Global Veterans & Military Families Caucus



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    The Veterans and Military Families Caucus is made up of DA members from around the world who are willing and able to advocate on issues important to the veterans and their families within the United States of America and those living abroad. The Caucus welcomes any DA member. 

    VMF2021-1.jpgDemocrats Abroad (DA) honors the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces; their service deserves our deepest gratitude and respect. Government policies must reflect the interests of those who are serving and those who have served, including their families. This caucus will work within DA to achieve this.

    We share and adhere to the principles and demands expressed in the platforms of both the Democratic Party and DA regarding veterans, active military and their families abroad.

    We recognize and appreciate that all of the various groups, ethnicities, persuasions, identities, and beliefs that make up American society are present in our military; we share issues and concerns in common with the other DA caucuses. Discrimination has no place in the military and its ancillary organizations, nor the Veterans and Military Families Caucus.

    The members of our armed forces, their families, and our caucus reflect the diversity of race, gender, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, color, ethnicity, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, and ability that make up American society. Discrimination, intolerance, hate speech, and bigotry have no place in the United States Armed Forces, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, or our caucus.

    GOALS

    Reach out to veterans, active duty and reserve military members as well as their dependents living abroad to encourage them to register to vote and to engage them in advocacy for our policy positions;

    Provide a forum for DA members to understand better the issues and concerns affecting our military forces, veterans, and their families outside of the United States;

    ACTIONS

    VMF2021-2.jpg Provide support for visits to wounded/recovering warriors and caregivers at overseas U.S. military hospitals in conjunction with like-minded external organizations;

    Exchange information and concerns with other DA caucuses and interest groups regarding relevant issues and shared concerns to ensure that as they impact veterans and military families, they are communicated among the broader DA community for a successful joint response;

    Organize participation in Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies at U.S. landmarks abroad such as military cemeteries, battle sites, and places of historical U.S. military significance;

    Facilitate get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts for veterans and military families; also develop sensible and sensitive strategies for encouraging active service members at U.S. overseas military bases to vote;

    Establish and maintain contact with other American political organizations to find areas of joint concern regarding U.S. veterans and military dependents;

    Always strive to improve the DA Platform and organize advocacy efforts towards U.S. law and policymakers for issues pertinent to veterans, active military, and their families living abroad;

    RESPONSIBILITIES

    ORGANIZATION

    Please feel free to contact the Veterans and Military Families Caucus: [email protected] 

     

    DA Global Veterans & Military Families Caucus Leadership:

    Erin Watson
    | Chairperson, DAROK, Co-Chair Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus
    Bob Gould
    | Co-Chair, Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus, GOTV Military Coordinator; Chair, DA UK Political Book Club
    Candice Kerestan
    | DA International Chair; Immediate Past DA Germany Chair
    Kee Evans
    | Chair, DA Guatemala
    See all Leaders

    News

    VMF Fourth Newsletter

    MARGRATEN ON MEMORIAL DAY AND EVERY DAY

    By Roberta Enschede, DA The Netherlands

    Margraten

    “If ever proof were needed that we fought for a cause and not for conquest,

    it could be found in these cemeteries. Here was our only conquest: 

    all we asked ....was enough.....soil in which to bury our gallant dead.”

    Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark

    Sadly, this year like last, there can be no public ceremony at Margraten on Memorial Day.   The thousands of people - grandparents, parents, children, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, veterans who come year after year will not be there to put a flower or a bouquet on the grave of “their soldier” or a handful of pebbles on a white marble Star of David. 

    Yet, even though they can’t be there, their memories and thoughts, like mine, will be in the rolling land of Limburg where we “buried our gallant dead.” Perhaps they’ll tell friends a story about “their soldier,” the young hero the family adopted. Perhaps they’ll say a prayer or look at a book of old photos.  Maybe they’ll think about how they felt when they had the privilege to lay a wreath during the Memorial Day Ceremony.  Maybe they’ll remember when they were Scouts and walked around and placed a Dutch and American flag in front of each grave.

