On May 18, there will be a gathering in Washington, DC, of veterans, friends and family members. Everyone is encouraged and welcome to come. We will be having a Rally in Support of the two bills that are languishing in both the House and Senate Veterans Committees. Hopefully, this will bring some attention to the subject and help get those Bills brought to the Floors of both House and Senate for a vote.
Our exact meeting place is yet to be announced, but we will perhaps be visiting the Congress as well as showing up in other locations. Anything you can do to let your local press know about this, the better.
We are simultaneously asking veterans, friends and family to Rally in Support at their own locations, because the trip to DC is long and expensive. So if one or more individuals supporting our legislation (HR-969 and S-681) can make a sign indicating their Support for the Blue Water Navy, they should go walk around outside their nearest VA facility and join in this National Effort. It is a peaceful, compliant, and non-trespassing walk that brings attention to the problems of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and to the legislation that can fix that problem. Every event should be covered by your local newspaper, radio and TV stations.
More information will be posted soon.
Posted 4/14 - Thursday evening
I am getting permission to walk all the way to the VA headquarters from the Cannon Building area, if anyone wants to and is able to do that. I have estimated the crowd to be 30 to 40 people, but I hope it is much more than that.
I will be having 10 or 12 posters on sticks made up for those who are coming in and have no way to bring their own signs. Not everyone will have or need a sign. If you have a car, you probably have room for a sign, but I don't think it is a 'requirement.' Let's just call it a personal option.
When I am in DC, I stash the car and rely solely on the Metro to move around, only an occasional taxi. But I am fully ambulatory, so I do some walking, too.
When in DC, I believe that if you are close to a Metro stop, you don't have to worry about your distance from the City. The underground train is excellent. However, some stations have very long stairs, they have escalators, but I have been there when a maintenance crew has one stopped to work on it. That makes for a long walk.
I am finding that a "typical" room rate will be $220-$230 per night. There are a few places that are motels and are cheaper, but you will have to scour the Internet for them. I didn't have enough definite rooms to guarantee we would fill a "block of rooms" so I wasn't able to do that. Booking through places like expedia or other travel brokers usually are cheapest, but make certain it is as close as you can daily walk to and from a Metro stop. We will be assembling very neat a Metro stop.
I will get the specifics of where we are meeting out asap. We will start at 10:00AM and plan to go until 2:00PM.
I need someone to step up and help list out who is coming and when and from where. That can lead to rooms sharing and ride sharing. It will require everyone planning to show up to check in and let us know your plans. Details on that as soon as I get a volunteer.
I would also like to hear from anyone who is going to make a sign and godown to their local VA facility to stand around. Let's get that happening in 10 or more cities. All it takes is ONE person to make a Rally! So go for it, and let us know. We'll help find people in your local area. Email me your details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted 4/24 - Sunday afternoon
We will all meet up at the street level near the exit for the Metro stop at ‘Capital South’ at 10AM. As a key part of this Rally, we are requesting that everyone coming to Washington, DC on May 18 make an appointment with their Senator or Representative during the morning of May 18 before lunch. Second choice would be for an afternoon appointment. You can call ahead to set an appointment with their office. This is a very important item to get done while you are visiting, and is a focal point for our “Rally In Support.”.
You can go to Congress.gov and put “S681” or “HR969” in the search box to see if your Representatives and Senators are listed as Co-Sponsors of those Bills. If they are, stop in to thank them for their participation and ask that they help get the other Senators or Representatives to sign on. If they are not Co-Sponsors, tell them that you want them to be. If you can’t get in to see them in person, ask to meet with the Veteran’s Liaison or some other staffer that will relay your message. Help them understand the necessity to get that legislation passed immediately. You can also invite them to attend or participate in the Press Conference that Representative Gibson is having at 1:00PM on May 18th. Ask them to coordinate with Rep. Gibson's office. We will all be attending the Press Conference, expected to be in or near the Cannon Building.
If you can’t get to Washington, you can have your own Rally in your local area. It only takes one veteran to create a “Rally.” Make yourself a sign with some of the wording given below and go to the public sidewalk or street in front of the nearest VA facility. If you can get some news coverage from your local newspaper or TV station, that would be great. You can explain our background to them. Hopefully you will be joined by other veterans, family members and friends. This is NOT a protest or demonstration against anything. It is a “Rally In Support” of the Blue Water Navy Agent Orange Act that we hope will be released from the Veteran Affairs Committees of the House and Senate so it can be brought to the Floor to be voted on. Since this involves the Department of Veterans Affairs, a VA facility is a logical place to show your support. Just keep it peaceful and legal!
Sample Signs to Carry
Posted Saturday, 4/30
On May 18th, the members of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, along with other veterans, friends and family, will have a rally in Washington, DC, where they hope to catch the attention of both the Congress and and the People. It will be a “Rally In Support” of the Blue Water Navy legislation. What we are asking is that all attendees make an appointment with their Senators or Representatives office in the morning just to swing by and thank them for supporting the Blue Water Navy if they have signed on to co-sponsor our Bill; or to ask them to sign on if they have not yet done so; and also, to invite them to a news conference about this legislation to be hosted by Rep. Chris Gibson (NY) at 1:00PM on the 18th. This “Visit to your Representative in Washington” is an important part of the “Rally.”