Recent Fawn Morris accolades bring to mind another memory
Seeing the recent accolades for Fawn Morris (“Fawn Morris will be remembered for efforts in behalf of county fair,” May 11) gave me incentive to write this remembrance of her also.
In high school she was very skillful at “jitterbugging.” The dance floor would clear to watch her and her brother “Juke” dance to the music of the Big Band sounds that came from our rented jukebox.
Mary Jean Goecker
Let’s not forget Merchant Marines on the upcoming Memorial Day
With Memorial Day rapidly approaching I wanted to take a moment to remind our community about a group of forgotten heroes, the brave men who served in the Merchant Marines during WWII, as well as the men and women that continue to assist our country with their service to the Merchant Marines.
The Merchant Marines were the first to feel the bite of the Germans in WWII, with the MS City of Rayville being the first U.S. ship to be sunk by a German mine in Nov 1940. In the German attack on Bari, Italy, Dec. 2, 1943, also known as the second Pearl Harbor, 17 Allied Merchant ships were sunk. The Merchant Marines were present at every invasion from Okinawa to Normandy.
In all 1,500 Merchant Marine ships were sunk during WWII. The Merchant Marines also suffered the highest per capita loss of life of any branch of the American Military, one in 26 Mariners were killed.
At the beginning of WWII there were 55,000 Merchant Marines and the number grew to over 250,000. The Merchant Marine was responsible for accompanying ships though danger-filled waters, as well as the delivery of goods and supplies. They provided support during the Battle of the Bulge, and every other battle, fighting alongside our Army and Navy. They have supported our country in every major war including Iraq in 2003; yet seem to receive no recognition for their service.
Over the years many attempts to gain recognition and benefits for these forgotten veterans have been made, but with minimal success; a thank you note and lapel pin from President Truman, and a favorable ruling in a suit brought by three torpedoed mariners. However, most Americans have no idea of the sacrifices made by these heroes for our country.
Please join me in saying thank you to these veterans. Few remain but all deserve our gratitude. Thank you for your service and welcome home.
For more information about the Merchant Marines and their contribution to our country’s safety and security you can go to usmm.org.
Barbara J. Lee