PART I – STOLEN VALOR – Veterans Group Claims the VA, Politicians, and Homeowner Group Have Defamed and Dishonored Military Duty
By Robert L. Rosebrock
American Military Veterans in their 60s, 70s and 80s from World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam War are filing a formal complaint with the U.S. Attorneys Office of the Department of Justice requesting a full investigation into the Los Angeles VA, local politicians, and a neighboring homeowner group for disparaging and desecrating their Honorable Duty to our Country; for misappropriating billions of dollars of Veterans’ sacred land for public and non-Veteran use; and for violating their Civil Rights.
Stolen Valor, Stolen Property and Stolen Freedom
While the Stolen Valor Act essentially applies to “the unauthorized wear, manufacture, sale or claim (either written or oral) of any Awards and decorations of the United States Military,” members of the Old Veterans Guard claim the VA, politicians and homeowner group have exceeded this beyond comprehension by defaming the Honorable Duty of every man and woman who now wears, or has worn our Nation’s Uniform; by misusing and abusing Veterans’ sacred property that is protected through an 1887 Act of Congress and the Land Grant Deed of 1888; and by denying Veterans their Freedom and Constitutional Right to protest against these injustices.
The End of a Disgraceful Era!
Acting on behalf of America’s 24 million Military Veterans who Honorably served on Active Duty for our Country, including the 1.5 million men and women who are presently on Active Duty, the Old Veterans Guard is officially demanding a federal investigation into plagiarism, stolen valor, identity theft, desecration, defamation, slander, hate speech, blasphemy, defacing government property, graffiti, vandalism, littering, dereliction of duty, contempt of Congress, breaching a legal Deed, aiding and abetting, misappropriation of government funds and property, embezzlement, fraud, conspiracy, cronyism, duplicity, sabotage, subterfuge, false advertising, malfeasance, willful neglect, deliberate inaction, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, oppression, stalking, espionage, filing false police reports, selective enforcement, malicious prosecution, failure to uphold an Oath of Office, obstruction of justice, treason, and tyranny, among other unlawful and immoral conduct against America’s Military Veterans, their exclusive property, and their Constitutional Rights.
The Old Veterans Guard already served notice of their serious objection to this unlawful and immoral conduct by holding 99 consecutive “Sunday Rallies” protesting the aforementioned claims, and will continue to stand firm, demanding that none of these egregious violations will ever be tolerated on their watch.
For those who have perpetrated some of the most disgraceful and heinous injustices imaginable against the defenders of America’s freedom and independence, sleaziness as usual is coming to an end.
Their greed and selfishness have forced more than 20,000 Veterans to be homeless on the streets of Los Angeles. This too will come to an end.
Revolution vs. Counter-Revolution
The Veterans Revolution of the Old Veterans Guard is non-violent and their protest Rallies are peaceful.
Even though the Old Veterans Guard Rallies under the banner of The Veterans Revolution, their loyal unification is really a counter-revolution because it was the VA, politicians and homeowners who started their own revolution by overthrowing an Act of Congress and subverted the Legal Deed that was entrusted to the U.S. Government on behalf of America’s Military Veterans, and then annexed this hallowed land for their own personal gain.
There’s nothing personal or political in filing their federal complaint that demands a complete, thorough, and transparent investigation into the aforementioned claims.
The Old Veterans Guard is simply doing its duty. Now it’s up to the Department of Justice to live up to its entrusted name and do its duty.
“DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY”“
“Those Three Hallowed Words”
Since 1898, The United States Military Academy has had the words “Duty, Honor, Country” proudly emblazoned on its coat of arms and boldly engraved on some of its oldest buildings. The motto has become such a distinct code for Military leadership and loyalty to our country that this time-honored creed is firmly embedded into the hearts and minds of all who actively serve in our Armed Forces, regardless of his or her respective branch of service, or rank of duty.
In his famed “Duty, Honor, Country” speech given to the West Point Cadets in 1962, General Douglas MacArthur resolutely declared:
“Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.”
The merits of the General’s remarkable speech are so profound that it is considered to be among the greatest in American history. Even more remarkable, he delivered it without notes when he was 82 years old. (Speech link is at the end of this article)
Beware of the Unbelievers
General MacArthur’s speech was not only profound and eloquently delivered, but his tribute was so singular in purpose that even a small child could understand the overwhelming meaning and importance of “Duty, Honor, Country.”
