VMF Fourth Newsletter


By Roberta Enschede, DA The Netherlands


“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.







The Global VMF Caucus Steering Committee meets every second week. All Democrats Abroad members are welcome to attend. The next two VMF meetings will be Sunday, June 6 as per Rotation B and Sunday, June 20 as per Rotation A.

Here is the login info for the Zoom Meetings:

Meeting ID: 441 485 5431

June 5 - “100 Years After: Remembering the Tulsa Race Massacre

Zoom For Remembering Tulsa Race Massacre


PTSD Awareness Month

June 6 - Anniversary of the World War II Allied Invasion in Normandy, France, known as D-Day (1944) Learn more…

June 14 - Flag Day: A day to commemorate the adoption of the United States flag. Learn more...

June 14 - Army Birthday: On 14 June 1775, Congress "Resolved, That six companies of expert riflemen, be immediately raised in Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia… [and] as soon as completed, shall march and join the army near Boston, to be there employed as light infantry, under the command of the chief Officer in that army." Congress established the Continental Army, the force we know today as the U.S. Army. For more, go here.

June 19 - Juneteenth: The Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves in the United States effective January 1, 1863. Texas managed to not "get the message" until General Granger arrived in Galveston, TX on this day in 1865. It is now a Texas state holiday (since 1980) and celebrated across the USA and in other countries as a day to recognize the end of slavery. For more go here.

June 20 - Father's Day: International Father’s Day this year will be Sunday June 20th, as usual, the third Sunday of June. But many countries choose other dates, in fact too many to list them here. In Germany for instance it falls on May 13, Ascension Day. What is it all about? Simply honoring fatherhood. Mother’s Day falls under the “support for deployed military on special holidays” with its long ‘support list’ from airport greeters to pet adoption. Hopefully in the name of gender equality, it can be applied by extrapolation to “fathers”.

Link Organizations that support deployed military personnel on Father's Day

June 23 - Coast Guard Auxiliary Birthday: First created by Congress as the Coast Guard Reserve in June 1939, the Auxiliary is an all volunteer organization that has training and uniforms and operates as a support arm of the Coast Guard, especially in times of war and natural disaster. At other times they provide seamanship training and non-armed coastal supervision and assistance. Learn more here.

June 25 - Anniversary of the start of the Korean War: On June 25, 1950 the North Korean People's Army crossed the 38th Parallel with 135,000 men and the invasion of South Korea began. Learn more here.

June 27 - National PTSD Awareness Day: A day set aside to raise public awareness about issues related to PTSD.

Link - PTSD resources

Link - Insights in caring for families coping with PTSD


Where can veterans get the COVID-19 vaccine? The Dept. of Defense (DoD) is currently delivering vaccines to more than 340 sites around the globe in an effort to vaccinate all eligible DoD beneficiaries. Not all locations have reached the same phase. To find out when you can get the vaccine, contact your local U.S. military hospital or clinic here. If your local U.S. military hospital or clinic can’t schedule an appointment for you now, leave your name and contact information, if possible, and request to be contacted when the vaccine is available for you. Continue to follow your military hospital's or clinic's website, news media, or social media to stay informed about vaccine availability and updates. 

USPS Action Alert: Louis DeJoy, the former president's pick to run the USPS, is still in command and planning more cutbacks to diminish service. His 10-year plan, called "Delivering For America", will be eroding the USPS (established in the Constitution) and make inroads for privatizing services. No surprise, Mr. DeJoy owns or operates many USPS competitors and sub-contractors. The Postal Regulations Commission has until July 20th to give their consent to this plan. The public has until June 22 to weigh in. All those opposed can add their comments here.

Military Transition to Civilian Life: Veterans Transition Survival Guide Here 

We Support The Hiring of Veterans! U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D, NJ-3) is hiring a Wounded Warrior fellow, a two-year paid fellowship that is open to honorably discharged veterans released from active duty within the past 5 years who have a 20% or more service-connected disability. Click here to apply.

If you know of any veterans employment opportunities, let us know.