    The more you go to Margraten, the more meaningful it becomes. When I’m there, I always stop at the grave of Robert van Klinken. He was a young soldier whose parents were Dutch immigrants and who died in the land of their birth. I visit the grave of Willie James, an African-American soldier who posthumously was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President  Barack Obama. I walk over to the grave of Major General Maurice Rose, the highest ranking soldier buried in Margraten and the most decorated. 

    Before I leave, I find some of the graves of the Timberwolves -  the 104th Infantry.  I was fortunate enough to get to know some of their comrades who made it out of the war and made a point of returning to Margraten for as long as they were able to travel. My Timberwolf  friends are all gone now - those funny, feisty, smart, wise, courageous men. I could always feel how they cared for each other. Sometimes, they acted like teenagers who won a ballgame, slapping and laughing. Sometimes, I could feel their sadness and I knew they were asking themselves: why was I lucky? Why is he here and not me?  One fellow, a jeweler from LA, would say, “Margraten, that’s my church.” Another tall lanky gentleman, an architect from Kansas, would amble over to the graves of his comrades and come back with tears filling his eyes. He’d tell his soldier buddies, “I said hello.”

    I would stand to the side and just watch and listen. They were in a world only another soldier could understand.

    The ancient words of Pericles are carved in the white marble of Margraten. They are especially fitting this year when we are only able to be there in our thoughts and memories.

    "EACH FOR HIS OWN MEMORIAL EARNED

    PRAISE THAT WILL NEVER DIE AND WITH

    IT THE GRANDEST OF ALL SEPULCHRES

    NOT THAT IN WHICH HIS MORTAL BONES

    ARE LAID BUT A HOME IN THE MINDS OF MEN."

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    May Newsletter

    Masthead

    May 2021

    Newsletter

    Vol. 1, No. 3

    Greetings from the Co-Editor

    Nearly 15% of the attempted insurrectionists on January 6 were veterans. Research is consistently indicating that the primary driver for those insurrectionists was fear of the “great replacement,” the belief that the rights of minorities will “overtake” that of Whites. One study by Chicago’s Project on Security and Threats found that for every 1% decline in a county’s White non-Hispanic population over a 5-year period, the county was 6 times more likely to send at least one insurrectionist.

    For example, the Proud Boys, a far-right neo-fascist organization, actively reaches out to and recruits military-trained and police-trained individuals. Evidence indicates they were the predominant leaders of the insurrection, carefully coordinating with other “far-right extremist groups” prior to January 6. Thus far four Proud Boys have flipped and are assisting the FBI, by providing information, for instance, on how they delivered security for Trump advisor Roger Stone in the days around the insurrection.
     
    In surveys the Proud Boys deny being White supremacists and stress that there is no systemic racism in America, and that Black Lives Matter (BLM) supporters and Antifa are the violent forces in the country.
     
    So, where do we go from here? I see four important conclusions:
    • The ingredients currently exist for future political violence.
    • We need a thorough bipartisan investigation into the insurrection, including how it was possible that there was a 58 to 1 ratio of rioters to Capitol Police officers, and why 78 requests for backup were denied or ignored.
    • FBI, National Guard, mayors, law enforcement, the CIA, etc. need better intelligence, communications, and sounder risk analysis of right-wing extremist groups in America.
    • Research is needed to assess the extent radicalization occurs before, during, or after military service and police training.
    I suspect this letter may generate a dialog, and as this newsletter is for you, please send your comments, questions, and thoughts about the letter from the co-editor and VMF-related issues to our Suggestion Box. Send us an article and tell us what you’d like us to write about in future issues, and tell us what you want us to address in our semi-monthly Caucus meetings.  

    Democratically yours, Bob Gould

    Sources:

    Washington Post 4/6/21 What an analysis of Capitol insurrections tells us Here

    Chicago’s Project on Security and Threats (CPOST) Here

    Washington Post 4/15/21 Police at the Capitol Severely Disadvantaged Here

    The Nation 4/7/21 The US Military Is an Extremism Incubator Here

     

     

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