Rolling Thunder Executive Director Artie Muller, President Gary Scheffmeyer, Vice President Lynne Jenks and National Legislative Director Ted Shpak were invited to the White House on May 22 ahead of the group’s 22nd annual Memorial Day rally.
The Rolling Thunder executives met with Matt Flavin, Veteran/Military Family Liason for the White House to discuss their concerns such as the need to continue searching for live POWs and MIAs, and the improper discharge classifications of the armed forces returning from Iraq.
The President stopped briefly during the 90-minute meeting to join in the discussion. Scheffmeyer explained to the President the problems veterans are having with the Veteran’s Administration, such as large backlogs on claims and long waiting periods for appointments with doctors in the VA healthcare system. Rolling Thunder says the President intends to increase funding for the VA to address those issues.
“We’re very pleased to have been invited to meet with the President,” says Muller. “We have met with previous administrations and are grateful that our new president has demonstrated, in just a short time, a genuine appreciation of and concern for our military personnel,
“Unfortunately, decades after the wars have ended, we still have thousands of service personnel unaccounted for in Russia, Korea, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. And we still have a young man – Ahmad Altaie – missing from Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Muller added. “It’s as important today as it was 22 years ago when we started our Memorial Day demonstration. We cannot let people forget that there are families who still wait for the return of their loved ones. We appreciate President Obama’s willingness to listen to our message.”
The Rolling Thunder officials asked the President to thank First Lady Michelle Obama for her support of military families and donated a POW/MIA flag to the White House.
In 2008, former President George W. Bush met with Rolling Thunder officials who presented him with a cowhide vest and making him an honorary member of their organization.