Co-Chair, Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus, GOTV Military Coordinator; Chair, DA UK Political Book Club

  • published VMF Fourth Newsletter in News 2021-06-05 05:52:17 -0400

    VMF Fourth Newsletter

    MARGRATEN ON MEMORIAL DAY AND EVERY DAY

    By Roberta Enschede, DA The Netherlands

    Margraten

    “If ever proof were needed that we fought for a cause and not for conquest,

    it could be found in these cemeteries. Here was our only conquest: 

    all we asked ....was enough.....soil in which to bury our gallant dead.”

    Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark

    Sadly, this year like last, there can be no public ceremony at Margraten on Memorial Day.   The thousands of people - grandparents, parents, children, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, veterans who come year after year will not be there to put a flower or a bouquet on the grave of “their soldier” or a handful of pebbles on a white marble Star of David. 

    Yet, even though they can’t be there, their memories and thoughts, like mine, will be in the rolling land of Limburg where we “buried our gallant dead.” Perhaps they’ll tell friends a story about “their soldier,” the young hero the family adopted. Perhaps they’ll say a prayer or look at a book of old photos.  Maybe they’ll think about how they felt when they had the privilege to lay a wreath during the Memorial Day Ceremony.  Maybe they’ll remember when they were Scouts and walked around and placed a Dutch and American flag in front of each grave.

    The more you go to Margraten, the more meaningful it becomes. When I’m there, I always stop at the grave of Robert van Klinken. He was a young soldier whose parents were Dutch immigrants and who died in the land of their birth. I visit the grave of Willie James, an African-American soldier who posthumously was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President  Barack Obama. I walk over to the grave of Major General Maurice Rose, the highest ranking soldier buried in Margraten and the most decorated. 

    Before I leave, I find some of the graves of the Timberwolves -  the 104th Infantry.  I was fortunate enough to get to know some of their comrades who made it out of the war and made a point of returning to Margraten for as long as they were able to travel. My Timberwolf  friends are all gone now - those funny, feisty, smart, wise, courageous men. I could always feel how they cared for each other. Sometimes, they acted like teenagers who won a ballgame, slapping and laughing. Sometimes, I could feel their sadness and I knew they were asking themselves: why was I lucky? Why is he here and not me?  One fellow, a jeweler from LA, would say, “Margraten, that’s my church.” Another tall lanky gentleman, an architect from Kansas, would amble over to the graves of his comrades and come back with tears filling his eyes. He’d tell his soldier buddies, “I said hello.”

    I would stand to the side and just watch and listen. They were in a world only another soldier could understand.

    The ancient words of Pericles are carved in the white marble of Margraten. They are especially fitting this year when we are only able to be there in our thoughts and memories.

    "EACH FOR HIS OWN MEMORIAL EARNED

    PRAISE THAT WILL NEVER DIE AND WITH

    IT THE GRANDEST OF ALL SEPULCHRES

    NOT THAT IN WHICH HIS MORTAL BONES

    ARE LAID BUT A HOME IN THE MINDS OF MEN."

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    Help Democrats Abroad Global Black Caucus fight for our democracy in 2021 and beyond.

    Donations of any size will help us "Get Out the Vote" and support the Biden/Harris Administration in the mid-term elections.

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  • rsvped for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand via 2021-06-01 10:19:57 -0400

    U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

     

    SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND KEYNOTES WOMEN’S ECONOMIC FORUM: RESETTING THE U.S. AGENDA FOR WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT

    The return to Democratic leadership has reset the U.S. agenda for women across race, sexual orientation, and geography. This moment calls for bold political, social, and economic investments that lead to shared prosperity and equitable recovery for women.

    Join U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for an important discussion of what is being done, and what must be done, at the Federal and State level to capitalize on this important moment, and to address the policy perspectives we bring as Democrats Abroad.

    Senator from NY since 2009, Gillibrand has led legislative action on numerous issues including sexual assault in the military, child nutrition, childcare for members of the Armed Forces, and parental leave.  