The General’s inspirational message notwithstanding, he also prophesied and forewarned:
“The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.”
An Unbelievable Prophecy
The General’s prophesy actually seemed far-fetched considering we are presumably a grateful society that highly respects the men and women who defend our nation’s freedom and independence under the timeless tradition of “Duty, Honor, Country.”
Nevertheless, his prophecy became reality in 2006 when it was validated on the so-called “Gateway Landmark Plaza” at the front entry of the Los Angeles National Veterans Home, also known as the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, the largest VA in the nation.
An Ugly Insult Against America’s Active Duty Military and Veterans
At the Northeast corner of Wilshire and San Vicente Boulevards, one of the busiest intersections in West Los Angeles, the words “Beauty, Honor, Country” were shamefully engraved in stone on Veterans property, and highlighted with bronzed letters.
This appalling display that belittles the rigors of Military “Duty” and tries to pass it off as quaint “beauty” is outright blasphemy against the legendary creed entrusted to the highest calling of public service: Active Duty in our Armed Forces.
While a small child could easily understand the reverent tribute to “those three hallowed words” in General MacArthur’s somber and patriotic speech, he or she would never be able to understand the mockery made of it, and even worse, believe it could be done so irreverently and inappropriately displayed on Veteran’s sacred property.
Woe Unto the Unbelievers
While the General forewarned that the “unbelievers” would someday say “Duty, Honor, Country” was just a slogan or flamboyant phrase, exactly who are these modern-day unbelievers that actually mocked and ridiculed this noble creed on the revered grounds of the National Veterans Home?
Are these unbelievers considered to be pedants, demagogues, cynics, hypocrites, troublemakers, or those of an entirely different character? Is it possible that they could actually be “all the above?”
Regardless of where the perpetrators truly stand in the General’s admonition of those who would eventually mock and ridicule America’s watchword, it was shamelessly construed and flagrantly executed by a wealthy homeowner group in neighboring Brentwood that operates under the ruse of “Veterans Park Conservancy,” which is not a Veterans organization by any stretch.
Nevertheless, this unsavory homeowner group used their wealth and influence to manipulate top echelon VA bureaucrats and powerful politicians into allowing them to plagiarize “Duty, Honor, Country” and egregiously engrave “Beauty, Honor, Country” on the same hallowed ground where Veterans are trying to heal from the ugliness of war.
One of the Believers
While General MacArthur’s prophecy about nefarious unbelievers eventually came true in Los Angeles, his speech also made patriotic believers and remarkable achievers out of some of the young Cadets who were in attendance that memorable day on May 12, 1962, at West Point, New York.
One such Cadet was a teenager named Eric (Ric) Shinseki, a 1965 graduate of West Point who credits General MacArthur’s “Duty, Honor, Country” speech as being a guiding force during his nearly four decades of distinguished Military service that ultimately led him to become a four-star General and the 34th Chief of Staff of our U.S. Army.
Every year an Award is given to Army officers — Active, Guard and Reserve — who exhibit extraordinary leadership abilities and embody the ideals embraced by General MacArthur. The MacArthur Leadership Award program is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Army and the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation.
On May 22, 2002 while serving as the Army’s Chief of Staff during a Pentagon ceremony, General Shinseki presented the Leadership Awards and offered this advice to the newest recipients:
“Look after your soldiers — their training, their tools, their spirit — so that they are ready to do what is necessary when called upon. For it is in the courageous actions of our soldiers that continues the drumbeat of Duty, Honor, Country.”
In a letter to General Shinseki dated February 1, 2007, from the Association of Graduates, signed by its Chairman, Theodore G. Stroup, (Lieutenant General USAR Ret.), who declared:
“For the 44 thousand graduates of West Point, your selfless service and leadership in our Army is unheralded. You epitomize the enduring values of our alma mater – Duty, Honor, Country.”
In 2009, General Shinseki was selected as a “Distinguished Graduate” of West Point’s United States Military Academy for being an exemplar of “Duty, Honor, Country.”