Veterans Wanted for Taxation Focus Group: The Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force is currently working on a qualitative research project. They are looking for veterans to participate in a focus group to discover insights into the veterans abroad tax and financial services experience. The goal of the project is to produce a report to give to U.S. Members of Congress to persuade them that urgent tax reform is required to help Americans living outside the United States. If interested, please fill in the focus group questionnaire here to participate in this ground-breaking research. If you have any questions about the research, feel free to email [email protected].


Requesting your ballot: Americans living overseas need to request their ballot every year by sending in Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). We recommend that you send in your FPCA as early as possible each year. You will automatically be registered to receive absentee ballots for federal elections in that calendar year as mandated by federal law, and ballots must be sent to you at least 45 days in advance of the election when you register with the FPCA. You can fill out a physical FPCA and mail it, or you can use Vote From Abroad! We recommend using Vote From Abroad because you can fill out and send your ballot request online and the website comes equipped with many useful resources for voters like information on when elections are taking place, what positions are up for election, and the rules for voting absentee in your state. It’s quick, reliable, and eco-friendly!

Deadlines: All states have different deadlines for registration, and ballot return methods can vary from state to state. Make sure to check our State Voting Guide to get all those details correct!

Get Out and Vote

Doing more: If you want to do more, that’s great, we welcome volunteers of all stripes, and we have opportunities for everyone! You can help right away by joining our Phone Banking Team. Our Phone Bankers have been crucial to getting out the vote during the COVID Era and continue to be important as we continue our voter protection advocacy. If you want to help with voter registration on military bases, we are working on a global military GOTV plan. We will have trainings, resources, kits, and recommendations; keep an eye out for those in the fall! Democrats Abroad will also be continuing its Global Voting Assistance Program, with certification trainings happening in the fall as well.

Remember, we want YOU to help us get out the vote!

US Flag


Excellent Resource for Election Dates and Information: Here

Florida’s 20th Congressional District Special Election

Important Details: Primary November 2, 2021 General January 11, 2022

Ohio’s 11th and 15th Congressional Districts Special Elections August 3

Important Details: Primaries are August 3, General Election is Nov. 2

Registration Deadline: July 6 (primary) & Oct. 4 (general)

Online registration: Yes

Same-day registration: No

Early voting starts: Oct. 5

Absentee Voting Deadline: Nov. 1 (postmarked) & Nov. 12 (received)

Voter ID: Non-photo ID

Polling place hours: 6:30 am to 7:30 pm

California Gubernatorial Recall Election

Important Details: A recall election will be scheduled by the Lieutenant Governor pending verification of the signatures on the recall petition.

New Jersey General Elections

Important Details: New Jersey will hold regularly scheduled elections for Governor, its General Assembly, and its State Senate on Nov 2.

Registration deadline: Oct 3 (ballot sent by mail) or Oct 12 (ballot sent by email/fax).

Ballot request deadline: Oct 3 (ballot sent by mail) or Oct 29 (ballot sent by email/fax).

Online registration: Yes

Same-day registration: No

Absentee voting deadline: Nov 2 by 8:00 pm

Virginia General Elections

Important Details: Virginia will hold regularly scheduled elections for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and its General Assembly on Nov 2.

Registration deadline: Oct 12 (overseas citizens) or Nov 2 (uniformed services and eligible family members).

Ballot request deadline: Oct 22

Online registration: Yes

Same-day registration: No

Absentee voting deadline: Nov 2 (postmarked) & Nov 5 (received)


Bills We Are Watching Closely

Equal Rights"Equal Rights Amendment"

The ERA Task Force needs your help NOW. Call your Senators and tell them equal rights must be anchored in our Constitution or else all could be undone by executive order. More info and scripts can be found here.

“For the People Act”  

Support the House-passed H.R.1, the “For the People Act” (S.1 in the Senate). This landmark legislation protects voters from state voting list purges, expands and standardizes early voting, provides for automatic voter registration, ends gerrymandering, removes dark and foreign money from politics, and provides many other protective measures that will transform our voting landscape. It will, in many cases, reverse the Republican attacks on voting that are happening now at the state level across the U.S. Learn more here and here.

Contact Your Senators

Call your senators TODAY and urge them to support the For the People Act to protect voting rights for all Americans! Here and here.

Sample Script:

       “Hi, I am {_______} and I am a constituent of Senator {___________}. I support the

“For the People Act” (H.R.1 and S.1) and hope the Senator will do everything

he/she can to pass the strongest possible bill to support voting rights.”

