VMF Caucus News

Pearl Harbor Rememberance 2020: Pearl Harbor through the eyes of children

Volunteers practicing a gas drill on Honolulu. Every child over the age of 7

was issued a gas mask after the Pearl Harbor Attack.

By Jim Moss and Tilly Gaillard

December 7th is the anniversary of the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor, home to the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, by the Imperial Japanese Navy. This event triggered the U.S. decision to enter WWII. 

The first strike sank the USS Arizona and its crew in 40 feet of water. 1,177 sailors and Marines were killed while 335 escaped.

In the second strike, 10 torpedoes hit the USS Oklahoma. It sank with 400 men aboard.

In the end, of the 92 ships docked at Pearl Harbor, 19 sank. The final toll was 2,388 dead and 1,178 wounded. The Japanese only lost 29 of their 353.

Suspicion led to the internment of Japanese Americans with as little as 1/16th Japanese blood in detention centers in the U.S. between 1942 and 1945. After the War returning to “normal life” was hard, with no shortage of racism and discrimination.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Roy Stacy, former Vice Chair of the DA Brittany Chapter, witnessed the event as a 4-year old and recorded it in his riveting memoirs, A Delinquent’s Detour.

 

“My earliest remembrance from growing up in Hawaii was when I was 4 years old on December 7, 1941. It was early Sunday morning and my father and I were out washing his pride and joy, a 1936 yellow convertible Packard. Just before 8 am we were surprised to see dozens of fighter aircraft, with bright red zeros, bombs and torpedoes under their fuselages. They dropped over the mountains and began low level attacks on air bases and especially Pearl Harbor.  

 

My father and I ran down to the beach at the end of our lane where we had an unobstructed view of Pearl Harbor just a kilometer away over the water. After digging shallow fox holes we lay there mesmerized by the continuous explosions. My mother emerged from her hiding place under her bed to periodically run to the beach, check on us, and then return to her under-the-bed air raid shelter.

 

We learned later that 358 Japanese aircraft had been launched from 6 aircraft carriers north east of Honolulu so they could attack with the blinding sun behind the fighters.  A Japanese hallmark.

 

From nearby Fort DeRussy some anti aircraft guns hit one aircraft which crash landed at the far end of the beach near us. My father ran down and took a ten inch morsel of the plane and gave it to me as a souvenir. It has unfortunately been lost during the many moves my family made over the years.  

 

By Monday all the beaches were closed, covered in multiple strands of barbed wire and a curfew in place.  A Japanese invasion was anticipated as had occurred on Wake Island.  Fortunately, it never came.”


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

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 

Commemoration of National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Friday, September 18th at 11am

Suresnes American Military Cemetery


National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag being displayed with the US flag. 
©iStockphoto.com/Joseph C. Justice Jr.

As a member of the DA France Veterans and Military Families Caucus, you are invited to an outdoor guided tour of the Suresnes Military Cemetery by the ABMC Staff this Friday, September 18th at 11am followed by a wreath laying on the tomb of the unknown soldier in commemoration of National POW/MIA Recognition Day. There are 974 MIA buried at the Suresnes Cemetery.

Directions: Trains depart from Gare St. Lazare to the Suresnes Mont Valerien station. From the Suresnes station it is a 10-minute walk to the cemetery. Address: 123 Boulevard Washington, 92150 Suresnes.

Many Americans across the United States pause to remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war (POW), as well as those who are missing in action (MIA), and their families. All military installations fly the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag, which symbolizes the nation’s remembrance of those who were imprisoned while serving in conflicts and those who remain missing.

National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag being displayed with the US flag. 

Background

There are 1,741 American personnel listed by the Defense Department's POW/MIA Office as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, as of April 2009. About 90 percent of the 1,741 people still missing were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam's wartime control, (Source: National League of Families website and cited on the US Army website).

National POW/MIA Recognition Day has been observed since 1979 upon the passing of a United States Congress resolution. As of 1986 onwards, the date was fixed on the third Friday of September. 

