D-Day 70, 2014 WWII Mechant Marine Service Act

Klaus Luhta

During the 70th observance of D-Day, 10,000 surviving World War II American merchant marines, the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots and U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield will be pressing the Senate to pass legislation giving these veterans benefits they were promised but have been denied for decades. According to MM&P, a few weeks before the D-Day anniversary, on May 22, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 4435 – the Defense Authorization Act. It includes Department of Defense 2015 funding and the WWII Merchant Marine Service Act provision, authored by Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat. The bill is now headed to the Senate. “D-Day would not have been possible without the Merchant Marine. Now that the long-awaited day is history and great Allied forces have been landed in France, it is permitted to indicate the part played by these intrepid civilians, whose deeds for the most part have gone unsung,” published the New York Times on June 10, 1944. “The benefits many WWII merchant marines were granted but never provided include healthcare, disability payments and 21 gun salute funerals at America’s 120 national cemeteries,” explains Captain Klaus Luhta, MM&P’s chief of staff. Luhta adds, “Imagine how these 85 to 100 year-old men and women will feel watching D-Day ceremonies on TV knowing their country officially recognized them as veterans and granted them benefits, which ....

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