Friday, November 11, 2005

From Think Progress:
Veterans Day Outrage: Conservatives End 55-Year-Old Practice of Hearings for Vet Groups

On Tuesday — three days before Veterans Day — House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN) announced that for the first time in at least 55 years, “veterans service organizations will no longer have the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees.”

Remember that Buyer was handpicked by criminally-indicted Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) to replace former veterans committee chairman Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who had been extremely vocal about the consistent underfunding of veterans causes.

The Disabled American Veterans, the “official voice of America’s service-connected disabled veterans,” just issued a scathing release calling the move “an insult to all who have fought, sacrificed and died to defend the Constitution.” The timing, they said, “could not have been worse.”

My husband's uncle was a POW from WWII. He was nailed right off the bat on Wake Island - 16 hours after Pearl Harbor was hit. Raymond was on the Island as a civilian construction worker, but took up arms to defend his country. He was the second son of a German farmer that had immigrated to America, so he knew what hard work was about and that is probably the only thing that kept him alive. He was 6' 6" tall and normally weighed about 345 lbs. During his years in captivity, the Japanese fed him rice balls - 3 a day and sometimes they were riddled with glass, so he had to be very careful. When the war ended and he returned to the States, he was malnourished, a rack of bones and had rickets. Uncle Raymond lived to be 84 years old and 45 years after his release, he was recognized by the Navy and received a veterans pension. The stories he told were unbelievable. Here's a toast to Uncle Rummy!

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