My fellow Mariners we just got the word that all effort to have some 30,000 coastwise mariners from WWII gain recognition as veterans has been torpedoed and we have lost the battle. Our own congress did what the enemy couldn't do to our mariners. They turned their back on their own and put us up on the beach. They also did this behind closed doors and via staff procedures vice on the Senate/House floor for all to see.
What can be said about those that stand up for our country when they were needed; only to be keelhauled by those that purport to support them? What can be said about those that use the veteran platform, with all types of promises on their journey to congress, only to cut them adrift when they launch their career? What can be said of those who use misinformation to state their reason to not support them and use the same info to sink it when it does have a chance to make it out of congress? What can be said when they destroy the chance of some 30,000 mariners to gain recognition as veterans at no cost to our government?
This just happened to our Congressional bill, “WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act” that was amended into the House National Defense Authorization Act and a proposed Senate amendment to the Senate National Defense Authorization Act. Both were set for review; and through this backdoor staff committee of individuals from both Veterans’ Affairs Committees.
Information received indicates that some staff members of the committee objected to the language contained in the bill and decided against it. Perhaps that may have been the language that described the necessity to use alternative methods of recognition to assist these mariners to obtain their due recognition as veterans. Or the Language to replace documents that were destroyed/denied by predecessors of the Agencies these staffers represent. Perhaps it was the language that would have provided information that would have identified that some assertions made by Senate members may have been in fact misinformation that was used to put us on the beach.
Some 30 thousand mariners and the many tens of thousands of their descendants will not find closure for their loved ones that our Congress had in their hands to make available but failed to deliver. This travesty will not even make the history books and will be lost to oblivion as these mariners seemed to be. A shame I hope many will know,bare and remember.