    Our conversation with the Senator will be followed by a panel of leading experts across several issue areas that impact women’s economic status as documented in the 2020 Democrats Abroad Platform and offer policy remedies that root out biases that shut women out.  


    The Panel will examine four issues within the Platform that are key to reversing inequalities for women: Intersectionality, Economic Inequality, Social Safety Net, and Sexual Identity Equality. Featured Panelists:

    Intersectionality: Why Connecting the Dots Matter in the Fight for Women’s Equality - Dr. Ronda Zelezny-Green, Chief Learning Officer, BRK Ujima

    Economic Inequality – Building an Inclusive Economy for the Long Term - Dr. Linda Scott, Emeritus Professor, University Oxford

    Social Welfare: Assuring A Baseline of Support and Security for Women - Dr. C. Nicole Mason, president/CEO, Institute for Women’s Policy Research (WPR)

    The Economic Case for LGBT Equality - Dr. M. V. Lee Badgett, distinguished scholar, the Williams Institute & Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    The Forum, sponsored by the Global Women’s Caucus Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative will be presented virtually on Zoom from 3pm-5pm CET. Forum attendees will be invited to join discussion breakout sessions with our panelists at the conclusion of their presentations. This event is open to all DA members, US elected officials, members of academia, and the global expat community. 

    You won’t want to miss this important exchange with champions of women’s issues.

    Our Event Sponsors

       
       

    Location Local Event Start Time
    Vancouver, Canada 6:00 AM
    Minneapolis, USA 8:00 AM
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    London, UK 2:00 PM
    Frankfurt, Germany 3:00 PM
    Nairobi, Kenya 4:00 PM
    Dubai, UAE 5:00 PM
    Bangkok, Thailand 8:00 PM
    Beijing, China 9:00 PM
    WHEN
    June 26, 2021 at 3pm
    WHERE
    RSVP for connection information
    116 rsvps rsvp

  • donated via 2021-05-14 01:51:51 -0400

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  • published Third Newsletter in News 2021-05-11 07:52:39 -0400

    May Newsletter

    Masthead

    May 2021

    Newsletter

    Vol. 1, No. 3

    Greetings from the Co-Editor

    Nearly 15% of the attempted insurrectionists on January 6 were veterans. Research is consistently indicating that the primary driver for those insurrectionists was fear of the “great replacement,” the belief that the rights of minorities will “overtake” that of Whites. One study by Chicago’s Project on Security and Threats found that for every 1% decline in a county’s White non-Hispanic population over a 5-year period, the county was 6 times more likely to send at least one insurrectionist.

    For example, the Proud Boys, a far-right neo-fascist organization, actively reaches out to and recruits military-trained and police-trained individuals. Evidence indicates they were the predominant leaders of the insurrection, carefully coordinating with other “far-right extremist groups” prior to January 6. Thus far four Proud Boys have flipped and are assisting the FBI, by providing information, for instance, on how they delivered security for Trump advisor Roger Stone in the days around the insurrection.
     
    In surveys the Proud Boys deny being White supremacists and stress that there is no systemic racism in America, and that Black Lives Matter (BLM) supporters and Antifa are the violent forces in the country.
     
    So, where do we go from here? I see four important conclusions:
    • The ingredients currently exist for future political violence.
    • We need a thorough bipartisan investigation into the insurrection, including how it was possible that there was a 58 to 1 ratio of rioters to Capitol Police officers, and why 78 requests for backup were denied or ignored.
    • FBI, National Guard, mayors, law enforcement, the CIA, etc. need better intelligence, communications, and sounder risk analysis of right-wing extremist groups in America.
    • Research is needed to assess the extent radicalization occurs before, during, or after military service and police training.
    I suspect this letter may generate a dialog, and as this newsletter is for you, please send your comments, questions, and thoughts about the letter from the co-editor and VMF-related issues to our Suggestion Box. Send us an article and tell us what you’d like us to write about in future issues, and tell us what you want us to address in our semi-monthly Caucus meetings.  

