I received this from the Navy League today about 15 more senators needed to pass a bill to award the merchant mariners of WW2 the Congressional Gold Medal if any one is interested.
Since most of them are dead now I’d be surprised if 15 senators are found. Not enough votes to pander to. Now if they Navy League would make a few million in campaign contributions that might change.
The article says there’s only about 2,000 WW2 merchant mariners still alive which I find to be a low number even for members of the Greatest Generation. At first I imagined the remaining mariners would be too gruff to want the medal it being 70 years too late but then I remembered the people from that generation that I know are really positive people & prehaps some of the 2,000 still want it. It took less than a minute to send the pre-written letter to my Senators so I figured what the heck. I know the Honor Air chapter in my home town would send any recipients to DC free of charge if they want to & are able to go.
Regrettably I have seen this sort of thing play out a number of times in the past. Many will sign on to such things for the PR but rarely are there enough to bring it to some kind of vote. I wonder if some who signed on aren’t working in the background to stall it out.
They did it over here:
And now they have:
My late father was a WW II mariner. Crossed the Atlantic a few times, got one ship sunk out from under him . He then sailed in the Pacific until the end of the war. They were promised full GI benefits but got nothing. They suffered more casualties than any other service. There is a moving memorial at Battery Park all mariners should see. Twice a day a bronze mariner drowns. I hope it’s been maintained.
My Dad to his credit didn’t join the US Maritime Service for any future gain but lost some faith in government when the promise of veteran benefits to the Martime Service was broken. Later, when I complained about my problems with the VA, it being under funded and a long wait for care he said, “You’re surprised? I’ve been waiting for 40 years for nothing.”
Many WW II merchant mariners got their ships torpedoed and sunk under them, were shot at with no means of fighting back, got rescued, and went right back out without a pause. The fearless bastards have my utmost respect. Medals are pretty and congratulatory certificates are just words on paper, they don’t mean much. You can fill a drawer full of them just for doing your job. Real recognition consists of delivering on the promises of real benefits. Not enough people can connect to that era to make it happen and Congress is very busy concentratong on more weighty matters like their passive participation in the current gridlock.
What pisses me off about our nation forgetting these men who risked or gave their lives for their country is we haven’t forgotten but mostly don’t care instead. After the war ended up until today, their sacrifices are common knowledge to most educated people. Its not classified info. The first time I heard about it was when I was a kid in the back seat of our car listening to a Paul Harvey clip. Paul Harvey told the whole world & I figured that would be the end of it & it would be straighten out soon enough. Nope. The government is probably waiting until so many of them die that they can all fit in a single bus for logistics purposes?
I filled in my name & sent the letters to my Senators. I don’t do Facebook but I forwarded it to my wife & she put it on hers. I guess that is about all that we can do.
It’s freaking amazing because the bill has finally passed both the House & Senate after 70 years! It will probably take another 140 years to get the WW2 merchant mariner veterans any GI or VA money but all we can do is keep trying. Thanks to any who wrote their Senators!
The article from the Navy League is in the Dec 20 weekly update. It has to go back to the House for some rewording then to the POTUS.
Thank you Sand_Pebble. I have been a strong advocate for this as well. Thank you so much for your help. I knew this would bring attention to the strong need for US Merchant Marine and the Jones Act when it turns 100 next year. People on this forum bashed me when I tried to explain how the entire fleet was taken over by our government in WWII and so many did not have a clue as to what I was talking about. Now it will be known nationally. If our own mariners did not know, the world will now know! THIS IS A MOVEMENT AND PROUD TO BE A PART OF IT. THANK YOU gCAPTAIN’s JOHN KONRAD FOR YOUR HELP. Sheila M. Sova Proud Daughter of WWII USMM and Korean War Army Veteran
Edit, nevermind. Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of merchant mariners.
Gee we have about 300 in the American Merchant Marine Veterans organization and I personally know several dozen of them. We are going to D.C. for the presentation of the Gold Medal.Not sure the exact date but in the spring. You can count on me to tell Congress how poorly these men were treated!
Say what now? As I recall, you had to be educated about that very point.
I’m glad you came around, Merry Christmas!
I wonder if when they get around to giving that medal one could obtain one for those that died before the decision was made to award the medal? I’d like more information. It would mean a great deal to the spouses of those WWII mariners, my mom among them.
100% correct!! Quote the numbers & admit the award is 70 years too late! The ones who should have been given the medal drowned or carried on afterwards with their families by themselves. We can’t fix the past but the least we can do is admit the errors. It doesn’t cost anyone anything.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE. The AMMV (American Merchant Marine Veterans) made the official announcement that the Congressional Gold Medal is passed once it goes to the POTUS desk in January. I have been working with the Maritime Congress, Navy League and staffers of Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Garamendi. When I asked the same question about accepting a Gold Medal in honor of a mariner who has “crossed the bar” this is the word from them is that medals can be purchased posthumously.
The legislation itself does not contain any language restricting the number of duplicates that can be made or the number that can be purchased. All is does say is that after the bill is signed into law, the Secretary of the Treasury is supposed to issue regulations regarding the sale and setting the price of the duplicate medals. Consequently, unless the regulations say something different, there should be no problem if you want to purchase a medal
I have worked for five years to get some kind of recognition for the WWII USMM and it is a great gift to have great news by Christmas. I suggest you all watch for the press release that the the unions will be posting as they have been signing letters along with hundreds of maritime companies that went to Congress. I will know more as we get closer.
Your wife needs to go to the Facebook pages that are sharing all the information regarding the Congressional Gold Medal. First there is the American Merchant Marine Veterans - AMMV and another Facebook group called WWII US Merchant Marine page that several veterans and sons and daughters of veterans belong to.
On March 13th 2020 the President finally signed it after receiving it from Congress. It’s official.
Wonder how many are still living,
One still teaches at SUNY Maritime… 96 years old, started shipping in 1941.