“Hawaii’s Favorite Army Son”
On July 20, 2006, a new gallery was opened at the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii to honor General Shinseki’s distinguished 38 years in the Military, and titled “The General Erick K. Shinseki Exhibit.” The General is a native of Hawaii’s Island of Kauai.
“My Name Is … SHINSEKI … and I am a Soldier”
A short biography, entitled “My Name is Shinseki and I am a Soldier,” and written by noted author Richard Halloran, is illustrated with many photos from the General’s own collection.
“From our days at West Point, Ric Shinseki and I soldiered in the same Army for almost four decades. He has distinguished himself as a warrior in combat, as a commander who cares deeply about his soldiers, and as a leader steeped in the principles of Duty, Honor, Country.” David A. Bramlett General, United States Army (ret)Commanding General, Forces Command 1996-1998
The book is available exclusively at the Hawaii Army Museum Store and can be ordered on line. See link below
Soldiering On …
Although retired from the U.S. Army, General Shinseki is still soldiering on as the 7th United States Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Pride of “Duty, Honor, Country”
In a tribute to our Military men and women on Armed Forces Day in 1985, then- President Ronald Reagan proudly proclaimed: “This is a day we set aside to remember and thank those Americans who wear our country’s uniform and who serve our nation in so many places around the globe. Many are far from home, and things you and I take for granted — family, friends, all the good things that go with life in our hometowns — they’ve given all these things up for the sake of a challenge and to answer a call. The challenge is the task of defending freedom, and the call they’ve answered is summarized in three words: ‘Duty, Honor, Country.’“
George Putnam, the late legendary TV / radio talk show host, decorated World War II Marine, and a true American patriot always ended his popular “Talk Back” program with his thundering and vociferous reminder to his listening audience: “Duty, Honor, Country.”
The California American Legion honored George with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for being an exemplar of “Duty, Honor, Country.” On behalf of the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation in Norfolk, Virginia, he was also presented with a parchment copy of the General’s “Duty, Honor Country” speech and a “Certificate of Appreciation” for embodying the credo of “Duty, Honor, Country,” signed by William J. Davis, Colonel USMAC (Ret.), the Foundation’s Executive Director.
Each year at West Point, the Thayer Award is presented in honor of Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, revered as the “Father of the Military Academy.” The Award is presented to an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”
General Colin Powell received the Thayer Award in 1998, and in his acceptance speech, declared:
- “West Point is driven by a simple code known throughout the land: Duty, Honor, Country.
- Duty — the mission, the troops, selfless professional service, a career of service, a lifetime of service.
- Honor – – your word is your bond. Truth, honesty and character are your watchwords never to be forgotten.
- Country – – your oath to the country rests on our constitution, which rests on the will of the American people.“
U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Chairman of the Appropriations Defense Committee and a World War II Army Veteran from Hawaii, was awarded West Point’s 2001 Sylvanus Thayer Award for “Duty, Honor, Country.”
General Shinseki, also from Hawaii, was present at the ceremony, and afterward proffered this: “Senator Inouye is not a West Point graduate but Duty, Honor, Country has been a part of his life as a soldier and throughout 43 years of public service in Congress. We were two great soldiers. We each took a different path, but followed the values of Duty, Honor, Country.”
A Soldier’s General
A year later, the Thayer Award was presented not to an individual, but to the “American Soldier,” and Army Chief of Staff General Eric K. Shinseki spoke in their behalf, proclaiming:
“Traditional to the Thayer Award Ceremony is the recipient’s response. Tonight’s response is a bit more challenging. In selecting the American Soldier as the 2002 Thayer Award recipient, the Association has chosen to honor an ideal — an ideal that is magnificent in selfless service to country, long in its sense of duty, and deep in its commitment to honor.
To the cadets — your presence here tonight is a product of the countless thousands of American Soldiers who have preceded you. We all stand on their shoulders. They set high standards for you because they know what awaits you — the privilege of leading the American Soldier. Prepare yourselves well, and begin by endeavoring to be a good soldier. The rest will fall more easily into place.
Internalize the values of our profession. They capture the spirit of the American Soldier — loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. Guided by them and the time-honored motto of this great institution — Duty, Honor, Country — many of the complex decisions you will surely face will become less difficult.”
Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
Duty with Honor is such a paramount responsibility in protecting our Country, that the Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award given to an American Military member for bravery “above and beyond the call of duty” in action against an enemy of the United States.
Unfortunately, there are Military misfits who are charged with and convicted of “dereliction of duty,” and dishonorably discharged.
General George Patton, Jr., a West Point graduate and celebrated World War II Commander, understood the significance of duty to our country by summing it up succinctly:
“Duty is but discipline carried to its highest degree.”
At his acceptance speech for West Point’s “Duty, Honor, Country” Thayer Award, U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, who is also a recipient of the Medal of Honor, proclaimed:
“For it was duty that made young Americans withstand the bitter winter cold, without shoes and without food, during the dark days of Valley Forge. These men left their farms, their families, and their fortunes to fight for a country that was not in existence at that time, and they carried out their duties with courageous honor.”
“Duty” is Number One
The overwhelming importance of “Duty” is so significant and paramount in the defense of our nation’s freedom and independence, that it is the very first word declared in America’s unprecedented Military code of “Duty, Honor, Country.”
So, just how did changing “Duty” to “beauty” actually come about, why, and by whom?
Who’s Behind “Beauty Gate?”
In his speech, General MacArthur maintained: “The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong.”
Whatever the feeble and fabricated excuses are that have been made to try and justify this perverse slander against the Military code by a rogue homeowner group, they were disgracefully wrong, and their unbecoming conduct will forever remain an unforgivable embarrassment!
A Homeowner Group in Veterans Clothing
Sue Young, who is not a Veteran, is the $l00,000-a-year founder and executive director of Veterans Park Conservancy, which is not a Veterans organization. In fact, this so-called non-profit organization is nothing more than a wealthy homeowner group with selfish designs on controlling Veterans’ property.
Correspondingly, their real mission is a cleverly crafted charade to subvert the terms of the legal Deed and take advantage of Veterans property for their own benefit, and it’s always done under the deceptive veil of “honoring our veterans.”
While a small child could understand that turning a place of solace for Veterans to heal from war into a noisy public park is wrong, why can’t grown adults understand this?
Even “Lencha” who is 91 in dog years, and blind, can see through this shameful scam as she faithfully attends Sunday Rallies and pulls “guard duty” with her beloved owner, 80 year-old Korean War Veteran, Larry Cardenas.
On the other side of the fence, Ms. Young, an open-space extremist, and her renegade homeowner group have coveted Veterans land for nearly a quarter-century with her unilateral, hell-bent plan to convert it from a century-old peaceful sanctuary for Veterans into “the first community park in West Los Angeles in nearly 50 years,” and thereby creating her own fiefdom of open space with a public park and entertainment center in what she labels “Central Park West.”
Aiding and Abetting
Why would the VA even entertain the notion of using Veterans’ property for a public park while there are 20,000 homeless Veterans in Los Angeles and this land is specifically deeded as a National Home?
Nonetheless, this neighboring homeowner group, in full cooperation and approval with VA bureaucrats and local politicians, designed the so-called “gateway landmark plaza” and then hoodwinked the VA into donating $1 million of Veterans seriously needed healthcare money to build their pretentious wrought iron fence to “beautify” the entryway into Brentwood.
Then the uncharitable group plagiarized the West Point creed because they said it was their “mission to beautify Veterans property,” while being oh-so-careful not to mention that it was for their own benefit, or that it would be at the expense of 20,000 homeless Veterans in Los Angeles.
The homeowner group’s old website brazenly declared:
“Beauty Honor Country enshrined on the newly dedicated Gateway of Los Angeles National Veterans Park, embodies the mission of Veterans Park Conservancy.”
This aristocratic cult not only plagiarized America’s Military creed, but changed the name of this deeded land from a “Home” to a public park to satisfy their selfish “wants” at the expense of those who are in serious ‘need.”
On March 28, 2006, Ms. Young and her cronies dedicated the Landmark Plaza, the wrought iron fence, and the slanderous “Beauty, Honor, Country” debacle in “honor of our veterans” … on Veterans property.
