Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Have You Seen Them?


Have you seen them?
By Ed Knox

I refer to beautiful stress balls that have been distributed throughout the United States of America, specifically at Veterans’ Administration Hospitals and similar locations.

These balls are beautifully imprinted with red, white & blue background and then with “DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS” imprinted along with a toll-free telephone number and a statement regarding the courage it takes for a Warrior to ask for help.

(I think that statement is in reference to those of us who served in the Military and might be experiencing difficulties coping with the effects of our service.)

So what? Guess where they’re made. Yep. That’s right; these balls are made in China!

It is an insult to those who fought and died for the Freedoms we enjoy here in the United States of America. You’ve heard the quote: “For those who fought for it, Freedom has a taste the protected will never know!”

We obviously cannot go backwards in time to correct the past. The best resolution moving forward is to let our Veterans know whether or not we as a Country care about them and their employment situation.

There are companies here in America that would be happy to manufacture these balls. I’m certain that these companies would hire Veterans. These companies - right here in the United States - would be proud to not only hire Veterans, but would be even more proud to know that they have helped Veterans who others might consider to be handicapped.

Think about what a wonderful message we SHOULD be shouting: “Because the United States of America actually intends to keep its word to the Veterans of Military Service, we will insist that first hiring priorities will go to Companies within the United States of America. These companies will receive even more ‘priority’ when they hire Veterans. Still more ‘priority’ will be assigned to them if those Veterans happen to have a Service-Connected disability. Companies who do not manufacture within the USA will not be considered a resource for items that could have and should have been manufactured in the USA! This is without regard to whether or not the ‘bottom line’ seems to be cheaper. That ‘bottom line’ is NEVER cheaper when it creates an increase in unemployment of Americans.” That statement becomes even stronger when you consider the employment situation of our Nation’s Veterans!

As a Viet Nam Veteran, a Member of the DAV, NABVETS, the American Legion, a lifetime Member of the VFW, and a true American Patriot; I am appalled and sickened by the situation as it currently stands.

One of the items that you might want to consider is to ask your Senators and Congressmen to continue funding the wonderful program called HELMETS TO HARDHATS. ( ) This is a program that assists our Service Members in their transition from Military to Civilian life. It helps them find a career pathway. Another item to consider is to donate your time and/or some Dollars to help HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS. ( ) This fine organization builds special-needs homes for some of our returning veterans who have been severely injured in combat.

Paying attention to the problems facing our Veterans, and helping to put America back to work in order to start repairing our economy are the two most important issues facing our Country today.

Be American, Buy American!!



Ed Knox is President of Local Union 68 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and is a Member of the Denver Musicians’ Association (DMA). There are photographs to accompany this article which were taken by Pete Vriesenga, President of the DMA; but I can’t figure out how to post them here. Any suggestions?

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