History of the POW/MIA Flag

The National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag symbolizes the United States’ resolve to never forget POWs or those who served their country in conflicts and are still missing. Newt Heisley designed the flag. The flag’s design features a silhouette of a young man, which is based on Mr Heisley’s son, who was medically discharged from the military. As Mr Heisley looked at his returning son’s gaunt features, he imagined what life was for those behind barbed wire fences on foreign shores. He then sketched the profile of his son as the new flag's design was created in his mind.

The flag features a white disk bearing in black silhouette a man’s bust, a watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire. White letters “POW” and “MIA”, with a white five-pointed star in between, are typed above the disk. Below the disk is a black and white wreath above the motto “You Are Not Forgotten” written in white, capital letters.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is not a federal public holiday in the United States but it is a national observance.

Source: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/pow-mia-recognition-day


News from DC - May 31, 2020

CONGRESS

Sen. Duckworth (D-IL) introduced S. 3791, the National Guard COVID-19 Response Stability Act. The bill is currently pending in the Senate Armed Services Committee. The bill would empower governors to extend federal deployments of their Guard units through the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. [Bill text not yet publicly available.]

  • The House version of this bill is H.R. 6980, introduced by Rep. Kuster (D-NH-2), and is currently pending in the House Armed Services Committee. [Bill text not yet publicly available.]

On June 3rd, the following hearings will take place:

  • Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on: “Fiscal Year 2021 Budget and 2022 Advance Appropriations Requests, and Fiscal Year 2020 Enacted CARES Act Supplemental Appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs”
  • House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health will hold a virtual hearing: “Mission Readiness: VA’s Preparedness for Natural Disasters During a Pandemic”

Video: Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction & Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on: “Department of Veterans Affairs - Response to COVID-19” (video begins at 3 minutes, 54 seconds)

Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the following three bills by simple voice vote:

  1. H.R. 6168 – the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, introduced by Rep. Luria (D-VA-2). This bill would direct the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to increase, as of December 1, 2020, the rates of veterans’ disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children. The percentage increase in benefits would be the same as the cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
  2. S. 3414 – the Major Medical Facility Authorization Act, introduced by Sen. Moran (R-KS). This bill would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs’ to carry out specified major medical facility projects during FY2020. There are seven projects: West LA, CA; San Diego, CA; Livermore, CA; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Manhattan, NY; Alameda, CA; Louisville, KY. The bill now moves to the White House for Trump’s signature into law.
  3. S. 3084 – A bill to modify the limitation on pay for certain high-level employees and officers of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, introduced by Sen. Moran (R-KS). This bill amends title 38 of the U.S. Code to modify the limitation on pay for certain employees and officers of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The bill now moves to the White House for Trump’s signature into law.

Details: Upcoming webinar with IAVA’s Jeremy Butler and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) to discuss veterans’ access to health care and programs to assist veterans in need

RECENT ISSUE:

  • Video: Trump administration cuts National Guard deployment a day short of benefits accrual
  • House Letter Calling on Trump to Extend National Guard Activation to Combat COVID-19

RESPONSE:

  • Bipartisan, bicameral letter from members of Congress to Trump regarding National Guard benefits for COVID-19 response
  • American Legion press release
  • Letter to DoD regarding states and the National Guard

House Armed Services Committee press release: Statement in response to the Navy granting its first waiver to allow a transgender service member to remain in uniform

Article: Sam Johnson, Vietnam POW who became a Texas congressman, dies at 89

Article: New Mexico senator presents veterans' histories to Library of Congress

Article: Sen. Booker renews effort to get 74 sailors' names added to Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Article: Veterans Affairs budget hearing represents first steps toward normal operations for Congress

Video: Congressman Lieu (D-CA-33) speaks to Democrats Abroad

Article: Lawmakers call on VA to provide more data on minority veterans affected by COVID-19

Video: Last week, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs held a virtual forum on: “Virtual Forum: Veterans' Disability Examinations in the Time of COVID-19: A Way Forward” (video begins at 8 minutes, 16 seconds)

Video: the Women Veterans Task Force held a virtual roundtable on: “Resilience and Coping: Mental Health of Women Veterans” (video begins at 3 minutes, 47 seconds)

Video: Two weeks ago, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman spoke with Jose Ramos, Wounded Warrior Project’s (WWP) Vice President of Government and Community Relations, to discuss the unique challenges faced by women veterans during the pandemic and veterans’ ability to access healthcare while unemployed

