Doug Zachary, VFP Member (and staff person), uses every opportunity to reach out to veterans, including his own trips to the VA! Below is a reflection of one of his most recent interactions.
"Today, at the Veterans Administration Clinic in Austin, a 90 year old WWII veteran wept in my arms, then asked me "Do you know that you are a brilliant man?"
My newest Peace Veteran Brother had seen my Marine Corps hat and immediate launched into a statement of how crazy the North Korean leadership is and how they pose a tremendous risk to every person on the planet.
I responded (in Southern dialect) with the facts, that included a history of the Koreans (mostly from the North) who had formed the most effective resistance against the Japanese Army in the mountains of Manchuria, suffering 95% casualties, only to return to their homes to face a brutal and evil United States occupation (1945-1954). I described how those American Occupiers (influenced by the Dulles Brothers and comprised largely of CIA operatives) had sought to re-establish the very same Japanese Henchmen who had occupied Korea from 1905-1945 enforcing one of the most brutal forms of slavery in human history (which I described in devastating detail, watching as his face showed me that the was listening with his heart's ears). I then described how , from 1945-1954, the United States government had supervised the slaughter of entire Korean communities in what we now know as "South Korea (tens of thousands of people at a time) and had forced all Koreans with any interest in establishing a democratic form of government to flee to the North.
I went on to describe how the USA government had destroyed virtually every building in "North Korea" during the so-called Police Action" and had brought in a Fascist to "govern" the South in order to establish a regime that would be loyal to the wealthy classes from the United States. I asked him whether he would not be somewhat "crazy" if such a thing had happened to us here in the United States, in his native sharecropper Tennessee. He stared at me in astonishment and responded "Yes, I certainly would!"
He then told me about his brother who had served in the US Army in the South Pacific and had come home a troubled boy. "My Brother repeatedly told stories about being ordered to shoot Japanese soldiers whom they had taken captive and about how morally violated he had felt upon doing so." He told me that those memories had led his sorrowful Brother to an early death. That was when he began to weep and I moved closer and held him in my arms, whereupon his entire body relaxed and he wept his poor heart out. I encouraged him to cry and he did, without restraint. When it had passed he related that never in all these years had he known (or shown) how sad he was about his Brother.
After a few minutes passed he asked me about the words on my jacket, "Veterans For Peace" and I told him about us. He pulled out his cell phone and insisted that I take down his caretaker Daughter's phone number and call her to arrange a meeting so that he could meet the members of our Austin Chapter.
My God, I love this old fella. I do get myself into some awkward situations, virtually every time I go to the VA. Bring it on!"