A Valentines Wish for Our VA Health Care


For Valentines Day, veterans from across the nation showed their appreciation for our health care by letting people know on social media.

#SaveOurVA #VeteransForPeace



Check out the Save Our VA information from VFP-National

Background on VA Privatization

There are 22 million veterans in America. Of those 22 million, 9 million are enrolled in VA care, and 7 million get some or all of their care in VA hospitals. In addition, there are 45,000 vacant positions at VA hospitals across America. Most are vacant doctor, nurse & mental health positions. As VA vacancies go up, vet care goes down.

Since 2014, when the CHOICE program began, millions of vets have been sent into the private healthcare sector, and nearly 40% of all outpatient doctor visits have been routed into private healthcare. Many vets are dissatisfied with CHOICE and wait times for some vets are as long or longer in the private sector than they are at the VA.


Check out the Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute

The Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute, formerly Fighting for Veterans Healthcare, provides a platform for voices of veterans who want to preserve and improve veterans healthcare; conducts and disseminates objective research and information about veterans healthcare; and explores and analyzes innovative ways to improve veterans healthcare.

The care we veterans get is focused in many ways on the unique challenges that veterans face:  what it was like to be in combat and intense situations like that, post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, exposure to chemicals like Agent Orange, exposure to depleted uranium and exposure to a multitude of chemical from the burn pits.

Study after study has shown that we like the VA and that the quality of care is better than private care.

The profiteers and their puppets seek to privatize our health care for the same reason they want to privatize the schools, the Post Office, the prisons, utilities and other assets that belong to Americans: they want to take our assets and they want to take them at the lowest possible prices.

I’m not letting go of what is mine so that some billionaires and some politicians can get richer.
If and when, privatization is accomplished, veterans will not get endless care. There will be vouchers or similar methods to limit care, much more so than today. It will become more and more about balancing budgets. It will become the same debate that they like to have with safety net programs. “We can’t afford this.” It’s a game called ‘starve the beast.’ Which is just an extension of the rich getting richer while the rest suffer.

For those who still want private care, fine, but don’t destroy our VA in order to get your care. The VA has had ways of getting private care for veterans when needed, all along.





Soldiers: A Song by Harvey Taylor

Harvey Taylor was one of the musical artists on the program for The 100th anniversary of Armistice Day observed  in the Milwaukee City Hall rotunda on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Take a look at his video for the song “Soldiers.” The video is the work of Harvey and Susan Ruggles.

Link to Youtube video “Soldiers” by Harvey Taylor

Like me, you will find some familiar faces.  – Brad Geyer

Link to Harvey Taylor Website

Armistice Day Art Pieces for Veterans for Peace

“In everything you do, Let it be like Art.”

Amanda Zehren explains that her art is a tool to be used to spread love and humanity. “I work with many mediums and almost all of my artwork is inspired by nature.”


In Milwaukee, Amanda made her chalk drawing on November 10th for a ceremony on November 11th:

Celebrate Peace, Not War, on Armistice Day.

 Veterans for Peace-Milwaukee on Facebook

“Armistice Day, the annual holiday held on Nov. 11, was a day to celebrate the end of a bloody war and promote world peace. But since it became Veterans Day, it often seems to be more of a celebration and display of militarism. This year, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, is a time to reclaim the day for peace. ..” – Bill Christofferson served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam and is a member of Milwaukee Chapter 102 of Veterans for Peace.

Milwaukee: Celebrate Peace, Not War, on Armistice Day

Speakers at the event: *Reggie Jackson, head griot of America’s Black Holocaust Museum *Janan Najeeb, president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition *John LaForge, co-director of Nukewatch

Facebook Video of Reggie Jackson

Youtube video of Janan Najeeb

Youtube video of John LaForge

The Grass is Greener-2018-11-03 Amanda Zehren: Art for Armistice Day
Amanda is a professional artist who does competitive sidewalk murals. We talk about her planned recreation of the iconic “Flower Power” photo outside Milwaukee City Hall, which she will be installing the afternoon before.

Riverwest Radio interviewing Amanda about the chalk art in Milwaukee for Artmistice Day

Co-sponsors of the Milwaukee event: Veterans for Peace-Milwaukee Chapter 102, Peace Action-Wisconsin, United Nations Assn. of Greater Milwaukee, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Greater Milwaukee Green Party, Unitarian Universalist Church-West, Progressive Democrats of America, Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, Democratic Socialists of America Milwaukee chapter, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Milwaukee End the Wars Committee, UWM Military and Veterans Resource Center, Milwaukee Turners, Inc., Milwaukee National Lawyers Guild, Wisconsin Poor People’s Campaign, Nukewatch, and Wis. Network for Peace, Justice and Sustainability.

