Letter to the Editor

Veteran still won't contribute

Friday, November 5, 2004

To the editor:

I would like to present another viewpoint contrary to John V. Halter's recent letter. I am another veteran who has no regard for the Red Cross for the way it treated servicemen.

Surely Secretary of Defense Stimson's letter requesting the Red Cross to charge for coffee and doughnuts served to our men was not delivered as an ultimatum. The Red Cross retained the privilege of charging or not charging. The Red Cross charged because it wanted to charge.

A returned veteran told me how he had become separated from his unit in the push north in Italy. He had a Red Cross worker remove the coffee and doughnuts after having served him because he had no money. He went away hungry.

While in the Air Force, I picked up the mail of the Red Cross, because its office was adjacent to ours. Each day I carried back loan papers from the men who had to sign interest-bearing notes for money the Red Cross advanced to go on emergency leave.

On payday, I drew $92 that was to last all month. The Red Cross wanted to raise money. A jar was on the desk where the first sergeant made sure each man "donated" so his unit would be 100 percent. My dollar extracted under these intimidating conditions was sorely needed elsewhere.

I promised myself I would never again give to the Red Cross. I have been true that that promise for 50 years.

DON BOYD, Cape Girardeau