The sanctimonious group rubbed salt into this ugly wound by making it an exclusive occasion reserved for their high muckety-muck friends, declaring attendance to be “by invitation only,” because of “security concerns.”
Veterans Service Organizations at large and everyday Veterans were not invited to this so-called dedication ceremony, even though it was held on Veterans property. In fact, the press release to the media declared:
“Note to editors: Because of security considerations, this is an invitation-only event. Press I.D. is required. “
What “security considerations” could possibly be involved when it comes to Veterans being invited onto their own property?
After all, it’s the Veterans who have courageously secured the safety of our nation, so why would they be considered a threat to the security of their very own property and at an event that is purportedly being dedicated in their “honor?”<
And who anointed the “press” to be held in higher regard than America’s Veterans, and even more trusted? Have the leaders of this so-called “Veterans” organization conveniently forgotten that if it were not for America’s Veterans, there would be no “Freedom of the Press,” or any of our other taken-for-granted freedoms? This is another deplorable and blatant example of Stolen Valor by this rogue homeowner group.
Insidious Forces Working From Within
Because the powerful and wealthy homeowner group restricted everyday Veterans from being invited to their clandestine scheme of subverting the Deed of 1888 and desecrating America’s watchword, perhaps another of General MacArthur’s wise observations, proffered separate from his Speech, is applicable in sizing up this self-serving group:
“I am concerned for the security of our great nation, not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.”
It’s Congressman Waxman’s “Duty”
Congressional Representative Henry Waxman, the elected public servant for the 30th Congressional District and a member of Congress for 36 years, is the entrusted steward whose District includes the Los Angeles National Veterans Home.
It is the Congressman’s fiduciary responsibility to oversee and protect the largest VA in the nation and to make sure that the Congressional Act of 1887 and the Grant Deed of 1888 are fully honored at all times, which is stated no less than six times in the Deed that this land is:“To be permanently maintained as a National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.”
The definition of fiduciary responsibility can be reduced to one word: “Duty.”
And if one does not know the meaning of duty, then one should not be entrusted with fiduciary responsibility.
Nonetheless, fiduciary responsibility means, among other things, that the entrusted steward must always act in the sole and best interest of the beneficiaries, and in this case, it’s America’s Military Veterans and their sacred land at the National Veterans Home.
Left to Right: above Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor of the Third District, Sue Young, executive director of Veterans Park Conservancy (a neighboring homeowner group), Henry Waxman, U.S. Congressman of the 30th District, and Flora Gil Krisiloff, Westside Senior District Deputy to Yaroslavsky, and a vice president and board member of Veterans Park Conservancy.
Congressman Henry Waxman smilingly approves of the rendering that shows the pretentious wrought iron fence to beautify the entryway into Brentwood, which the VA was hoodwinked into donating $1 million of Veterans healthcare money so that the wealthy homeowner group could complete their self-serving project.
The concrete base of the fence on the lower right side of this rendering actually depicts the insulting and defaming slur of “Beauty, Honor, Country.”
Be Vigilant of the “Hidden Hand”
In 1775, Samuel Adams responsibly cautioned: “The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.”
As the entrusted steward overseeing the Veterans Home, why did Congressman Waxman endorse such a disgraceful project that insults America’s Active Duty Military and our nation’s 24 million Veterans?
Congressman Waxman and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein are both listed as “Government Supporters” of the homeowner group that originated and propagated the degrading “beauty” slur. So, why would these two high-ranking members of Congress endorse a group that stooped so low to denigrate “Duty, Honor, Country,” particularly when the men and women who uphold this creed are currently engaged in two wars?
English Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), wisely noted:
“Governments do not govern, but merely control the machinery of government, being themselves controlled by the hidden hand.”
Another major question amongst Veterans is why hasn’t Congressman Waxman endorsed the Resolution to “Protect a National Sacred Trust” authored by the Veterans Caucus of the California Democratic Party and adopted by the Board of Directors of the California Democratic Party … his own political Party?
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party joins the American Legion, Veterans United For Truth Inc., the National Veterans Coalition, the Gathering of Eagles, We the Veterans, the American GI Forum, Military Spouses For Change, and Veterans For Common Sense, among others, along with hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families, to support an immediate halt to any giveaway of any of the Los Angeles National Veterans Home property, either to a non-veterans organization or for any non-veteran-related purpose.”
