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Other views: Amazed at how veterans, VFW are taken for granted

In response to Anthony Tran's letter "VFW should find a better way to do its good work," March 1 Opinion page:

First of all you should be thankful to the VFW for not having to write your letter in German, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Iraqi or Somalian. It never ceases to amaze me how much our organization is taken for granted.

Our lawful gaming provides much to the community. Lawful gaming is allowed in most bars where people drink alcohol and, yes, they smoke. I believe what the VFW in West Fargo is looking for is an even playing field. Some bars allow smoking and lawful gambling.

I fully realize the direct correlation between smoking and the health risks associated with it. If you are not aware of these problems educate yourself. The bottom line is the VFW is looking for equality.

Now on the point of other forms of fund-raising, gee, what a novel idea. We have tried that numerous times over with mixed results, but those fund-raisers are only a fraction of the monies we raise. The vast majority comes from pull tabs.

If you feel the VFW does not care about the community, refer to the second sentence. The VFW is much more than a place where veterans drink, smoke and tell war stories. We are the ones who take care of widows and orphans of our departed comrades. We present the flag "on behalf of a grateful nation" to the next of kin. We carry our nation's flag leading parades, sometimes by members who can barely walk. We care for veterans who need help. And that is only about 10 percent of our lawful gaming. The rest we spend on youth programs such as hockey, baseball and even school sponsored events.

Now let us look at other causes of death, such as automobile accidents. Should we outlaw cars? Perhaps make everyone ride a bike. How about banning alcohol? Look at the health risks associated with consuming alcohol. Oh I forgot, our government already tried that.

You have the right to choose the places you go in our country and if you do not like smoking in bars go somewhere else.

If you like your freedom, thank a veteran.

Hicks, Dilworth, Minn., is a lifetime member of the VFW and former commander of the Moorhead VFW.