Expand Voting Access

Other VMF-Related Bills to Watch

H.R. 51: The “Washington, D.C. Admission Act” would admit the city of Washington, D.C. into the union as the 51st state and redefine the “Capitol” to a selection of streets and federal buildings where Government business is conducted. Status: Passed in the House on April 22 and received by the Senate.

H.R.163: The “Protect Patriot Spouses Act” includes new language to allow eligible veteran spouses who have been removed or left the United States to apply for an immigrant visa and return home. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Immigration and Citizenship on March 4.

H.R. 234: The “Korean American VALOR Act” amends existing laws to treat those members of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces who served as allies to the U.S. in the Vietnam War as full-fledged veterans of the United States Armed Forces for the purpose of granting them access to healthcare provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Status:  Passed the House Veterans' Affairs Committee on May 4 and is now awaiting a vote by the full House of Representatives.

H.R. 475: The “Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act” of 2021 is legislation that would greatly help our nation’s military families by allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ TRICARE until they are 26, mirroring the current provision in private civilian healthcare policies. By extending the policy for young adults in military families, we can relieve the financial burdens brought on by healthcare and ensure they receive quality insurance for as long as possible. Status: Pending in the House Armed Services Committee.

H.R. 958: The “Protecting Moms Who Served Act” would improve maternal health care for veterans and eliminate maternal mortality, morbidity, and disparities among veterans. Status: Passed in the House on May 12 and received by the Senate.

H.R. 1182: The “Veteran Deportation Prevention and Reform Act” would: 

1) require the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to maintain data on potentially removable noncitizen veterans. The Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary would be directed to establish an annual training program for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel on handling noncitizen veterans;

2) direct DHS to establish a Military Family Immigration Advisory Committee that would make recommendations on whether an individual should be granted a stay of removal, deferred action, or parole, or should be removed from the country;

3) provide a streamlined pathway to citizenship for spouses and children of members of the Armed Services through a joint DoD/DHS program; and

4) require DHS to establish a program and application procedure that allows eligible veterans to be admitted as noncitizens lawfully admitted for permanent residence. It also directs the Attorney General to reopen any removal proceeding concerning any non-citizen veterans and, where appropriate, rescind any orders of removal already issued.

Status: Referred to the House Committee on Armed Services (February 18) and the House Subcommittees on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (March 22) and on Immigration and Citizenship (April 28).

H.R. 1491: The “Fair Debt Collection for Servicemembers Act” would prohibit debt collectors (credit card companies, payday lenders, etc.) from telling service members that failure to cooperate with them will result in a reduction of rank, a revocation of security clearance, or military prosecution. Status: Passed the House on April 20 and referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on April 22.

S. 771H.R. 1948: The “VA Employee Fairness Act” would ensure that the VA’s Title 38 healthcare professionals—including nurses, physicians, dentists, and physician assistants who serve our veterans— have the same workplace rights currently granted to other VA clinicians and federal employees. Status: H.R. 1948 passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and now awaits a vote by the full House of Representatives; S. 771 has been  referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs on March 16.

H.R. 1522 / S. 780: The “Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act” would provide for the admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the Union. Status: The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on H.R. 1522 on April 14. S. 780 is pending in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

H.R. 2093: The “Veterans and Family Information Act” is a bipartisan bill that would direct the Department of Veterans' Affairs to make versions of all of its fact sheets available in the ten most commonly spoken languages in our nation, including Tagalog and Spanish, and also require the Department of Veterans' Affairs to establish a website that provides links to all fact sheets of the Veterans Benefits Administration, Veterans Health Administration, and National Cemetery Administration. Status: Passed House Veterans' Affairs Committee and now awaits a vote by the full House of Representatives.

H.R. 2358: The “Voter Empowerment Act” takes a comprehensive approach to closing the gaps in voting access and ensuring that every American can participate in the electoral process. Specifically, it would ensure ballots are counted from Americans serving in the military or overseas. Status: Referred to six House Committees on April 5.

H.R. 2441: The “Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans Mental Health Act of 2021” would direct a study to assess mental health resources available to veterans who live in rural areas and would expand a program designed to serve veterans living in rural areas. Status: Passed in the House on May 18 and received by the Senate.

