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Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako The Talk of My Town of Auburn, WA: A Joint War Memorial for the Americans and Vietnamese
The Talk of My Town of Auburn, WA: A Joint War Memorial for the Americans and Vietnamese PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Thursday, 22 August 2013 19:48


 

 
By Jesse Jose
A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
 
 
A in't no way, Hosay.
 
There's an ongoing seething debate between us, members of our town's Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) 1741 and supporters of a Joint War Memorial that will honor the American veterans of the Vietnam War and the Vietnamese veterans of the South Vietnam Army.
 
And according to the mayor of our town, Mayor Pete Lewis, this idea was "brought to Auburn" by the State VA Director and by a group, consisting mostly of Vietnamese and a handful of Vietnam veterans.  Our mayor said that this project would be funded completely by private donations, not by taxpayers.
 
So, I wrote our mayor and said in parts:
 
"Mayor ... I heard of this idea of a Joint Memorial through my membership with VFW Post 1741, and during one of our meetings, we talked about it extensively, and except for a couple of nays, we voted unanimously against the idea. 
 
Most especially that part of the idea where the defunct flag of South Vietnam would fly side by side with the Stars and Stripes.  Only one flag should fly in this Veterans Park. 
 
Only one kind of war veterans should be honored in this park, and that's the veterans of the United Sates of America, who fought and gave their lives and limbs and minds (PTSD) away, in defense of this country's ideals and way of life....."
 
Then, a front page story appeared in our town's newspaper, the Auburn Reporter, of a Marine veteran, who fought in Vietnam, endorsing the idea of this Joint War Memorial.
 
So, I wrote a Letter to the Editor of our town's paper.  The editor wrote back and said he likes my letter and that he would like to feature me as their guest columnist this week and requested for my photo to accompany my column.
 
I'd like to share this letter with my Barako readers.  I mentioned our FilVets.  Here it is, Dear Readers.
 
Dear Editor,
 
In reference to your front page story, August 16, 2013, "Veteran pushes for joint war memorial," I, too, have something to say. I am a Vietnam-era, disabled veteran, a U.S. Navy retiree and a member of the VFW Post 1741.
 
I, too, have laid my life on the line for this country and if called upon to do it again, I'll heed my country's call without hesitation. And I, too, have lived in this town for over a decade now, and had grown fond of this small town. 
 
I do not agree with this Joint American/Vietnamese Memorial. 
 
First of all, though the building of it will be funded by a special interest group, and not by taxpayers, it will be built in a public park owned by us, taxpayers.  And from what I understand, the maintenance of this memorial when built, will be shouldered by the city of Auburn, which is also us, the taxpayers.  So, this proposed Joint War Memorial is not exactly a privately-funded idea.  It appears only that way.  The city of Auburn will be left holding the bag in the end. 
 
That money could be better spent on fixing roads and other worthy projects in improving our town that would benefit all residents of our town, not just a special interest group. 
 
Second, why only a Joint Memorial with the Vietnamese?  Why only with these people?  From what I understand, from Mayor Pete Lewis' information, this idea was "brought" to Auburn by the State VA Director.  That's fine. 
 
But what about other allies who fought alongside America's warriors in other wars?  Like my Filipino ancestors, who volunteered and fought bravely with American soldiers, not only in World War II, but also in Korea during the war there, and in World War I in Europe.  And their loyalty to America have remained steadfast and strong, and got passed on down from one generation to another ... like my own generation.  Many of my generation have enlisted in the US Navy, and volunteered to fight for this country during the war in Vietnam.  My ancestors and my generation also deserve this kind of Joint Memorial, don't we?
 
What about the Japanese-Americans at the outset of World War II, who were living then in America and volunteered to fight for America, inspite of the fact that their native country then was the "enemy," yet their loyalty remained with America?  They also deserve this kind of memorial, don't they?
 
What about those South Korean soldiers, who also fought bravely alongside America's warriors during the war there, surely they also deserve this kind of Joint Memorial, don't they?
 
A Joint Memorial for America's allies in other wars should also be "brought" to Auburn to honor their war dead. 
 
Third, if our town is going to build a Joint Memorial Park, by all means, let's build it.  But let's include all the loyal allies, who have joined America's soldiers in bravely fighting for America's ideals and way of life.  Let's don't leave anybody out! 
 
And, let's fly the Stars and Stripes above all other national flags.  We, veterans and members of the VFW Post 1741 fought and laid our lives on the line primarily for this flag.  No other flags were relevant to us then; no other flags are relevant to us now. 
 
Fourth, if supporters of this Joint American Vietnamese Memorial are adamant in building this Joint Memorial, let them build it on a privately-bought land and maintain it with their private funds. 
 
Ain't no way, Hosay, the defunct South Vietnamese flag should fly side by side with the Stars and Stripes.  If there would be a flag that deserves to fly side by side with the Stars and Stripes, it should be the Philippine flag. 
 
Filipino warriors have fought with America's warriors in several wars in the past and have proven their bravery and loyalty, and these bravery and loyalty have been passed down from one generation to another.
 
And that to me, is the bottom line of this story.  That's all.  JJ
 



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Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 20:38
 

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