Here, in case you missed it, is the latest from the local Yardley VFW concerning PVUSA participation in the Honor Color Guard on Memorial Day – along with a few comments from yours truly.
To: charles arnold <charlesparnold@…>
Cc: davidson057@…; Peter Hook <PeterHook@…>; Bill Tropia <seehaas@…>
I am copying VFW6393 Senior Vice Commander Davidson, Legion 317 Commander Tropia, and VFW6393 Chaplain Hook on this note for clarity and communication efficiencies.
I am very glad to hear your support of and ability to participate in the WCNC Guardians Honor Rifle Squad. As we have all discussed repeatedly, that duty is critical to proper honors of our departed comrades. Thank you.
Regarding your participation in the Yardley-Lower Makefield, VFW6393 / Legion 317 Commemoration of Veterans Day 2009, please be perfectly clear and understand that my invitation to you to deliver service upon our Honor Rifle Squad was based entirely upon your trusted and earned status Veteran and a prior ceremony participant within our VFW and Legion and local area community and not upon any denominational affiliation. VFW6393 needed bodies to staff a properly manned Honor Guard, you are a trained, trusted, reliable, responsible handler of weaponry and you and I happened to be at our Post when I was looking to fill out the squad. The extent to which you felt you were representing Pagan Veterans USA during those ceremonies and your participation in that Guard, is entirely up to your interpretation
(Here I feel a need to interrupt. The extent to which I was representing PVUSA was obvious; I was in PVUSA Honor Guard Blacks, with a PVUSA cap on my head – not a VFW hat. And I did not feel that I was representing PVUSA but was doing so obviously, so obviously that several people asked about the uniform and the organization.)
… but that connection was and is circumstantial and not intentional nor reserved for future participation.
VFW Post 6393 and its mission within the VFW at large is and will continue to be devoted to VFW members and Veterans of all persuasions,
(except Pagan veterans who happen to feel uncomfortable with VFW meetings which include THREE christian prayers -more at special events.)
… denominations, races and creeds and will not focus exclusively upon nor discriminate among them due to any circumstance outside of their Veteran service and status.
Regarding the objections to Pagan Veterans USA participation upon the Memorial Day Color Honor Guard, the statements delivered via separate letters to you by Legion Commander Tropia, and me, still and will, apply. The institution of Memorial Day is not one to neither identify nor celebrate any service member of any individual affiliation whatsoever, nor will its Parade Flag Color Guard demonstrate recognition or celebration of any isolated group, regardless of denomination, races, creed or persuasion.
Regarding your perception of contradictions; while I don’t lay any claim to be any great theologian nor Constitutional scholar, I do know this, the National value of and foundation upon a separation between Church and State was not set forth to outright eliminate Church from our Nation, but rather to ensure that the State would not be permitted to establish and mandate any single particular Church or like devotion for all our citizens.
(See the previous letters to see the contradictions in this comment.)
… This fundamental protection is among the many that all we Veterans have fought, and in some cases died, to protect and ensure in our country and should not be permitted to be a source of division among us.
Congratulations upon your interview and imminent article with the Courier-Times to publicize and work to grow Pagan Veterans USA. I spoke with Jim McGuiness about your interview as well and reiterated VFW6393s open welcome of Veterans of all Eras, an invitation to VFW membership of those qualified Veterans regardless of denominations, races and creeds. I emphasized your past valued service to our Post and our mission and your participation during ceremonies throughout past years.
Most Very Respectfully, Yours in Continued Comradeship,
Yardley-Lower Makefield , PA 19067