    Democratically yours, Bob Gould

    Sources:

    Washington Post 4/6/21 What an analysis of Capitol insurrections tells us Here

    Chicago’s Project on Security and Threats (CPOST) Here

    Washington Post 4/15/21 Police at the Capitol Severely Disadvantaged Here

    The Nation 4/7/21 The US Military Is an Extremism Incubator Here

     

     

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  • published Second Newsletter in News 2021-04-27 07:51:16 -0400

    April Newsletter

    Masthead

    April/May 2021

    Newsletter

    Vol. 1, No. 2

     

    UPCOMING VMF CAUCUS MEETINGSACTIVISMFILM RECOMMENDATIONARTICLE
    Greetings from the Editor
    This newsletter is for you. With this in mind, please use our Suggestion Box to provide us with your questions, comments, and thoughts on Caucus business or VMF-related issues. Feel free to let us know what you’d like to see us write about in future issues, send us articles, and tell us what you want us to address in our twice-a-month Caucus meetings.
     
    Georgia's New Voting Laws and How They Affect Everyone:
     
    Before I talk about Georgia’s laws, I would first like to recommend that all overseas voters utilize electronic delivery of their voting materials. Federal law requires that states allow this for elections with federal offices on the ballot and doing so will significantly cut down on the chance that your ballot won’t arrive in time to be counted. Some states, like my state of North Carolina, even allow you to submit your ballot electronically. I recommend looking up your state’s specific rules using votefromabroad.org.
     
    There are bills being considered in state legislatures all around the country that attempt to mirror many of the changes made in Georgia’s election law. We should expect to see similar restrictions on election officials, overseas and military voting, and ballot access pass in many states before the 2022 elections. Here are the most impactful amendments to Georgia’s election laws for military and overseas voters:

    • There will now be two separate requirements to prove your identity when voting absentee. First, officials will compare your name, date of birth, and one of your Georgia Driver’s License number, Georgia State-issued ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number written on an outer “oath envelope” (instructions will be provided to accomplish this when voting using an electronically submitted ballot). Second, you must place a copy of one of the following ID cards in your outer envelope: Georgia Driver’s License, Georgia State-issued photo ID, a valid US passport, a valid Government employee photo ID, a valid US military photo ID, or a valid tribal photo ID. More information on valid IDs can be found here.
    • Signature verification is no longer a part of registering for your absentee ballot. Instead, the registrar or absentee ballot clerk will compare your name, date of birth, and either your Georgia Driver’s License or State-issued ID number to what they have on file. If you do not have one of those two forms of ID, they “shall verify that the identification provided with the application identifies the applicant.” To be safe, I recommend following the provisions linked above.
    • When you complete your registration to receive an absentee ballot, election officials are no longer required to send you your ballot. You must now request your ballot for each primary or election you wish to vote in. However, filling out and submitting the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) will still allow you to request an absentee ballot for every federal election in that calendar year. This is federal law for overseas and military voters (and their families!), so Georgia’s laws cannot circumvent this. Here’s an extra link to the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) guidelines for Georgia.
    • The dates to request absentee ballots have changed in Georgia. Instead of up to 180 days prior to an election, you must now request your absentee ballot between 11 and 78 days prior to the election. Again, using the FPCA will allow you to register in any state at the beginning of the year as normal.
    • Because overseas and military voters are covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), the changes made to when absentee ballots are sent out do not apply if you use the FPCA to request your absentee ballots. All states are required to send out these absentee ballots to overseas/military voters at least 45 days prior to the election if there are federal candidates on the ballot. For other absentee voters, Georgia will send out most absentee ballots between 25 and 29 days before the election.
    • Run-offs in GA will now be held 28 days after the election instead of 9 weeks after. This means that there will be a significant time crunch in returning absentee run-off ballots. A blank run-off ballot will be provided with your election materials, but this may not always be useful if there are a lot of candidates from both parties like we saw in Senator Warnock's election. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for this problem -- many of us may not be able to return ballots in time for run-offs. Use express mail if it's available to you. I don’t know if this part of the law will be successfully challenged in court, but I do strongly believe that it goes against the spirit of the provisions laid out in the UOCAVA.