Why would one of the most senior and powerful members of Congress not support a Resolution by his own Democratic Party that provides for the protection of the Veterans property that he is entrusted to safeguard? Nonetheless, fellow Veterans are waiting for the Congressman’s endorsement of this noble Resolution, along with Senator Feinstein’s support as well.
In truth, instead of Veterans Bob Handy and Sanford Cook, the respectful Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Veterans Caucus, co-authoring a Resolution, Congressman Waxman, who holds the fiduciary responsibility to protect this sacred land, should have done his duty and authored a Congressional Bill that would fully rescind any and all agreements of any kind or nature that violate the 1887 Act of Congress and the legal Deed of 1888.
In the meantime, 20,000 Veterans remain homeless in Los Angeles, even though they have a rightful “Home.”
A Broad Unification Opposing the Land Giveaway
Following is a partial list of Veteran and Political organizations that are unified in opposing the public park and any other giveaway or misuse of Veterans property at the National Veterans Home.
Unified Veteran Organizations opposing the VA’s misuse and abuse of Veterans property:
Unified Political Organizations opposing the VA’s misuse and abuse of Veterans property:
Left to Right: above, Mark Reed, candidate for the 27th Congressional District; Karen Bonadio, vice chairman of the Westside Republicans; Rob Pederson, chairman; and Ari David, candidate for the 30th Congressional District
Westside Republicans support the Resolution of the Veterans Caucus of the California Democratic Party, but also have their own Resolution opposing the land abuse and confiscation at the heralded Veterans Home in the 30th Congressional District.
Consistent with virtually all groups and individuals who fully respect our Military and Veterans, they are adamantly opposed to any kind of defamation or slurs against the honorable Duty that protects our American way of life, and they deeply resent the mere notion of stealing the brave Valor represented in “Duty, Honor, Country.”
No Confiscation without Representation
Over the years, Veterans’ land has been pillaged, plundered, prostituted, and what appears to be, auctioned off to the highest political campaign donors with the lowest-bid offer.
Unfortunately, this land and the accompanying buildings always end up under the control of special-interest, non-profit, non-Veteran organizations, and each time it is insultingly done under the ugly guise of “honoring our veterans.”
It’s a fact that Veterans are never invited to the planning, bidding and negotiating meetings regarding their property.
Unfortunately, too many people who never served in the Military are making decisions for those who have.
Nonetheless, Veterans land must never be used for any self-dealing, personal or business gain, political opportunism, or anything else that is not for the sole, specific, direct and unequivocal benefit of America’s Military Veterans.
More specifically, honoring the Congressional Act of 1887 and the Deed of 1888 is the moral obligation and full responsibility of “We the People.”
The confiscation and redistribution of Veterans’ land through manipulation and subterfuge must cease and desist, posthaste.
In a positive outlook for Los Angeles, California Congressional candidates Ari David, 30th District, and Mark Reed, 27th District, are both seriously opposed to the illicit confiscation of Veterans land at the VA facilities within their respective Districts.
Both candidates have promised that upon being elected into Office, the first pieces of Legislation on their agenda will be to fully rescind all land and building leases on Veterans property at the Los Angeles and Sepulveda VA’s that are not for the sole, specific, direct, and unequivocal benefit of America’s Military Veterans.
It’s time that Veterans are finally invited to the table and have upfront representation regarding the use of their property just as it was legally deeded, instead of the unprecedented compromises, political pandering, cronyism, duplicity and backroom wheeling-and-dealing at the highest levels of government.
General Patton understood the disgrace of abusive political power and rightly noted:
“Politicians are the worst; they’ll wear their country’s flag in public, but they’ll use it to wipe their asses in the caucus room, if they think that it will win them a vote.”
The Rise and Fall of “Beauty Gate”
History will record that the defamation of “Duty, Honor, Country” on Veterans property was orchestrated by a group of renegade homeowners, complicit VA bureaucrats, and powerful politicians, and it marked a very dark period for our great nation.
Fortunately, the infamous besmirching of this noble creed ended shortly after it was disgracefully “dedicated.”
