In the aftermath of the Vietnam conflict, many of the veterans of all the services who served felt isolated and alone, were discouraged, felt abandoned, and feared that no one cared. A great number of these veterans had physical and/or medical problems that were not being addressed. In January 1978 a group of Vietnam veteran activists went to Washington, D.C. The result of their efforts eventually became the Vietnam Veterans of America organization (VVA).The VVA’s founding principle is: “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”
One of the goals was to change the public perception of being “baby killers,” and etc. as portrayed by anti-war activists. Another goal was to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans. These goals and many others are practiced by 650 local chapters throughout the country.
Chapter 1004 of the VVA is located in Lebanon. This Chapter is active in supporting Vietnam veterans in Veterans’ hospitals or Veterans’ homes, assisting local veterans and spouse or veterans’ widows. The Chapter has provided such items as television sets, stoves, books, cash, loan of wheel chairs and numerous services to organizations such as catering lunches, Veterans Days at Cedars of Lebanon. Assistance to the Wilson County Veterans Affairs officer is provided on request.
Presently the Chapter is working towards creating emergency services to assist local communities in case of a catastrophic event. The Chapter is in the final stages of having the ability to provide food, water, other items or minor first aid assistance. The response will be in the form of a food trailer and will render assistance until the larger organizations are mobilized. This will be done under the guidelines set by WEMA.
The Lebanon chapter is aware that there are Vietnam Veterans, Veterans’ wives, sons and daughters, widows, or female Vietnam veterans in the Mt. Juliet area. We would like to offer to them a free, one-year membership if they would like to join VVA Chapter 1004 in Lebanon. The wives, sons, daughters or widows would join as associate members. All brances of service welcomed.
The Chapter meets the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Veterans building in Fiddlers Grove, James E. Ward Agricultural and Community Center (Wilson County Fair Grounds) in Lebanon. In the spirit of comradery, many of the members meet for breakfast every Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. at The Neighborhood Grill on West Main Street in Lebanon and Saturday morning at 7 a.m. at Uncle Pete’s Truck Stop, adjacent to exit 239, I-40, Sparta Pike (Watertown Rd.). At the breakfasts there are lots of stories and jokes, ceasing only when the food is served.
If you are interested in Vietnam vets, please join us at one of the above locations for breakfast and check us out, or you can contact Harold Weist, Chapter President at (615)754-5441 and the wives, sons, daughters or widows, contact Judy Weist, who handles the ladies, at (615)754-5441. Both Harold and Judy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.