    Don’t let these changes dishearten you. Keep engaged, keep voting, and make sure your friends and family are voting too. We won 2020 fair and square, and we will do it again. Your voice matters. Your vote matters. Persevere.

    For those who are interested in reading the full text of the bill, here is a link to Georgia SB202. And remember, use the FPCA!

    Mike Nitz, Co-Editor, Global VMF Caucus Secretary, and Veteran

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  • published March Newsletter in News 2021-03-20 11:19:22 -0400

    March Newsletter

    March 2021

    Vol. 1, No. 1

       

    UPCOMING EVENTSACTIVISMFILM RECOMMENDATIONSTAFF ARTICLE

    Letter from the Editor

    This March, the Global VMF Caucus is pleased to share the launching of its first newsletter with the celebration of the personal stories embodied in two themes: Military and Veteran Heroines and Military Caregivers. We welcome you to this first edition and encourage you to join the conversation as we remember, learn about, and celebrate the Women’s History Month with famous females in the military and the history of famous women caregivers who provided care to military service members, personal stories from before the Civil War up to the present.

    First, we celebrate with a passage about Florence Nightingale, who rebelled against her wealthy British parents, and instead of becoming a “proper” high society lady, travelled to Scutari in the Ottoman Empire with 38 volunteer nurses who she had trained to treat the wounded soldiers of the Crimean War. Her greatest contribution was combating disease and death. And although she was not an U.S. citizen, the vivid graphs she made to back her public health campaigns convinced the powerful that deaths due to filth and poor sanitation could be averted - saving countless lives of U.S. allies.

    We also celebrate Mary Edwards Walker, the only woman to ever be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. She was best known as a feminist, abolitionist, and the first female doctor who during the Civil War quickly volunteered to provide medical care for the Union army. She frequently crossed battle lines to assist the wounded, and regularly treated civilians.

     

    This newsletter is dedicated to serving you, and with this in mind, we ask you to use our Suggestion Box to provide us with ideas for future issues. Please let us know what issues you want us to write about as well as items you would like us to address in our twice-a-month VMF caucus meetings.  

    We hope you enjoy this first edition!  

    Bob Gould, Global VMF Caucus Co-Chair and Editor

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  • This inequality makes me feel ashamed to be an American.

    During the past 100 years American women have been trying to gain assurance that the Constitution assures them the same rights as men. The fear of American men to legalize equality for women has been blocking this amendment from being passed. The fact that this inequality still exists in the richest Democratic country in the world, and not in 88% of the countries, makes me feel ashamed to be an American. Women and men would gain significantly from passing the ERA. We all must dedicate ourselves to this fight until equality is enshrined in our Constitution.   Bob Gould - UK resident, voting in CA


  • signed up on Hispanic Caucus Signup 2021-03-14 05:31:04 -0400

  • Biden-Harris Events for Veterans and Military Families

    Letter from Leo Cruz, Biden Campaign Veterans and Military Families Engagement Director

    Friends,

    6 days to take our democracy back.

    Yesterday, Vice President Biden visited Warm Springs, Georgia and delivered remarks focused on unity and healing with one week left before the general election. He later spoke at a second rally in Atlanta, where he urged Georgians to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket. You can watch his full remarks in Warm Springs and Atlanta.

    Today, Joe Biden will receive a briefing from public health experts. After, Vice President Biden will deliver remarks on his plans to beat COVID-19, lower health care costs, and protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. You can watchHERE.

    Also today, Kamala Harris will travel to Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona to urge Arizonans to make a plan to vote early. In the morning, Senator Harris will meet with a group of Latina business owners in Tucson. After, Senator Harris will participate in an early vote mobilization event. In the afternoon, Senator Harris will travel to Phoenix to meet with a group of Black leaders. Later, Senator Harris will participate in an early vote mobilization event with Grammy Award-winning singer and philanthropist Alicia Keys.

    Yesterday, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris released a statement on the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. In his statement Joe Biden stated that “Walter Wallace’s life, like too many others’, was a Black life that mattered — to his mother, to his family, to his community, to all of us.”