It was a cold, cold windy day but she persisted.


“The event is a reminder that Nov. 11 – now a day to honor veterans – was established as a day to promote world peace. World War I, the “war to end all wars” ended on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Twenty million soldiers and civilians had been killed, and almost an equal number wounded.”



This chalk art piece is after a famous photograph called “Flower Power.” The photo was taken by Bernie Boston on October 21, 1967 during an antiwar march on the Pentagon. A man is seen placing carnations into the barrels of the rifles of a military police battalion.

Flowers, Guns and an Iconic Snapshot

Makes me wonder if there were chambered rounds in those rifles.

Amanda Zehren Chalk Art Finished piece – Milwaukee Nov10,2018

On November 11th, the Barrymore Theatre in Madison  hosted a live music show

The Greatest War. 

The Greatest War examines why this history is relevant today in a multimedia, live music exploration presenting new music featuring the music and lyrics of The Kissers, Sean Michael Dargan, November Criminals, and The Viper and His Famous Orchestra and graphic art in the background to help tell the story.

The team that produced the event:  Ken Fitzsimmons, John Wedge, Sean Michael Dargan, Jason Fassl, Leslie DeBauche and Yvette Pino.

More music and pictures leading up to the event.

Amanda begins her chalk art drawing in Madison.

“On November 11, 2018 Madison, Wisconsin will join [ed] the world in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War One. Presenting new music inspired by the “The War to End War,” this rock ‘n’ roll history show will explore the conflict and the effect it has had on Wisconsinites then and now. 21 songs about the people and events will be performed in front of a giant video wall displaying photographs, film, and newspaper headlines from the time. Songs will often be introduced through readings of letters and diaries from people overseas and at home.” – Greatest War Website

Armistice Day was originally a day to celebrate peace and an end to war. Veterans for Peace sees this as the best way to honor veterans.  The goal of war should be to end war, that especially is the goal of those who serve.

 I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.  – Dwight D. Eisenhower

The 100th Anniversary of the End of All Wars


Join Vets for Peace

“We want generations after us to never know the destruction war has wrought on people and the earth.

Veterans For Peace is calling on everyone to stand up for peace this Armistice Day. More than ever, the world faces a critical moment. Tensions are heightened around the world and the U.S. is engaged militarily in multiple countries, without an end in sight.

Here at home we have seen the increasing militarization of our police forces and brutal crackdowns on dissent and people’s uprisings against state power. We must press our government to end reckless military interventions that endanger the entire world. We must build a culture of peace.

This Armistice Day, Veterans For Peace calls on the U.S. public to say no to more war and to demand justice and peace, at home and abroad. We know Peace is Possible and call for an end to all oppressive and violent policies, and for equality for all people.”


An American soldier wearing a helmet declaring “peace”, relaxes during the troop’s return to South Vietnam after operations in Cambodia.

Peace Helmet, the finished chalk art piece by Amanda Zehren

You can reach Amanda Zehren


Art by Amanda [Facebook]

Amada explains her story

“My art story starts with my first grade teacher approaching my mother and telling her, “You know Amanda is a wonderful Artist. She puts details in her drawings much more so than all of her classmates.” She showed my mom a picture I drew and stated, ” Look at the eyelashes so beautifully drawn.”

Soon after that encounter with Miss Krein, my mom gave me my first sketch book. I even remember the way that book felt in my hands. I started it at age 6 and finished it at age 12. Every year my pictures getting more and more detailed as I practiced. Creating things with my hands has always come easy to me like a magical power. “Chuckle”, if only everything else about life was so easy. Life on the other hand has been incredibly hard and choosing to see the beauty of the world around me rather than the suffocating doom is what has made my life beautiful and unique.

My family supported me so much growing up. They were always awe struck by what I did, showering me with compliments. It was all of those compliments and encouragement that kept me going, kept me drawing, practicing, wanting more. There was never a time in my life when I wasn’t the Artist. I ate art for breakfast and lived on the high of making people smile. In high school I would skip lunches to go up to another class my Art teacher was instructing. All of my Art teachers welcomed me, taught me and made it so that my creative freedom would be limitless.