Tweet: For Memorial Day, Rep. Lamb (D-PA-17) paid respect at a memorial service

Tweet: For Memorial Day, Rep. Pappas (D-NH-1) attended local observances

Tweet: For Memorial Day, Rep. Levin (D-CA-49) attended a local event

Instagram: For Memorial Day, Rep. Underwood (D-IL-14) paid respect at a military cemetery

Letter from the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Secretary urging VA to fully and fairly implement paid sick leave and telework policies and procedures after hearing that some VA employees had been unfairly denied these key benefits that keep them safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Two weeks ago, the leaders of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees sent a joint letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the use and management of the emergency relief funds that were appropriated to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs following passage of the CARES Act.

Statement from Sen. Tester (D-MT) on Memorial Day

Statement from the Speaker on Memorial Day

Sens. Tester (D-MT), Rounds (R-SD), Reed (D-RI), and Hoeven (R-ND) introduced S. 3788, the Veterans Cemetery Grants Improvement Act.  This bill would double the current $5 million limit on vet cemetery grants. The bills is currently pending in the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The House version of this bill is H.R. 5487, introduced by Del. Sablan (D-NMI).

House floor speech by Rep. Wilson (R-SC-2) on the National Guard

ELSEWHERE IN GOVERNMENT

Article: Latinos are fastest growing population in US military, but higher ranks remain out of reach

  • Artículo: Los militares de EEUU son más diversos que nunca pero los latinos no están siendo ascendidos a oficiales

Article: VA says employees have masks and coronavirus tests, but Congress sees inconsistencies

Article: Live nuclear testing could resume in ‘months’ if needed, official says

DoD Article: Military Medical Experts Explore Psychological Impacts of COVID-19

Article: Coronavirus delays new child care priority system, but good news for Coast Guard military families

Article: VA-led research effort shows how medical devices can have well-known seal of approval

Article: Amid criticism, Secretary Wilkie won’t commit to removing Nazi headstones from VA cemeteries

Trump remarks: Rolling to Remember Ceremony: Honoring our Nation’s Veterans and POW/MIA

Trump remarks: Memorial Day Ceremony in Baltimore

Article: DoD launches financial site for Military spouses

Article: Air Force fails to deal with racial disparities in military justice, report says

Article: Telework capacity quadruples during pandemic, VA says

Article: VA says onboarding changes made during the pandemic will ‘change the way we hire forever’

Article: New changes to the VA Home Loan

Article: How the Pandemic Is Helping The Military Prep For World War III

VA press release: VA conducts deep-dive study into effects of COVID-19 on Veterans

Article: VA Union Seeks Injunction Against Impasses Panel

Article: Senate Confirms Braithwaite as Next SECNAV

New CRS report: Full Practice Authority for VA Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) During the COVID-19 Pandemic

New CRS report: Delivery of VA Telehealth Services During COVID-19

New GAO report: Defense Health Care: Additional Information and Monitoring Needed to Better Position DOD for Restructuring Medical Treatment Facilities

Article: Social Security Honors Our Military Heroes

Article: Trump’s Decision to Freeze WHO Funding Worries the US Military

OTHER

Op-ed: James Mattis: Let’s honor the fallen by protecting our fragile experiment in democracy

Editorial: Why Does the U.S. Military Celebrate White Supremacy?

Article: Military families need—and can’t get—mental health care

Opinion piece: Supporting the mental health of military families

Article: German auction house sells historic Medal of Honor despite US opposition

Editorial: Never forget

Editorial: Memorial Day is every day right now

Editorial: Our national shame: COVID-19 in nursing homes

Editorial: Returning favor for veterans

Editorial: Remember the sacrifice of our fallen

Editorial: Military base becomes a COVID-19 black hole

American Legion press release: Illinois post makes smooth transition to virtual world

Opinion piece: Advocate for military families' right to vote this Memorial Day

Article: Military Families Have Been Pushed To The Brink By COVID-19

Photos: Veterans who died of coronavirus honored in powerful photographs

Article: COVID-19 delays Congressional Gold Medal for many Chinese-American WWII vets

Article: Suicide risk for veterans could grow as coronavirus crisis winds down

Op-edHonor those who serve our country at home and abroad

Op-Ed: We’ve learned to thank those who serve, whether it’s in war or during a pandemic

Op-ed: What happens to veterans’ healthcare post-COVID-19?

