War veterans demand apology

This past Veteran’s Day ceremony in Burlington sparked a conflict between members of the Veterans of Foreign War Department (VFW) and Mayor Bob Kiss, a member of the City Council. Kiss could not attend the ceremony and therefore sent a war veteran to speak for him in his place. The veteran, Jon Hausrath, is a peace activist and used the platform to spout anti-war sentiments. “The speaker had a dishonorable discharge, because he was a conscientious objector and drug use was the only way out of the military,” Tom Dion, a Vietnam veteran and 41-year Burlington resident said.The Burlington City Council voted Monday, Nov. 16 to officially apologize for remarks made on Veterans Day about military service on they mayor’s behalf.”The speaker is not the problem — the problem is the mayor,” Councilman Vincent Dober Sr., said. “I take the mayor’s actions as a direct slap in the face.” At the council meeting, members of the Burlington VFW, along with veterans on the council, displayed shock over Kiss’ lack of remorse.”There’s room for different views of veterans — even in a ceremony like the one on Veterans Day,” Kiss said.Veterans from the audience openly scuffled and shouted during the meeting, along with the chaos of an anti-war protestor verbally attacking a Vietnam War veteran outside the doors of the meeting.”If I were mayor, would I ask someone from the KKK to address a NAACP event?” Dion said. Robert Colby, All-American Commander of the VFW in Burlington, said that it was the context of the peace remarks at a ceremony aimed at honoring survivors of war that was so offensive.”It was not the forum to debate whether the war is right or wrong,” Colby said. The City Council ended up voting 11-3 to pass the resolution, officially apologizing to veterans and their families.