H.R. 2523: The “Training in High-demand Roles to Improve Veteran Employment (THRIVE) Act” 1) strengthens the COVID-19 Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program created under the American Rescue Plan Act by directing the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) to facilitate a study determining high-demand occupations; 2) clarifies veterans’ eligibility for housing stipends under the retraining program; 3) directs VA to contact participating veterans about employment placement services; 4) directs VA to work with qualified nonprofit business associations to facilitate the employment of participating veterans; 5) improves the GI Bill Comparison Tool, 6) requires State Approving Agencies to conduct annual risk-based surveys of a university or university system for three years after it converts from a for-profit to a public institution; and 7) strengthens the prohibition on schools carrying out deceptive recruiting techniques to secure veteran enrollments. Status: Passed the House on April 20 and is currently pending in the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

​​H.R. 2838​​​​: The “Syrian Partner Protection Act” which would extend the Special Immigrant Visa program to Syrian Kurdish partners and their families who supported the counter-ISIS mission.​ Status: Pending in two House committees ​​(text not yet publicly available).

​​S. 1520​​​: The “Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act”​ is a bill to reform the disposition of charges and convening of courts-martial for certain offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and increase the prevention of sexual assaults and other crimes in the military. Status: Pending in the Senate Armed Services Committee (text not yet publicly available).

VA Benefits for Burn Pit and Other Toxic Exposures

The following 4 bills would streamline the process for obtaining VA benefits for burn pit and other toxic exposures. Under current law, a veteran who has an illness or disability must establish a direct service connection in order to be eligible for VA benefits. Veterans exposed to burn pits face a cumbersome “burden of proof” to provide enough evidence to establish a direct service connection between their health and burn pit exposure. These bills would remove this burden of proof. [The legislative texts for these bills are not yet publicly available.]

  • H.R. 2372, the Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act,
  • S. 437, the Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act,
  • S. 1188, the SFC Heath Robinson Burn Pit Transparency Act, and
  • S. 927, the Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Act.

Additional background article from NBC.

Congressional Burn Pits Caucus: Co-Chaired by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D, CA-36) and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R, OH-2).


The Tulsa Race Massacre

By Robert Scott, Co-Chair of VMF DA Germany

The Tulsa Race Massacre: On the evening of 31 May 1921 and morning of 1 June 1921, one of the most violent and destructive racial massacres in U.S. History occurred in Tulsa Oklahoma. The fact that the incident occurred was horrible enough, but covering it up for more than seventy years might have been even worse!

The massacre left approximately 300 people dead, and over 1400 homes and businesses destroyed. The section of Tulsa named “Black Wall Street” by Booker T. Washington, was essentially wiped from the face of the earth. Most U.S. citizens do not know this story because it has been omitted from the history books used in our public schools.

Shedding light on this dark period of U.S. History as we approach the 100th anniversary of this event, is the purpose of the webinar on 5 June 2021 at 10:00am EST. The DA Global VMF Caucus is particularly interested in this story because a number of Black World War I Veterans were instrumental in building the Greenwood section of the city and were among the dead. [Co-sponsored by DA Global VMF Caucus, DA Global Black Caucus, and VMF, DA Germany]


By Meredith Wheeler, DA France

One of the significant military commemorations cancelled by the pandemic in 2020 was the 75th anniversary of VE Day—May 8th, marking Victory in Europe— the day that Nazi Germany officially surrendered after six years of war. Sadly, the commemorations in 2021 were cut back too—but the Democrats Abroad Global VMF Caucus marked the occasion with a touching webinar on just how American veterans—living and dead—are honored by volunteers in Washington D.C. One of those volunteers, Helen Belletti, organizes a group of women who regularly clean and wash the Vietnam War Memorial.

Honor Flight

Helen also volunteers in the touching “Honor Flight” program that brings WW2 veterans to Washington D.C. to pay homage to the World War 2 memorial. Helen is part of the airport welcoming committee who warmly greet veterans as they disembark, many now in wheelchairs, as most are well into their 90s. The welcome comes as a surprise to most veterans, who are often deeply moved by this expression of honor and gratitude. For some, Helen told us, this is the trip that rounds out their lifetime. The “Honor Flight” program, offering an expenses paid visit to D.C., has been expanded in recent years to include both Korean War veterans, Vietnam veterans and certain other veterans with life-threatening illnesses.

