22 October 2017
From 9 to 12 November 2017 WVF President, Mr. Dan-Viggo Bergtun, went to the United States to help set up the Standing Committee on the Americas and participate in various events organised in the region of Washington DC for 11 November.
This short visit was extremely fruitful. Mr. Bergtun was welcomed by Mr. Saif Khan, President of the American Veterans Committee and Acting Chairman of the WVF Standing Committee on the Americas, on 10 November.
Mr. Bergtun was invited by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to take part in a presentation of veterans’ needs for work integration after mission, followed by a panel discussion.
Later that day, Mr. Bergtun was invited to the Veterans Appreciation Reception in VCU Alumni Military Veterans Alumni Council to be one of the Keynote Speakers. Mr. Kahn, who is also president of the VCU Alumni Military Veterans Council, hosted the meeting. Mr. Bergtun’s notes were focused on international cooperation across borders and exchange of experience in the field of veteran health and welfare.
Mr. Bergtun also had the chance to meet with Commissioner John L. Newby in Virginia Department of Veterans Services (https://www.dvs.virginia.gov/d…/dvs-commissioner-john-newby/) and learned about how they work for veterans (some 800 000 in Virginia).
On 11 November, Mr. Bergtun and Mr. Khan went to Washington to take part in various events for Veterans Day 2017. The first event was at the Armed Forces Retirement Home for Veterans, which hosts some 1 600 veterans – some have been living there for more than 15 years. They also had the chance to meet the Mayor of Washington, Mrs. Bowser, to brief her on the WVF and the Standing Committee on Americas.
They then took the opportunity to have lunch at Applebees Grill-Bar, which offers free food for all 22 million American veterans on the Veterans Day. A superb initiative.
Many events were held, the main one being National Veterans Day observation at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, where Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech to those in attendance.
Mr. Kahn later took Mr. Bergtun to various events where they met a lot of veterans who were celebrating the Day. They also established good contacts with Commanders from AMVETS (American Veterans), Member Association of the WVF. They discussed the reestablishment of the Standing Committee and they offered their support. Mr. Kahn will make further contact with them to ensure their participation in this project. Mr. Herrera and Mr. Thomas are doing a fantastic job for their 250 000 members.
Mr. Bergtun would like to thank Mr. Khan and all of his family for their warm hospitality and for his efforts in reestablishing the WVF in the field of American veterans.