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Joint war memorial ramifications will divide community
The City of Auburn has drafted an ordinance 6840 in response to Auburn VFW Post 1741's non-support for the joint memorial project to honor allied veterans of the Vietnam War.
The new ordinance basically gives City officials total authority to place any monument on City property that it deems appropriate. This ordinance came about due to numerous comments, letters and emails to public officials opposing the use of public property to honor veterans from other countries.
VFW Post 1741 remains vocal in its objection because this issue will divide the community and has already generated strong emotions on both sides. VFW Post 1741 has taken two votes on this issue, and both by strong majority did not support the joint Vietnam allied memorial on public property.
Here is one reason why. America walked away from the Vietnam War in 1973 due to loss of public support for the war. Unfortunately, too many citizens turned their backs on returning Vietnam veterans, forcing them to find their own methods for coping with the wounds of war. Benefit programs to help them were stalled for years, and those scars are still visible in many Vietnam veterans today. Vietnam veterans themselves are divided on this issue.
VFW Post 1741 respectfully asks the City to consider alternatives that unite the city and help its residents. Two such projects are the Joint Veterans/Human Resource Center and the Flag Pavilion proposed by City Councilmember Rich Wagner. The Flag Pavilion project can benefit all citizens of Auburn and offer fairness by approving projects equal in size and scope for private groups with a cause.
VFW Post 1741 strongly objects to special interest politics that can divide the Auburn community. Approving the joint memorial may help a few, but will offend many. Please contact your City officials and encourage them to spend their time and energy on issues that unite the city, not on projects that resemble special interest politics.
– Frank Bannister, commander, VFW Post 1741