    Get Involved -- Upcoming Biden Veterans and Military Families Events

    Wednesday, October 28, 6:00 PM ET: NH Veterans & Military Families Caucus Get Out The Vote: Join the New Hampshire Veterans and Military Families Caucus for a virtual Get Out The Vote Rally! Featured Guest Speakers: The Hon. Ray Mabus, the 75th U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; the Hon. Patrick J. Murphy, the first Iraq War veteran elected to Congress and former U.S. Undersecretary of the Army; The Hon. Maura Sullivan, former Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and a Marine Corps Veteran; Tam Siekmann, Chair of the Londonderry Democrats, Blue Star Family Member & Marine Corps Spouse.

    Wednesday, October 28, 6:30 PM ET:  Michigan GOTV Roundtable on Civil Rights and Military Communities: Join us for a virtual discussion with General Lloyd Newton, USAF, Ret., Professor Gertrude Croom, Dr. Turnera Croom, and Damien Butler, USA and USAF, 2004 - 2018, and Ms. Tracy Pakulniewicz, former Director of Policy Integration, Department of Defense, focusing on the importance of electing Joe Biden for servicemembers and military families of color.

    Wednesday, October 28, 6:00 PM CT: GOTV in The Quad Cities and Southeast Iowa with Admiral Michael Franken (Ret.): We’re so excited you’re interested in making calls to elect Joe Biden for President, Theresa Greenfield for Senate and Democrats up and down the ballot in Iowa this November. 🇺🇸 From the comfort of your home, you can help us Get Out the Vote to help elect Democrats all while staying socially distant.

    Wednesday, October 28, 8:00 PM ET: Midwest Conservative Veterans for Biden Roundtable: Join former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Joseph Collins; Air Force veteran; Pennsylvania-residents and Ohio-natives RADM Janice Hamby (USN, Ret.) and her husband and U.S. Army veteran Dale Hamby; Illinois-native BG Steven Anderson (USA, Ret.); and Pennsylvania-native and Ohio-resident MG Dennis Laich, (USAR, Ret.) for a Midwest Conservative Veterans for Biden Roundtable moderated by former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force and Illinois-native Robert Goodwin on Wednesday, October 28th at 8:00PM ET.

    Wednesday, October 28th, 8:00 pm ET GOTV with Oprah: Oprah Winfrey is hosting an event with voters from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and across the country.

    Thursday, October 29, 7:00 PM ET: Michigan National Security GOTV Roundtable: Join us for a virtual discussion with General Lloyd Newton, USAF, Ret., The Honorable Duane Woerth, Brigadier General Don Schenk, USA, Ret., Brigadier General Mark Montjar, USA, Ret., and Ms. Tracy Pakulniewicz, former Director of Policy Integration, Department of Defense,  via Zoom focusing on the national security imperative to elect Joe Biden. 

    Connect With Your Fellow Americans

    During this time of social distancing, the most impactful thing you can do is reach out to your fellow Americans and ensure they have a plan to vote as soon as possible. Please join a weekly phone bank in critical states across the nation:

     

     

    Again, here’s what you can do to help us restore the soul of America:

     

    Thank you,
    Leo Cruz
    Veterans and Military Families Engagement Director
    Sign up to take action here and text "VMF" to 30330
    Connect on Facebook for Veterans and Military Families for Biden and on Twitter

  • published Congressional candidates who we have endorsed: in News 2020-10-23 09:31:23 -0400

    Congressional candidates who we have endorsed:

