by Joe Parker
As we enter 2018 we're now only two years away from BVA’s 75th anniversary. We need to remember why we exist to do the work we do and how important it is to many veterans. I think the BVA seal is a good place to start. It has history, definition, and significance to the members of the organization, especially those that suffered their loss of vision due to injuries while serving their country.
During a meeting between President Harry S. Truman and the early leaders of the Blinded Veterans Association held in the Oval Office on April 12, 1948, President Truman presented BVA with its official seal.
In accepting the insignia, BVA National President Jack Brady offered remarks that further explain BVA's seal. President Brady said, "In this emblem we have tried to express a fact which paradoxically became clearer to us through blindness. Through our years of hospitalization and our close association since that time, we have acquired an insight into the equality of men which we only wish we could pass on to all our fellow citizens. We have learned that discrimination as to color and creed has no foundation in fact. Blinded veterans have accepted each other simply as fellow human beings with a common problem. When you cannot see, you accept the man you meet on an equal basis, free of all reaction to the color of his skin and of all prejudice as to his religious belief."
Description of the BVA Seal’s Elements
To picture the emblem, think of a sculptured disc. The face of the disc is a composite of layered symbols inside a red-bordered circle.
- White, fluffy clouds form the base.
- The next layer features a five-pointed star with each point reaching out to the edge of the circle representing the five branches of the Armed Forces.
- To the left of the top point is a blue Star of David and to the right a blue Christian Cross representing the unity of creeds.
- A red broken bayonet runs vertically, centered in the upper portion of the five-pointed star, and stands for blindness resulting from a war injury.
- The top layer of the composite depicts a brown arm reaching from the right and a white arm reaching from the left. In the middle of the emblem, the arms meet in a handshake symbolizing the unity of races.
- Under the hands and the broken point of the bayonet are the blue capital letters "B", "V", and "A", representing the name “Blinded Veterans Association”.
- Around the outside of the red border is the name: “BLINDED VETERANS ASSOCIATION”.