No Rhyme or Reason
While an insensitive homeowner group thought it was clever that beauty rhymed with duty, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason as to why the VA bureaucrats and powerful politicians allowed this group to engrave it in stone on Veterans’ property.
Nonetheless, this egregious insult will forever be an embarrassment to those entrusted to protect these sacred grounds and for the welfare of America’s Veterans.
“Those 388 Hallowed Acres”
Make no mistake; if the VA bureaucrats, local politicians, and wealthy homeowners could not be trusted with “those three hallowed words” of Military Active Duty, how can they possibly be trusted with “those 388 hallowed acres” of Veterans’ property dedicated exclusively for men and women healing from Active Duty?
Quite simply, they can’t, and their “Dereliction of Duty” makes it very clear as to why so many Veterans are homeless because the “wants” of the neighboring fat-cats have shamefully taken priority over the “needs” of America’s Veterans.
During the “battle of words,” some unknown yet proud Veteran(s) moved in and conquered “beauty” with their steadfast Duty, if only temporary before the VA police removed their giant “D” and small American flag.<
Thanks to the brave, courageous and patriotic Veteran(s) that drew this large creative “D” that was placed over the letters “bea” of the word beauty, and thus correctly spelled out the true meaning of this time-honored motto of Military service.
The “D” was embraced by a small, but bigger than life American flag with a very humble and proud note penciled in that said “From: Veterans of all Wars, Past and Present!”
How simple, dignified, noble, profound and magnanimous! This was priceless art and peerless patriotism wrapped up in a timeless salute of gratitude to all that have served to protect our American way of life. This was “Duty, Honor, Country” unselfishly carried out to a wonderful sense of purpose and tribute.
The desecration of the West Point creed and its inappropriate display on Veterans property was finally conquered and surrendered.
After writing several articles in the “Greater West Los Angeles Business Monthly” and the “Brentwood News” about the degradation of “Duty, Honor, Country,” Colonel Buzz Aldrin, America’s legendary Astronaut and a 1955 graduate of West Point, sent an e-mail with those four magical words: “How can I help?
We had a serious discussion about this fiasco and Col. Aldrin contacted fellow West Pointer Col. James Nicholson, the then-Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs in D.C., and immediate action was taken to remove this embarrassing slur before Veterans Day in 2006.
It’s important to note that both Col. Aldrin and Col. Nicholson were selected as “Distinguished Graduates” of West Point for being exemplars of “Duty, Honor, Country.” Col. Aldrin received the Award in 2000 and Col. Nicholson in 2005.
General Shinseki, the current Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs received the prestigious Award in 2009
West Point’s Distinguished Graduate Award
”The Distinguished Graduate award is to be given to graduates of the United States Military Academy whose character, distinguished service, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities that West Point strives for, in keeping with its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.”
This is how the concrete base of the multi-million dollar fence looked after the renegade cult was forced to remove their slanderous “Beauty, Honor, Country” insult. New concrete was smoothed over and left to dry.
While Veterans wanted the word “Beauty” replaced with “Duty,” the disgruntled and spiteful homeowner group removed all three words and the discolored panel remains a terrible eyesore at one of the busiest intersections in West Los Angeles, making it a true “landmark” and a constant reminder of this group’s perverted desecration on Veterans property.
This is how the “Beauty, Honor, Country” calamity now looks in a photo taken on January 10, 2010. How could the VA ever entrust 16 acres of Veterans sacred land to such an insensitive group and allow them to build a public park to “honor our veterans” when this is how they care for the so-called “Gateway Landmark Plaza” at the entryway of the National Veterans Home and to their own community?
As Judge Judy says: “Beauty fades . . . dumb is forever.
The Ugliness of Stolen Valor
The absolute ugliness of all this outraged Web Thompson, an 86 year-old World War II Navy Veteran, who recently drove from Las Vegas to “pull duty” at one of our Sunday Rallies to “Save Our Veterans Land.”
Web, a proud member of the Old Veterans Guard and The Veterans Revolution, stood solemnly observing the disgraced wall where the desecration occurred and slowly summarized it in succinct and eloquent terms reminiscent of General MacArthur’s forewarning about these “unbelievers”:
“Replacing duty with beauty is not just plagiarism, it’s stolen valor … stolen from every man and woman who wears or has worn the Uniform. Mocking the Military creed is not just desecration, it’s graffiti. Engraving this sacrilege in stone was not just arrogant and disrespectful, it’s defacing government property. Why aren’t the perpetrators in federal prison?”
