Friday's Weekend Column
Buying American

by James Glaser
January 10, 2003

It was kind of cold and real damp and it had rained most of the night, the grass was going to be wet. It was Memorial Day and about twenty members of VFW Post 3869 of Northome Minnesota were up early getting ready for their annual salute to their departed comrades at the seven cemeteries in the area.

Everyone met at the Post where they would pickup the M-1 rifles and the flags and see which group they would go with. One groups heads north while the other goes west and south. Each group has a ceremony at three small rural cemeteries and later both groups combine at the nursing home and the Northome Cemetery and are done by noon.

This year we were going to try and look a little sharper. Everyone wears black trousers, white shirt and tie, black dress shoes, and our VFW uniform cap. Cold as it was that morning we would all wear our Post jacket and this year "white gloves." The white gloves were a new addition, because some one was at a funeral down in Grand Rapids and that Honor Guard had on white gloves and thought they looked sharp. We ordered ours out of the VFW supply catalog.

Well I was in my office getting the rifles out of the steel safe we keep them in and making sure we had enough clips of blank ammunition for the rifle salutes when all of a sudden I heard a lot of swearing out in the hall. A couple of Korean War Vets had opened the package with the white gloves in it and stamped on each package was "Made in Korea" and they were pissed.

It just got to these guys that on a day we were honoring our dead, some of whom died in Korea we had bought white gloves that were not even made in America. You have to understand that on Memorial day emotions run high. On top of that we bought those gloves from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, official catalog. This was wrong in everyones book , and we, our little Post would have to correct this "slight" to all veterans.

At our very next meeting we passed a resolution that the VFW buy American products and took that resolution to the next Eighth District Meeting in Duluth. There we were told that it would have to be voted on at the next Loyalty Day meeting and we thought what could be better.

Some of the Past State Commanders at District told us it would pass here but never at the State convention because of those little enamel pins you see guys wearing on their lapels or hats cost too much to buy in America and China makes them so cheap.

Well it passed on our District Loyalty day and at the State level too. All we had to do was get it through the National convention and our good deed would be done. We all just knew that buying American would be a shoe in at an American Veterans Convention, what we never figured on was politics and the process set up at the convention to keep some resolutions out.

At the National Convention there is a committee for everything. There is a rules committee, one for credentials to check you out and make sure you aren't some sort of nut wanting to hang around with a lot of vets, and there is a resolutions committee that screens out resolutions by Posts that they do not deem worthy of consideration by the whole convention and they were our downfall. I don't know who was on that committee, but they sure don't believe in buying American.

A lot of resolutions were passed at that convention, like an increase in funds for the Defense budget, increase shipbuilding, support F-22 fighter aircraft program, eliminate the Anti Ballistic Missile treaty and improve the Theater Ballistic Missile Defense. However buying American products did not make the cut and the convention never got to vote on it. I guess those guys like that cheap foreign stuff.

You know, they even had one resolution to support the School of the Americas down in Georgia. That is the school that every year Priests, Ministers, and Nuns are arrested at, for protesting this school that teaches our friends from South America how to kill and torture their people. None of these motions were made by VFW Posts, but all were submitted along with many others of the same ilk by the Commander in Chief. No, not George Bush, but the Commander of the VFW who must really like war.

So again this year we have passed that same resolution and will start the process all over again, only this year we are writing to Posts and organizations all over the country and asking them to pass their own "BUY AMERICA" resolution. We will see if those guys stop it again.

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