My Senior year in high school was made up of all Art classes with the exception of one math class. Art and Earth Science were the only classes I got straight A’s in. As is with anything you love the most, it was what I was best at and most hungry to learn about.

Now here I am as a mother doing my Art right along side my also incredibly artistic family. Hungry to learn, create and spread joy through my Art. In my Art you see all the many things I love. It personifies who I am and what I feel so deeply. My Art is my expression of the world I see in it’s endless and magical God created beauty. I’m beginning to get used to the idea of selling my art, although it’s hard for me. I’ve always gotten so much joy out of giving my art away for free. It’s my favorite way to spread love and humanity. Love and humanity is so desperately needed in this world today.

If I can make the world a better place through art, there is no stopping the art that is inside of me. So here I am and here I strive on to become an artist of the fullest potential fulfilling my destiny the universe has created for me.”

More from Veterans for Peace-National on Armistice Day History

“The Greatest War” Multi-media Event Marks the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice

Andy Moore of the Isthmus : Link to Isthmus article

“On Nov. 11, the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, a battalion of Madison musicians will take the stage at the Barrymore Theatre for an original stage show called “The Greatest War: World War I, Wisconsin, and Why It Still Matters.” The ambitious production is largely the brainchild of local Celt-rocker Ken Fitzsimmons, who approached the project with a level of determination that Sir Douglas Haig himself would approve of.

Co-producers John Wedge and Ken Fitzsimmons trying out a smaller version of a video wall at Blizzard Lighting in Waukesha Pic by Sean Michael Dargan

Fitzsimmons has a life-long interest in WWI starting, he remembers, as a young man who noticed a paltry row of books on the subject in a bookstore compared to the volumes on the Civil War and World War II. He calls the Nov. 11 production “a “live rock ’n’ roll history show.” It’s the result of more than a year of research, composing and rehearsal. Onstage, Fitzsimmons and his band the Kissers will be joined by, among others, Sean Michael Dargan (Get Back Wisconsin) and Milwaukee’s hip-hop polka group November Criminals. While the musicians perform, a large screen will feature photos, film, art and newspaper archives.

Video Screen for Greatest War

The songs tell the stories of Wisconsinites who were caught in the cauldron of war. Not all were in the trenches. “Traitor State” tells the story of how nine of 11 of Wisconsin’s U.S. congressional representatives voted against going to war. Fitzsimmons wrote this song as a conversation between himself (playing the role of Wisconsin) and his band members (who represent the rest of the country). ”

“Music has a direct line into your heart. And in the live setting we can provide a performance without distraction. What I want in this concert more than anything is to foster a sense of connection between the audience and those who lived during this extraordinary time.”
– Ken Fitzsimmons

“One hundred years ago the world celebrated peace as a universal principle. The first World War had just ended and nations mourning their dead collectively called for an end to all wars. Armistice Day was born and was designated as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated.” After World War II, the U.S. Congress decided to rebrand November 11 as Veterans Day. Honoring the warrior quickly morphed into honoring the military and glorifying war. Armistice Day was flipped from a day for peace into a day for displays of militarism.” – Veterans for Peace

The names of the Wisconsin soldiers who lost their lives.

The War Won

By Ken Fitzsimmons. This uses a melody from Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto written in the aftermath of the war and builds on a quote by WWI poet Edmund Blunden that no one could win the war, “the War Won, and would keep on winning.” Images are taken from the National Archives. This is an example of the video that will be displayed behind the musicians for The Greatest War: World One, Wisconsin, and Why It Still Matters.

WKOW news coverage

“Madisonians helped mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I by holding a number of events. The war affected millions of people, including several soldiers, nurses, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who came from Wisconsin.

The events have something for everyone, as they honor those who sacrificed and were impacted by the war. There’s art, film screenings, live theater and musical performances.

The centerpiece of the events is a live “Rock and Roll History Show” at the Barrymore Theatre called, “The Greatest War: World War One, Wisconsin and Why It Still Matters.”

“Wisconsin is very much a state known for it’s wide range of politics. It sometimes very conservative and sometimes very liberal at the same time and that was true back then as well,” said Ken Fitzsimmons, the director of the show.” WKOW

Greatest War Youtube Channel

More info on Veterans Day/Armistice Day from Vets for Peace 

Additional pictures from the Greatest War Event, most of which we would like to thank  Jennifer Brown Dargan for.