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The A1111erican Sea111an Why, he asks, does our country forget its debt to wartime merchant mariners? As OUR COUNTRY once again prepares to honor the Armed Services on Veterans Day, much has been said and written about the shabby treatmentmeted out by the U.S. Government to the veterans who were sen t to fight the unpopular and bloody war in Vietnam. But there is another group of Americans who have also been shamefully denied the freely-given recognition and tangible gratitude of the country they love and which they served so well in World War II . They are , of course, the merchant seamen, the forgotten ''Heroes in Dungarees'' who moved the bullets, bandages and beans to battlefronts around the world and who suffered loss oflife and limb second only to the United States Marine Corps. Generals Eisenhower, MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz all declared that World War II could not have been fought and won without the seamen. On signing the GI Bill of Rights for members of the Armed Services, President Roosevelt said: ''I trust Congress will soon provide similar opportunities to members ofthe merchant marine who have risked their lives time and time again during this war for the welfare of their country." Our nation , however, has yet to honor this sacred promise. Most World War II seamen are now too old to take any real advantage of any GI Bill. While som e seamen could use the medical care and other benefits, that's not what they talk about. They talk about their children and grandchildren being able to say '' H e was a Hero in Dungarees and he was buried in a National Cemetery with the American

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Attacks on mercha nt ships were the end tor som e; fo r others, the beginn ing of terrible ordeals. Yet those who survived came back time and again t o " Keep 'em sai ling."

flag. " And they say-all of them-that if there were a national em ergency tomorrow, every last one of these oldtime seamen would be walking up the gangway to serve his country.

National Maritime Union Shannon J. Wall , President Thomas Martinez, Secretary-Treasurer National Headquarters: 346 West 17 Street, New York NY 10011 • (212) 620-5700

Sea History 029 - Autumn 1983  

6 THE BATTLE WON BY CIVILIANS, Edward L. Hayden • 11 THE JOHN W. BROWN • 13 ALLEN RUPLEY, J. Peter Grace • 14 THE NAVIGATORS, Sanford H. Lo...

Sea History 029 - Autumn 1983  

6 THE BATTLE WON BY CIVILIANS, Edward L. Hayden • 11 THE JOHN W. BROWN • 13 ALLEN RUPLEY, J. Peter Grace • 14 THE NAVIGATORS, Sanford H. Lo...

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