Article: Tax incentives and reliefs for US military and veterans

Article: For some vets who have died during pandemic, military honors must wait

Article: Veterans disability exams to resume at some sites as backlog hits 114,000, nearly doubling in six months

Opinion piece: Why War Powers Matter to Military Families | Opinion

DA-V&MFC web site post: Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

DA Global Chair web site post: Statement on Memorial Day

DNC Chair web site post: Statement on Memorial Day

Article: Military families share Memorial Day with nation mourning coronavirus losses

Video: Recognizing the service of Native American veterans

Article: This unique community is a haven for military families

Article: The forgotten history of Memorial Day

 


Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

LEST WE EVER FORGET

 Memorial Day was indeed different this year. The staff at several US military cemeteries in France performed a small ceremony and afterwards laid the wreaths  of Democrats Abroad France on the graves of mostly Afro-American soldiers.  We were thus still able to honor the men and women who lost their lives defending our freedoms. Meredith Wheeler was able to be present to honor the two OSS Commandos downed in the Tarn. 60% of the WW1 soldiers buried in Suresnes had died in the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Private Mitchell Davis, Suresnes Cemetery, a Howard University Law Graduate and an Afro-American soldier who died of the Spanish Flu pandemic in 2018, is one of the few highly educated African-Americans that are being cared for at the cemetery.  He even wrote a book entitled One Hundred Choice Quotations by Prominent Men and Women of the Negro Race.

"Through avalanches of prejudices; industrial barriers; professional intrigues; legal technicalities; diplomatic effronteries, and political buffetings, the American Negro has, at last arrived before the public eye, as a factor not easily to be evaded" 
~Mitchell Davis, 
One Hundred Choice Quotations by Prominent Men and Women of the Negro Race, 1917.

Read more

Memorial Day 2020

LEST WE EVER FORGET

Quarantine won't stop us from remembering the fallen on Memorial Day

Memorial Day will be different this year. There may not be any large gatherings or services but we can still honor the men and women who lost their lives defending our freedoms.
For virtual ceremonies and more information, you can check our Facebook page:
here.

Picture1.png

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry's shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon's sudden roar,
Or the drum's redoubling beat.

Decoration Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

ß2.pngDemocrats Abroad France will be sending wreaths to be laid by the cemetery staff during small ceremonies around the country: at the Lafayette Monument and in Suresnes, Belleau Wood, Oise-Aisne, Meuse-Argonne, St. James. Meredith Wheeler will by taking flowers to the graves of the two OSS Commandos downed during WWII in the Tarn. We do ask you to consider making a donation to help cover the costs of the wreaths, so you may click here for a one time donation.

ß5.pngAfter the ceremonies, the wreaths will be placed on the graves of those who died during World War I. At Suresnes, it will be Private Mitchell Davis, a Howard University Law Graduate and one of the Afro-Americansoldiers who died of the Spanish Flu”pandemic in 2018. He is one of the few highly educated African-Americans that are being cared for at the cemetery and he even wrote a book entitled « One Hundred Choice Quotations by Prominent Men and Women of the Negro Race »:

« Through avalanches of prejudices; industrial barriers; professional intrigues; legal technicalities; diplomatic effronteries, and political buffetings, the American Negro has, at last arrived before the public eye, as a factor not easily to be evaded » ~Mitchell Davis, One Hundred Choice Quotations by Prominent Men and Women of the Negro Race, 1917.

At the Lafayette Monument it will be Carter Ovington, a pilot who wasdowned and was never recovered.  He has a tomb in the crypt but is a bit special in that he is MIA as well. 

ß3.pngAt Belleau Wood, it will be PVT Hercules Grays from the 369thInfantry Regiment also known as the Harlem hellfighters and you can find more information on this unit here.

ß6.pngAnother Afro-American, Private William Cuff will be honored at Oise-Asne.  He is a recipient (Posthumous) of the American Distinguished Service Cross and the French Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star. 

Now is a great time to use social media. Consider posting pictures of those you wish to honor and remember on Memorial Day or ask those who were going to participate in a service to record a message from their home.

