Also also wik: My Left Wing

My father served in the United States Merchant Marines during World War II.

The Merchant Marines, who were civilians, did the job of getting all the supplies and equipment needed for the war from the USA to basically everywhere.

During World War II the fleet was in effect nationalized, that is, the U.S. Government controlled the cargo and the destinations, contracted with private companies to operate the ships, put guns and Navy personnel (Armed Guard) on board. The Government trained the men to operate the ships and assist in manning the guns through the U.S. Maritime Service.

Naturally the merchant fleet was a tempting target, and Mariners suffered the highest casualty rates of any service. 1 in 26 Mariners did not come home alive. The job was more lethal than being in the Marines! My father survived, which is why I am here to write this diary about how America thanked the Mariners, so many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice: America did absolutely NOTHING. And thanks to Republicans like Larry Craig (R-Idaho), the few remaining survivors will continue to get NOTHING.

(but remember, Dems are anti-military, right?)

“[Mariners] have written one of its most brilliant chapters. They have delivered the goods when and where needed in every theater of operations and across every ocean in the biggest, the most difficult and dangerous job ever undertaken. As time goes on, there will be greater public understanding of our merchant’s fleet record during this war [World War II].”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt

During World War II President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised mariners of the U.S. Merchant Marine, and Army Transport Service veteran status and a Seaman’s Bill of Rights. His promises died with him.

The military personnel got the GI Bill, and Mariners like my father got nothing. He got no benefits of any kind. In 1988, Congress passed a bill which President Clinton signed: “Besides recognition, the mariner is entitled to a grave stone, flag for his coffin, and burial in a National Cemetery.” “Where available, the U.S. Coast Guard, on request, will provide an Honor Guard for Merchant Mariner Veterans’ funeral services.” My father passed away in 1973. There was no honor guard, no flag, no national cemetery.

Last summer, two Democrats — you know, the evil military-hating bastards? — introduced a bill in Congress known as H.R. 23 and S. 1272: Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2005.

The bill provides $1,000 per month to WWII mariners (average age 81) or their widows in lieu of benefits not received after World War II. The Bill also gives Social Security credit for time served in the the merchant marine, like the credit given to others who served in the Army or Navy.

The bill was introduced by Bob Filner (D-California) and Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska). As of right, now the bill has 242 cosponsors [171 Democrats, 70 Republicans, 1 Independent]. (See again how the Democrats are against Veterans and the Military?)

In the US Senate this bill is being blocked by Larry Craig, R-Idaho, chair of the Veterans Affairs committee.

That has been the struggle for Filner and Nelson – the bills are bogged down in the veterans’ affairs committees of both chambers.

“Sen. Craig is not supportive of the legislation,” said Jeff Schrade, communication director for the Senate Committee of Veterans’ Affairs, which Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, chairs, “But there may be a hearing on it next year.

Among other things Senator Craig is unhappy that the cost of the bill would be over $30 million per year. That is 0.007% of the cost of our military budget neglecting the current war appropriations bills and the budget for the NSA and CIA. So you can see from this how consistently Republicans are always for veterans even if it means making sacrifices. Right? (It’s a trick question, don’t worry!)

You may urge your Congresscritters to thank America’s Mariners through this link:…

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