As a woman Vietnam veteran and past post commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 433 in Sayville, it saddens me to see that the old stereotypes of local veterans service posts such as the VFW and American Legion, are perpetrated by the people quoted in the article, including the national commander of my own organization ["The new war vets," News, Nov. 11].
While the speakers raised the stereotypes in order to dismiss them, I was still saddened to read them. It's true that our membership is aging, but describing us as "old, white, tattooed men" or our posts as places for "old and out of touch veterans who would rather drink in a dimly lit canteen than open their doors to our younger veterans" is insulting and disrespectful.
Our local posts are active and vital members of their communities. We work hard to sponsor events that provide information to local veterans about the benefits available to them; we work closely with community organizations and school districts to educate young people and other residents about the service and sacrifice of veterans; we drive veterans to our posts or visit them at their bedsides, to give them some respite from the institutions in which they live and to let them know they're not forgotten. Perhaps most important, we open our doors to all veterans, regardless of race, gender, religion, age, political persuasion or the presence or absence of tattoos. My post has active members who have served in all our conflicts, from World War II to the present.
Joan Furey, Sayville
I'm tired of references to Veteran of Foreign Wars and American Legion halls as "beer and smoke-filled veterans halls, once safe havens for vets stateside, but now aging relics from another era."
There's no question these organizations face obstacles recruiting our newest veterans, but it's an insult to those who served to imply they're a group of over-60-year-olds hunched over beer at those posts.
Younger veterans, male and female, are facing many of the same challenges we older veterans faced, but with a lot less support from our government. The scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as unemployment and homelessness among veterans, attest to that.
The VFW and American Legion have advocated for more education, opportunity and health care for our newest generation of veterans.
William G. Walden, Hicksville
Editor's note: The writer is the commander of the Hicksville VFW Post 3211.
Unequal pay rationale fails to persuade
A recent letter writer shows how little he understand the values of equal pay for women .
When he says that equal pay "handicaps women by destroying their ability to bid down the price of their labor and thus, their ability to compete for jobs," he is telling women that they should willingly accept lower pay than men for the privilege of working.
Why not extend this same privilege to men? Or is it only women who should devalue themselves? Why do we continue to tell women and young girls that they have less value than their male counterparts? Equal pay for equal work not only sounds fair -- it is fair.
Gayle Hirsch, Manorville
Sadly, school lunch union replaced
In "Schools sell lunch again" [News, Nov. 8], readers were told that the Miller Place district and the Miller Place Cafeteria Union agreed to dissolve the union. This could not be further from the truth.
The Miller Place school board in June unanimously voted to privatize the school lunch program. The union negotiated an exit agreement with the district, which provided some potential job offers and payment for money owed.
The union did not dissolve itself; the district privatized the program in the last year of the contract. I was concerned about the district's announcement to privatize, without notifying the union, after the food service program lost money for two years.
The district would also have readers believe that the Miller Place Cafeteria Union caused the delay in finding a replacement food service, but truth be told, the first bid in August was unacceptable. A subsequent bid was submitted by Aramark in September. Only four former union members have returned to work for Aramark.
Nick LaMorte, Miller Place
Editor's note: The writer is the Long Island region president of the Civil Service Employees Association.
Cross-Sound link near impossible
Regarding "Cross-Sound rail link among plans eyed" [News, Nov. 7], I almost fell out of my chair laughing.
It's a noble cause, but since the 1960s, ideas have been tossed around to build a bridge or tunnel for trains or vehicles across the Long Island Sound to ease congestion.
Every North Shore neighborhood will point fingers as to where it may go, as long as it's not in their neighborhood. So, which modest neighborhood will quietly allow this to ever be built?
Walter Hinte, Selden