News from the Week of of August 27th​

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Last weekend America lost one of her very best. Senator John McCain, patriot and statesman, passed away on August 25th at his home in Arizona. McCain will be remembered for his unwavering love of country and devotion to duty. As we pause for a moment to grieve, we reflect on how he inspired our work and how best we can carry on his legacy of honor, service, and above all else, moral courage. From Senator McCain’s farewell statement:

“Do not despair of our present difficulties, we believe always in the promise and greatness of America because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit, we never surrender, we never hide from history, we make history.”

In other news, VFAI leader Andrea Goldstein published her first piece in The New York Times this week. She wrote of women in war -- their barriers to entering the armed forces, the challenges they face once enlisted, and the many (sometimes forgotten) roles they take on.

In 1948, the year that women were first accepted as regular members of the armed forces, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower testified before the House Armed Services Committee that he was initially ‘horror struck’ by the idea of women in the military but changed his mind after he saw them in action…He and his staff were stunned by the finding that they performed better than all-male units.


In recent weeks, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials called for higher numbers of refugee resettlement in a letter to the Trump Administration. Signed by 270 local and state politicians from 42 of the 50 U.S. states, the group requests that 75,000 refugees be admitted in the coming fiscal year. In Fiscal Year 2018, the United States is on track to resettle only about 25,000 refugees—significantly lower than the 45,000 the current administration allotted and miles behind the traditional resettlement numbers in the 80,000-100,000 range.

As President Trump prepares to announce a new Presidential Determination for Fiscal Year 2019 (which begins October 1st) this letter demonstrates the strong bipartisan support for refugees throughout the country.


Finally, as summer comes to a simmering end, VFAI is gearing up for several September events in Washington, D.C. Visit our Facebook page to learn more:

  • September 11th: “Service to Stage”: On 9/11, known as Day of Service and Remembrance, Veterans for American Ideals, Service Year Alliance and Armed Services Arts Partnership have teamed up for a special storytelling performance. Our emcee is the incredible Melissa Fitzgerald, actress (The West Wing) and the director of the Advancing Justice Initiative at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. The show will feature seven perspectives on service from three veterans, two service year alumni, and two of our wartime allies (Special Immigrant Visa recipients) from Iraq and Afghanistan. Each storyteller has completed intensive training with Story District to hone their true, compelling story of service, which they will share on the DC Improv stage. Tickets are available here.
  • September 13th : Please join Human Rights First and the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) for an afternoon discussion on how humanitarian, rights-respecting approaches to the refugee crisis support U.S. interests. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will highlight an accomplished group of former government officials and national security experts who will address the strategic implications of U.S. refugee policies.
  • September 18th:  VFAI, in partnership with First Amendment Voice and the Sustained Dialogue Insitute, present “Difficult Conversations: The Art and Science of Thinking Together.”  The workshop explores a powerful set of principles and strategies that will allow us to engage in meaningful dialogue with anyone—regardless of economic, social, political and ideological differences.  The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.