    State and District # Endorsed Candidate
    AL-1  James Averhart (Marine)
    AL-4  Rick Neighbors (Army)
    AR-4  William Hanson (Army)
    AZ-7 Ruben Gallego   (Marine)                                      
    CA Gil Cisneros                                       
    CA-5 Mike Thompson (Army)    
    CA-20 Jimmy Panetta (Navy Reserves)                                      
    CA-23 Kim Mangone (Air Force)
    CA-24 Salud Caebajal (Marine)                                      
    CA-33 Ted W. Lieu (Air Force; JAG)                                           
    CA Mark Takano, Chairman Veterans Affairs
    CO Jason Crow, veteran                                  
    CO-4 Isaac McCorkle (Marine)
    FL-1  Phil Ehr (Navy)
    FL-8  Jim Kennedy (Navy)
    FL-12  Kimberly Walker (Army)
    FL-18  Pam Keith (Navy)
    GA-1 Joyce Marie Griggs (Army)
    GA-2 Sanford Bishop Jr. (Army)
    GA-3 Val Almonord (Army)
    GA-9 Devin Pandy (Army)
    HI Tulsi Gabbard  (National Guard)                          
    HI-2 Kaiali'i Kahele (Air National Guard)
    ID-1 Rudy Soto (Army)
    IL-1 Bobby L. Rush  (Army)
    IL Gregorio K.C. Sablan                                  
    IN-3 Chip Coldiron  (Army)
    KY-1 James Rhodes  (Army)
    KY-6 Josh Hicks (Marine)
    MA-4 Jake Auchincloss (Marine)
    MA-6 Seth Moulton (Marine)
    MD-1  Mia Mason (Army)
    MD-4 Anthony Brown (Army reserve, Colonel)                        
    ME Jared Golden (Marine)                           
    MN-1 Dan Feehan (Army)
    MN-7 Collin Peterson  (Army)                              
    NC-1  G. K. Butterfield (Army)
    NC-11  Morris Davis (Air Force) (JAG)
    NC-13  Scott Huffman (Navy)
    NJ-9 Bill Pascrell Jr. (Army)
    NJ Mikie Sherrill (Navy)  
    NY-2  Jackie Gordon (Air Reserves)
    NY-11  Max Rose (Army)
    NY José E. Serrano  
    OH-14  Hillary O'Connor Mueri (Navy)
    OK-2  Danyell Lanier (Navy)
    OR Peter DeFazio              
    PA-7 Chrissy Houlahan (Air Force) 
    PA-14 Bill Marx (Marine)
    PA-17 Conor Lamb (Marine)
    SC-7  Melissa Watson (Army)
    TN-1  Blair Walsingham (Air Force)
    TX-19  Tom Watson (Army)
    TX-23  Gina Ortiz Jones (Air Force)
    VA-2 Elaine Luria (Navy)                                               
    VA-3 Robert Scott  (Army Reserves)                               
    WI-5 Tom Palzewicz (Navy)

  • Remembering the prisoners of wars and the missing in action: a representative wreath laid at the Suresnes American Military Cemetery in France

    To commemorate National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 18, four representatives of the DAF Veterans and Military Families Caucus laid a wreath on the alter in the chapel  at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial at Mont Valerien, near Paris. It is a most captivating chapel, where the names of the 974 Missing in Action, men buried or lost at sea during WWI, are shown on four plaques.  
     
    Anna Marie Mattson, (Interim Chair of the DAF Veterans and Military Families Caucus), Beth Herwood, Tilly Gaillard and Claire Baker were escorted on an instructive, moving guided tour of the cemetery by Sandrine Debote, Assistant Director, Guide and Associate of the cemetery. 
     
    World War I soldiers, seamen, and members of the Air Force, all comrades in arms from across the United States lie at rest in this cemetery where tombs are marked with Latin crosses (1542) and Stars of David (22). The tombstones show the name, home state, branch of the military, date of death. The cemetery is beautifully tended to respect the right to peace and tranquility of the fallen. There are 24 unknown soldiers from WWII; correction 23 ‘unknown’ since now 1 ‘known’ soldier thanks to a recent DNA test. The family had the choice to either bring their loved one home or leave him with the other soldiers. Their decision was to leave him in France.
     
    The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) was established by Congress in 1921 to honor the U.S. Armed Forces who fought abroad so that “Time will not dim the glory of their deeds” (General John Pershing). The cemeteries are open to the public. The land is made available to the United States in perpetuity but remains the property of the Republic of France. 
    Check out the pictures here.
     
    Tilly Gaillard 

  • donated via 2021-05-27 18:08:10 -0400

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Co-Chair of Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus & GOTV Military Coordinator, and DAUK Political Book Club leader
$65.00 raised
GOAL: $200.00