Out of the mouths of “Old Veterans” comes the Truth, because Web is categorically right on all counts!
Just, why haven’t those who perpetrated and executed these heinous crimes against America’s Military Veterans been charged, prosecuted, and imprisoned?
The Ugliness of Immorality
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” – John Stewart Mill
The Ugliness of Greed
Why would a small group of homeowners who live in freedom and have prospered like no other generation before in our country, insult the honorable duty of those who made it all possible?
Why would well-to-do homeowners who live in multi-million dollar mansions finagle a million dollars of Veterans badly needed healthcare money to beautify the entryway into their community in order to further enhance their own property values, at the expense of 20,000 homeless Veterans?
Actually, nobody really wants to know the answers because they would not only exceed comprehension, but would be very, very ugly.
The Mission of the Old Veterans Guard is to bring 20,000 of our fellow Veterans who are “Missing in Action” and “Prisoners of Neglect” back to their rightful Home. In fact, it’s not even a Mission … it’s our Duty!
In the best interests of honoring America’s Veterans who faithfully served our nation, we respectfully request that Secretary Shinseki also join in this call of Duty by bringing an immediate halt to the shameless and disgraceful prostitution of Veterans property all across America.
Then, in accordance with the aforementioned claims for a Department of Justice investigation, take quick action to have them voluntarily surrender their agreements or evict all non-Veteran organizations from these sacred premises, demolish the old and obsolete buildings, and begin to re-build America’s noble National Veterans Homes with new, modern resident towers and dining halls.
If we are going to end homelessness amongst Veterans in the next five years as President Obama and Secretary Shinseki have promised, then we must re-invest in Veterans’ property so that we can invest in our Veterans’ future.
Simply stated, the $3.2 billion the VA has set aside for this year to help end Veteran homelessness, must be used to build tangible Veteran assets and not build a more bloated bureaucracy.
If not General Shinseki, who? If not now, when?
In continuing his leadership as a Distinguished Graduate of West Point for being an exemplar of “Duty, Honor, Country,” Secretary Shinseki needs to send the neighboring homeowner group a clear message about the true meaning of Duty with Honor to our Country, and fully rescind their privileged public park agreement, posthaste.
Secretary Shinseki also needs to clean house at the largest VA in the nation, also in accordance with the aforementioned choices, by replacing the toxic management of upper echelon VA bureaucrats, beginning with Ralph Tillman, director of asset management, who facilitated the breach of “Duty, Honor, Country” and the public park land heist.
Gordon Duff, Chairman of the Editorial Board of “Veterans Today News Network,” offers this straightforward advice: “The first thing you do when you clean your house is take out the trash.”
Secretary Shinseki can bring an end to the static and incompetent bureaucracy that has sent one of the most important Departments of our government into an ugly quagmire by replacing existing VA executive directors with newly retired Military Generals who are trained leaders and have a far better understanding of the men and women who have worn the Uniform, and will also respect their commitment to “Duty, Honor, Country.”
A General’s General
General MacArthur would be proud to know that one of the West Point Cadets who was listening to his “Duty, Honor, Country” speech in 1962 had not only faithfully executed the creed throughout his distinguished Military career, but is continuing to execute it during his enormously responsible Duty as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“I slept and dreamed that life was Beauty;
I woke, and found that life was Duty.”
– Ellen Sturgis Hooper,
American Poet (1816–1841)
To read or listen to General MacArthur’s speech, “Duty, Honor, Country,” go to:
Book: “My Name is … SHINSEKI … I am a Soldier”
Rosebrock is a U.S. Army Veteran, Vietnam-era, HQ USARHAW, Schofield Barracks. He is Leader of The Veterans Revolution, Director of We the Veterans, and Captain of the Old Veterans Guard.
U.S. Army, 1965-67, Schofield Barracks, Hqs., U.S Army, Hawaii. Director, The Veterans Revolution, Captain, the Old Veterans Guard, and Director, We the Veterans.