Arlington Cemetery

Helen also participates in the Arlington Cemetery wreaths-laying every December. She discusses the history of Wreaths Across America, which began when one man in Maine had some extra Christmas wreaths on his hands—and suddenly remembered being a Boy Scout in Washington D.C. and seeing wreaths on Arlington headstones. Now it has blossomed into a nationwide activity and recently wreaths were even sent to France to honor American war dead.

If you missed the wonderful webinar, you can watch it on YouTube here. For more information about Honor Flights, go here

Bataan Death March Memoriam at Ramstein Air Base

By Diane Haven, DA Germany VMF Caucus

On VE-Day Lt. Col. (Retired) Doug Haven’s Ramstein High School JROTC students and volunteers participated in the Bataan Death March Memoriam at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. They raised $9,000 in donations for local charities and for maintaining the American children’s graves in the Kaiserslautern cemetery. The students studied this 1942 tragedy when Japanese military forced 76,000 American and Filipino POW's to march 66 miles in scorching heat to a Philippine prison, killing over 20,000 soldiers during the march. The leaders of this march were later tried for committing war crimes. The students and volunteers walked 14 miles around the base in memory of the prisoners of war.


The World War I Memorial First Colors Ceremony: Two months ago the World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. was dedicated. This documentary commemorates the 4.7 million American men and women who served in WW I including the 116,516 who gave their lives for their country and Democracy. Go here to learn about the new memorial and the heroic Doughboys, with in-depth commentary and historical footage. (80 minutes)

Top 10 Military Films of 2020 Here


We welcome your input. What's important to you? What are we missing? Any VMF experts you would like us to interview in a live webinar? Please send us articles, poems, research, and anything else VMF-related!

Email us at: [email protected]




Please send poetry submissions to: [email protected]


“The Verdict”

by Robin Rafaelidys

The trial had been conducted soberly. No theatrics.

No crowd pleasing moments.

Just the facts.

And the facts 

and the videos

and the witness testimony

and the unlikely adherence 

of police officers to the truth

left but one conclusion 

for those who saw it all on live TV. 

A conclusion that there was proof of murder.  Murder in broad daylight. 

Murder over nine minutes and 29 seconds taking place in front of witnesses

unable to interfere

because other 

police officers

with guns stood there

chaperoning the murderer. 

And yet

we all held our breath. 

Americans in The States and around the world held our breaths.

Because past is precedent

and the precedent is ugly. 

Cases never brought.

Cases dismissed.

Trials ending in hung juries.

Administrative adjudications.

Murderers being “reassigned”.

The jury received instructions.

They deliberated

and went to bed

in their sequestered rooms. 

Maybe they slept. 

On the second day – just past noon word came


And many of us ---- trembled. 

It came so fast!

Was this a good sign?

It must be a good sign, right?

How could 12 human beings

presented with such facts 

find the perpetrator innocent in just a day? How could they give up if they were a hung jury so quickly?

“It must be good,” we prayed.

“It must be right,” we crossed our fingers. 

Then the verdict is read:




And the sighs of relief and gratefulness of Americans 


around the world.  


Country VMF Caucuses are around the world. To start a VMF Caucus in your country or chapter, first join the Global VMF caucus by going here. Then register here.

To read up on news and events from the DA Germany VMF Caucus, contact the Germany VMF Caucus here.

To read up on news and events from the DA France VMF Caucus, go here.


Bob Gould (VMF Global Co-chair, UK, Military Family)
Anthony “Mike” Nitz (VMF Global Secretary, S.E. Asia, Veteran)

Editorial Staff:

Jessie Darrett (Germany, Veteran)
Kathy Davidson (France, Military Family)
Kee Evans (Guatemala, Military Family)
Tilly Gaillard (France)
Robin Rafaelidys (Greece, Military Family)
Terese Sarno (Germany)
Madeleine Savit (Spain, Military Family)


Contact us by email at [email protected]

To receive the agenda or minutes from our meetings, contact us by emailing [email protected]


JFK Quote