The Herald Bulletin

May 21, 2013

Letter: Merchant Marine vets deserve honors

— Memorial Day is fast approaching, with many events scheduled to honor veterans of all military branches. Veterans of the U.S. Merchant Marines have never received honors, or the respect due them.

Without these brave seamen and their ships delivering planes, tanks, food, ammunition, etc., where it was needed and when it was needed World War II would not have ended when it did. When the war was won, the government pleaded with 16- and 17-year-old boys, who had answered our country’s call for volunteers to be trained as merchant marine seamen, not to quit their jobs aboard ship and go home. Many thousands of them, like myself, stayed to bring troops home, supply our allies with food and return POWs held in the U.S. back to their homeland, including Japanese.

Each year, when Memorial Day arrives, the Merchant Marine veterans are never remembered. In history books exploits of the Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force are mentioned; never the role and sacrifices of the Merchant Marines, which is an auxiliary of the U.S. Navy. No floral wreaths are placed on the headstones of these brave men. Talk about being forgotten!

Just wait, if another war should break out, you will see who our government calls upon to deliver the necessary war cargo.

Only a few thousand World War II Merchant Marine veterans remain alive today — they should be honored.

Don Ellwood