 

Thank you for remembering,
Anna Marie Mattson
Veterans and Military Families Caucus

 


Advocate for 3 hot topics

 

Call your Senators and House Representatives, Rapid Response needed on three hot topics:

(1) Ask for Congressional Sponsors to support Tammy Duckworth’s initiative in pushing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to include veterans abroad in the CARES Act. Script here and see Duckworth's Letter here.


(2) Advocate to cancel the in-person West Point Graduation Ceremony on June 13th to keep our cadets and their families safe from the Covid virus. Scripts to use when calling and writing Congress here.


(3) Destroy the Post Office, and you destroy democracy. We must take action to save the USPS here at the same time. “Simply put, if you hate the Post Office then you hate America.... We need to all lean on our members of Congress — regardless of party — to lean on the White House to save our Post Office before September.”


Latest News

 

CONGRESS

Article: “Congresswoman, Navy vet calls for cheaper prescriptions for military families, retirees”

Article: “Senate Armed Services shelves 'paper hearing' plans”

Article: “House Democrats Call for Answers on VA’s Mask Supplies”

New CBO score of H.R. 5284, the Vet OUTREACH Act (introduced by Rep. Khanna (D-CA-17)).

New CBO score of S. 524, the Department of Veterans Affairs Tribal Advisory Committee Act (introduced by Sen. Tester (D-MT)).

New CBO score of H.R. 2847, No Passport Fees for Heroes’ Families Act (introduced by Rep. Mitchell (R-MI-10)).

Op-ed from Rep. Barr (R-KY-6): “Congress taking action to help with COVID-19”

Rep. Barr (R-KY-6) introduced H.R. 6493, the Veterans Benefits Fairness and Transparency Act.

According to the congressman, “This legislation would protect veterans applying for VA disability benefits by requiring the VA to continue to make available on its website disability benefits questionnaires (DBQs) that medical providers and others assisting veterans use to submit evidence supporting disability claims. In addition, the bill cuts down on bureaucratic inefficiencies by requiring the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to accept a veteran’s DBQ for one year after it is completed and filed with the VBA, regardless if the VBA updates or changes the form. Veterans in Kentucky have reported receiving denial of disability claims to which they are legally entitled solely because the VBA changed its forms without their knowledge.

[bill text not yet publicly available]

Press release/podcast: “Rep. Gabbard Addresses Coronavirus Concerns From Military Families in Latest Tele-Town Hall”

House Ways & Means Committee Republican news bulletin: “No Extra Paperwork for Veterans, Beneficiaries to Get Relief Payments”

Article: “Gottheimer, Pascrell Praise Urgent Aid to Veterans Homes”

Article: “Thornberry wants $6 billion this year to launch counter-China fund”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman’s press release: “Statement on One-Year Anniversary of Trump’s Discriminatory Transgender Ban”

Recent letter from bipartisan group of senators to the Departments of Treasury and VA regarding veterans and the CARES Act

Recent letter from Rep. Axne seeking assistance, clarity for veterans during coronavirus outbreak

Earlier this week, H.R. 4771 (now P.L. 116-137), the VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act (introduced by Rep. Cunningham (D-SC-1), was signed into law. As a reminder, the new law requires the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to allow veterans with pending appeals to appear before the Board remotely from their personal computers.

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman’s press release calling on Treasury and IRS to automatically distribute stimulus checks to the most vulnerable veterans

Sen. Gillibrand letter to Senate Majority and Minority leader calling for voting protections in the next round of coronavirus stimulus payments

Elsewhere in Govt

Article: “The Pentagon is quietly pushing to roll back recent anti-lobbying restrictions”

Article: “Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins, Medal of Honor Recipient from Opelika, Dies after COVID-19 Illness”

Article: “VA, Treasury still working to get stimulus checks to potentially overlooked veterans”

Article: “Army Decides a Pandemic Is a Good Time to Give GOP Donors $569 Million to ‘Build the Wall’”

Article: “VA Instructs Coronavirus-Exposed Staff to Continue Working, Places Those Who Don’t in AWOL Status”

Article: “Trump’s War on Veterans”

Article: “Pentagon Worries Social Distancing Could Impede America’s Deterrent”

