American Legion Post 93, Ceredo-Kenova, has been working on a bill in Congress (HR 1901) to help veterans of Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, and Korea. This bill will amend Title 38 and make these combat veterans eligible for the V.A. Non-Service Connected Disability Pension. It is only paid when a veteran becomes permanently and totally disabled and has limited or no income.
We want to commend Congressman Rahall for introducing this bill for us. Congressman Rahall testified in support of (HK 1901) on the House floor, April 19, 2007. He again testified before the House Sub-Committee on Veterans Affairs, July 31, 2007, along with representatives from the AL, VFW, DAV, and PVA.
We asked Congresswoman Capito to sponsor this bi-partisan bill and her response was “should this bill reach the House floor, I will be sure to keep it in mind.”
On more than one occasion, we asked Senator Rockefeller, a member and former chairman of The Senate Veterans Committee, to join Congressman Rahall in introducing a companion bill in the Senate. We ask that it be written as in (HR 1901) and fight to see it become law. Senator Rockefeller’s responses were “HR 1901 is currently pending with the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, and I will certainly keep your concerns in mind if it is brought before the Senate for consideration,” and “the tremendous deficits faced by our country are making it difficult to expand veterans’ benefits as much as we would all like to see.”
The Heritage Foundation lists 11,351 pork and earmarks amounting in the tens of millions of dollars crammed into appropriations bills by both Houses of Congress; 6,651 in the House and 4,700 in the Senate, respectively.
With all due respect, these are the same representatives that have also made 33 groups of civilian employees, they say “who provided military related service” eligible for the same pension to be paid by the veterans administration. An example of these are, U.S. civilian employees of American Airlines, civilian crewman of U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, United Airlines, Northeast and Northwest Airlines, and the operational analysis group of The Office of Scientific Research and Development, just to name a few. Groups 31, 32, and 33 have been added since we started this fight five years ago to make these four groups of combat veterans eligible. Our veterans from across this great nation were drafted, wore the uniform, trained and fought for this country.
Since the cease fire in 1953, combat troops have been defending South Korea and have been engaged in many hostile actions from the North Koreans on or near the DMZ and have maintained a high state of combat readiness and vigilance. The two sides are still technically at war. The Korean Defense Service Metal was authorized by public law 107-314 for those who have served in Korea subsequent to the cease-fire. Public law 104-3 expanded eligibility in the V.F.W. to veterans that have served within the territorial limits of South Korea after June 30, 1949.
On October 23, 1983, 241 of our Marines died in a suicide attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. By the time the hostility ended on February 9, 1984, 270 Americans had died. Some 20,000 Americans fought on or around Grenada between October 23 and November 21, 1983; nineteen were killed and 116 were wounded in Panama; 27,000 courageous troops facilitated the overthrow of General Manuel Noreega; twenty-three were killed in action and 322 wounded between December 20, 1989 and January 31, 1990. Public law 101-478 expanded eligibility for membership in The American Legion to veterans of Lebanon, Grenada, and Panama.
It has been said that the measure of a nation is gauged by the way its people honor their defenders. We are pleading with our elected representatives to step up to the plate and honor these defenders with the respect they deserve.
Senator Rockefeller 1-202-224-6472
Senator Byrd 1-202-224-3954
Congresswoman Capito 1-202-225-2711
Congressman Rahall 1-202-225-3452
Congressman Mollohan 1-202-225-4172
Officers and members of American Legion Post 93