For the American Legion veteran’s rights and benefits are job one. As in most cases after a conflict our government can lose sight of the sacrifices made. Even with the scandals of the current Veteran’s Administration I still remember my father telling me of a story of the veteran’s struggles that happened this day in history.
It was this day in 1932 during the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover ordered the U.S. Army under General Douglas MacArthur to evict by force the Bonus Marchers from the nation’s capital. Two months before, the so-called “Bonus Expeditionary Force,” a group of some 1,000 World War I veterans seeking cash payments for their veterans’ bonus certificates, had arrived in Washington, D.C.
Most of the marchers were unemployed veterans in desperate financial straits. In June, other veteran groups spontaneously made their way to the nation’s capital, swelling the Bonus Marchers to nearly 20,000 strong. Camping in vacant government buildings and in open fields made available by District of Columbia Police Chief Pelham D. Glassford, they demanded passage of the veterans’ payment bill introduced by Representative Wright Patman. While awaiting a vote on the issue, the veterans conducted themselves in an orderly and peaceful fashion, and on June 15 the Patman bill passed in the House of Representatives.
However, two days later, its defeat in the Senate infuriated the marchers, who refused to return home. In an increasingly tense situation, the federal government provided money for the protesters’ trip home, but 2,000 refused the offer and continued to protest. On July 28, President Herbert Hoover ordered the army to evict them forcibly. General MacArthur’s men set their camps on fire, and the veterans were driven from the city. Hoover, increasingly regarded as insensitive to the needs of the nation’s many poor, was much criticized by the public and press for the severity of his response.
I guess my point is that the government may make all types of promises. At the end of the day my friends we are our brother’s (and sisters) keeper. The veterans deliver our freedoms; we should make sure they are cared for.
I have to make note of a special guest at last Thursday’s meeting. Doc O’Leary was out of town with his beautiful bride. Steve Swinford led the meeting with panache. Then a legend came in. Dick Pope dropped in with a collection of articles he collected. He shared a few with me. Being a flyboy I found the article about the new F-35 being developed interesting. A waste of taxpayers’ money in my opinion but it was a great summary. He also had an article of a Marine ‘s remains found 35 years after the battle with the Japanese 73 years ago at the battle of Tarawa. Governor Mary Fallin had all flags posted at half-mast as the remains returned to our blessed Oklahoma soil last year. Thanks Mr. Pope, salute.
Our regular meetings are the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM. On the 1st Thursday we are usually treated to Chef Sebert’s culinary treasures at 1800 hrs (if you are a Vet you know what that means). The Monday morning Koffee Klatch meeting for July and August are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and maybe a waffle or two and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things have to be postponed. Be sure to watch the heat this weekend and drink plenty of water for the next day’s activities. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.