Article: “It's Official: Most Zoom Versions Now Off-Limits to the Military”

Article: “Veterans Affairs denies reports of face mask shortages at hospitals”

VA offering live virtual training to service women: learn to enroll, receive women-specific VA health care

Article: “Veterans’ remote mental health appointments skyrocket amid coronavirus outbreak”

DoD letter to service-members on wearing masks to protect against COVID-19

TV news clip: “Veterans outraged about new VA policy”

Article: “The Space Force is ready to launch”

Article: “Internal memos call into question VA’s still-rising coronavirus count”

TRICARE Pharmacy update: COVID-19 Myths vs. Facts

USAF press release: “Air Force Salutes campaign to honor those working front lines”

USN press release: “Navy Ups the Ante on Reenlistment Bonuses”

Results of Special and General Court-Martial Navy cases convened in February 2020

Results of Special and General Court-Martial Marine Corps cases convened in February 2020

Blog: “The Military’s Pandemic Response—Supporting Civil Authorities”

Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs press release: “VA, Facebook and American Red Cross provide Portal video calling devices to Veterans, caregivers and families”

New CRS report: “U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress”

New CRS report: “Infertility in the Military”

USPS press release: “U.S. Postal Service Tops List Again as Americans’ Favorite Government Agency”

Article: “For veterans who missed out on COVID stimulus cash payouts, VA and IRS have a quick fix”

Article: “No quick exit: US military plans for 'new normal' in COVID era”

Article: “Should GI Bill benefits be extended to civilian medical workers fighting coronavirus?”

Article: “VA secretary refuses to answer questions about COVID-19 supply shortages, lawmakers say”

USAF press release: “Air Force Academy prepares for historic graduation”

FYI: On Wednesday, April 22, at 1 p.m. EST, USMC’s "The President's Own" will release its 2020 Marine Big Band concert as an online streaming event. You can watch here

Other

Article: “For Young Military Families, The Financial Effects Of The Pandemic Can Be Severe”

Op-ed: “Trump needs to cover all veterans, their families and VA employees during COVID”

DNC comunicado de prensa: “Declaración del DNC sobre el presunto nominado demócrata”

Article: “Millions of veterans to get letters this week on potential reimbursements for medical costs”

Article: “Your 2020 Guide to Military Benefits”

Article: “A Complete Guide For Military Families Considering Adoption”

Article/video: “Hiring our Heroes president: Military spouse employment is ‘critical to national security’”

Article: “How millions of veterans could miss out on coronavirus stimulus checks”

Article: “Germany arrests IS suspects plotting attacks on US bases”

Article: “Tillis challenger Cunningham raises nearly $4.4M in first quarter”

^Related poll from earlier this week (Question #7):

If the candidates for US Senate this fall were Democrat Cal Cunningham and Republican Thom Tillis, who would you vote for?

Cal Cunningham 47%

Thom Tillis 40%

Not sure 13%

Article: “Fired as acting Navy secretary, Modly is now stuck in COVID-19 quarantine”

Article: “Glenna Goodacre, Renowned Sculptor Who Created Vietnam Women’s Memorial, Dead At 80”

Interview/podcast: “A new initiative to prevent veterans suicide during self-isolation”

FYI: to find military hospitals and clinics abroad, click here and then “More Search Options” to view

Recorded webinar: The US military's role in response to COVID-19

Article: “The Spanish 'Star-Spangled Banner' Is Being Used to Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19. Here’s the History Behind the Lyrics”

Article: “VFW Urges Congress to Pass the Major Richard Star Act to Ease the Financial Burden of Medically-Retired Veterans During COVID-19 Pandemic”

Op-ed: “Helping Student Veterans Amid the Coronavirus Crisis”

Article: “Veterans group continues legal battle over discharge records”

Friendly reminder: This is what happens to your letter when you contact a member of Congress who doesn’t represent you.

Letter to the editor: “Be sure to give thanks and support to our veterans”

Op-ed: “World War III isn't what the strategists thought it would be”

Op-ed: “Honoring ‘Military Brats,’ their sacrifices for family”

Letter from military families organizations to Congress urging for exclusion of the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) from being counted as income when calculating eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other federal nutrition assistance benefits

Article: “Veterans education program adapts to virtual world”