an honor guard attended the funeral as his dad was a World War II veteran. They folded a flag, presented it to the family, and fired a 21-gun salute. It was then, in 2000, that Greg said to himself, “I should get involved.” He joined Chapter 776. He’s been an officer for much of that time, most recently president.

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The activities of the chapter are broad and deep. They assist veterans with navigating the process of military benefits, support homeless veteran initiatives, help with the Honor Guard flights to give veterans the opportunity see the monuments in Washington, D.C., manage historical markers and displays, work on the establishment of the Veterans Memorial Park in Davenport, and hold fundraisers. Last year, they held a luncheon for the soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, who fought with American forces, and their families, now living in the Quad Cities. Upcoming efforts include hosting an event for the family members of those killed in Vietnam, and bringing Operation Engage America to the Quad Cities on Saturday, March 18. The focus will be on post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

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Lyle Peterson spent one year in Vietnam, in the field, “out in the middle of nowhere in the rice paddies.” He was drafted in 1969; he was 20 years old. His unit’s job was to protect a village of approximately 2,000 people in the Hiep Duc area – one of the most violent and deadly areas of battle that year. Troops slept under tarps, and hot meals were inconsistent. On nights that the children from the village visited the soldiers, they knew they were probably safe. When the children did not come to visit, alert levels were high, he said.

In particular, one boy almost always came to see Lyle, whose nickname was Pete. The boy called him Feet. Lyle still has a picture of the boy to this day.

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Also today, nearly 50 years later, tears come when Lyle thinks of those who served alongside him but did not survive.

In 1970, Lyle came home, got married, and went to work. He and his wife Carolyn often get together with a fellow soldier Lyle met in Vietnam. Lyle and that friend went together to their first meeting of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Now that he has retired, Lyle volunteers his time supporting veterans. He visits dying vets at the Clarissa Cook Hospice House, organizes a car show to raise money for Chapter 776, and plays a key role in the fundraising efforts for Veterans Memorial Park, along the Mississippi River in Davenport.

“It’s important for people to know that we support any veteran – serving in recent times or any other time,” Lyle said.

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Issues Vietnam veterans face
Agent Orange: The U.S. military sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides on trees and vegetation during the Vietnam War. Several decades later, concerns about the health
effects from these chemicals continue.

Homelessness: In the Quad Cities and nationwide, stand-downs are three-day, two-night events to provide veterans with medical exams, haircuts, clean clothes, food, and a safe night’s sleep. The Quad Cities Stand Down is usually held in the fall, with additional smaller events throughout the year.

Post-traumatic stress: This is anxiety that results from experiencing a dangerous, frightening, or uncontrollable event such as military combat, violent crime, or a life-threatening accident. Three other names for post-traumatic stress include soldier’s heart, shell shock, and battle fatigue.

Suicide: An analysis released earlier this year of veteran suicide rates in the United States showed that 65 percent of all veterans who died from suicide were 50 years of age or older.

– Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans’ Administration

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,

16“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM

AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:

I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,

AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”

He then says,

17“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS

I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”