John's Open Letters Vol. 1 #8
October 19, 2001
Dear Sirs and Ladies,
In order to relieve the pressure on my wife's time and her computer I was going to kick back and send out my Open letters less frequently. Then I decided, no, I've got to tell everybody my 73rd birthday is Nov. 1st. Please, no cards or gifts. Thank you. This just proves I am a senior citizen and trying to enjoy life like I was told about, those "Golden Years", many moons ago. I'm still waiting for that to happen.
I received twenty-nine replies from my Seventh Open Letter and added an extremely large number of new e-mails who are interested in my
letters. I hope I answered all your questions in my replies. I promise I will not disappoint anyone because I will stay the course in light of what happened Oct. 15th.
After our President Harley Coon said, "I will not answer to any of Kronenberger's letters", he decided to call me. To briefly state what he had to say was that if I did not stop the
letters he would be talking to a lawyer and charge me with "Defamation of Character" and at the Jan. 14th and 15th Meeting he would see that I was kicked out of the K.W.V.A. He also asked a member of another Chapter to investigate me by talking to my Chapter President. What could he possibly find out about me that he doesn't already know? I may have disagreed with others but I have never been a trouble maker. I was asking for the truth and that's what I wanted in the first place. I still do. These remarks I have taken as a personal threat from Mr. Coon. I don't take threats lightly especially when I know in no way have I defamed his character. I again referred to my trusty dictionary and discovered "defame": 1) to disgrace, 2) to harm the reputation of by libel or slander, or 3) accuse falsely. Most of my comments were from other writers with their permission. Even when he asked me if he should resign, I said, "No he should not". I might change my mind. I surely hope K.W.V.A. money will not be spent for more lawyers on such a frivolous matter as this. There is enough going on with the two court cases Mr. Pratt put in our last Graybeards.
Again I will repeat what I have been told (hearsay!) and what I personally read was that if there is any opposition to the present chair, eliminate that person by kicking him out of the K.W.V.A. I still can't make any meetings because I can't walk, or travel, Mr. Coon.
Now on a brighter note. Several of the officers of Chapters in the West have seriously considered dropping out of the K.W.V.A. and forming their own Korean Vets group. I, in no official capacity, suggested this to not be done because the K.W.V.A. is a good organization, but it could be better if more people got involved.
It is a sad state of affairs when so many members are dissatisfied, disgusted and have a feeling of a lack of belonging that they would express themselves to do that. All of these Chapters and members stated that they felt like this for a "long time" so my letters had nothing to do with this. I'm just finding these things out now. I am trying to be the messenger, good or bad. Another e-mail states, when there were questions to be answered by the National, they were ignored and nothing came of it. The writer further states, he felt the 15 Western States were of no importance to the K.W.V.A. An e-mail from Oklahoma said not once has a National Officer or a Director visited his Chapter or his State as far as he knows. He said they just ignore what is done in the National and go about their own Chapter business. Another said there was a proposal sent to the Legislation Liaison Chairman at the National for consideration and nothing was ever heard, not a single word, from anyone about it. That must have had a frustrating effect on the members of that Chapter. The writer commented that everything was centered in the East. I replied that now the main office is in Beavercreek, Ohio, not the East.
Several of my earlier letters have stated there was much dissension and unhappy campers but I am overwhelmed by the degree of this from the letters I get. If everything was right I would not be hearing (again hearsay) these complaints. And I probably would not be writing my Open letters. Again I feel there is a beneficial result to my
letters for this is the only way our members are being heard. I've read all my Graybeards and it is the Official Voice and a very well put together magazine but it is limited in what applies to the Chapters and Members. Someone suggested I personally print a monthly Newsletter. It was a nice thought but after two seconds I made up my mind because that too would be an official K.W.V.A. voice. Besides it's too much work. I also felt that it would be limited as to its content and I prefer to keep writing my Open letters to the benefit of all. Thank you.
With all the new Chapters organized with Sam Naomi's help, we are becoming a larger and hopefully better organization. I hope Sam is being helped financially to cover his expenses and he should be elevated to an official position like "New Chapter Field Coordinator". Someone else suggested this, Sam; I agree. Several Chapters said the only person that they have had any contact with was Sam Naomi. Good job, Sam.
There was a saying in my family that when we started grade school and could spell and write our name by the second grade there was a good chance we would do well in school. Per a copy of a letter I received Oct. 15 there were three misspellings of my last name and I didn't realize it could be done that way. Maybe I should call myself "Big John" again like I was called since I was a teenager. But I prefer to be proper so everybody would know exactly who the writer of my letters is. The correct way to spell my last name is KRONENBERGER. Now that isn't too hard, is it?
Now I just received an e-mail from Florida. Mr. Harley Coon saying to Mr. Tom Gaffney, State Dept. President, and I quote, "Tom, I thought that you were a better man than you are. How much do you pay these guys to do your work?" Unquote. It appears that Mr. Coon doesn't believe a man of Mr. Gaffney's stature can speak or do for himself. I believe this is another attempt to belittle another Member by this remark. Knowing Mr. Gaffney's background as I do, as a highly intelligent individual, he is more than qualified to speak for himself. And again, Mr. Gaffney refers to the fact that the Dept. of Florida and all the Chapters adhere to the Right of Free Speech and they do not censor or limit information to their Members.
I was advised to refer to a Congressional Act that was passed to protect the right of free speech and criticism about any thing or anybody in public office and that includes private organizations of which the K.W.V.A. is one. We can criticize the police, companies, and even the President of the United States but as Commander-in-Chief Mr. Bush does not deserve to be criticized but thanked for doing a good job. We do not live in a dictatorship and Heaven help us if we have to conduct ourselves as if we did.
It was suggested I forward the letter titled "KWVA, Crossing the line." I hope you all received it . I was happy to see that Mr. Jake Feaster does not believe in censorship as suggested by Mr. Coon. It appears Mr. Coon likes to bring up old issues that should have been laid to rest a long time ago. My
letters, even though they include articles from many reliable sources (hearsay) are dealing with the more important matters that affect us all as members in the K.W.V.A.
I must repeat again what I write is what others have told me and what I have read in the Graybeards. My message is clear we are living in a Democracy and we do have our freedoms and one is that I have a right to say what I want. Now Mr. Coon is trying to restrict what others can do. I now ask, are these the proper actions of a leader of a Veterans group? For some time I felt like Mr. Coon picked me out to vent his wrath on but from the messages received he has several others he is seriously opposed to. (Not hearsay.) We do have an Official Election coming up next year and at that time we can voice our feelings by voting.
Please acknowledge receiving this letter and your personal opinion would be greatly appreciated.
Freedom is not free, and it never was.
Respectfully, John Kronenberger