The 4 Things I Did To Honor Veterans on Veterans Day - Support H.Res. 333

The beginning of this post provides some background on my family and why I’m a strong supporter of H.Res. 333. If you’re just looking for the 4 other ways to honor veterans, jump to the bottom and take some action.

By the time I was in second grade I had things pretty well figured out. You see, my grandparents lived next door to us in Flushing NY, and I knew that if I walked to their house on my way home from school that I’d get a glass of milk, a substantial dose of cookies and a stream of funny stories from my Pop. Pop is what I called my grandfather.

He was a funny guy. He’d sit there in the kitchen while I scarfed down cookies. Sometimes he’d just make me laugh with funny rhymes “beans beans the musical fruit...” and other times he’d teach me important things like how to eat candy right in front of my school teacher and get away with it every time. The man was a genius.

He never mentioned a word of this to me when I was growing up but I eventually learned that Pop fought in the Philippines in WWII.  He was captured when the U.S.A. surrendered their starving and badly diseased soldiers after four and a half months of jungle fighting at the Battle of Bataan. He survived the Bataan Death March, the Hell Ships, years as a slave in Japanese coal mines, and returned home after the war ended.  As if that description left any doubt, during those years in Japan he and the other prisoners were treated horribly. So horribly that more than 60 years later, on May 30, 2009, Japan’s Ambassador to the United States delivered an official apology from the Government of Japan to the POWs that were captured at Bataan.

And now it’s 2011, and it’s probably easy to think that this is all in the past. You’d be wrong. The way we remember and recognize our veterans of WWII is a clear message to the veterans returning from war today of how they will be treated in the future.  Moreover, I learned in an email from my father that there are still living veterans, looking for recognition, that were imprisoned with Pop in WWII.

The prisoners of the Japanese in WWII were treated horribly and the Japanese companies profited from their labor as slaves. There are very few of these men and women left but they deserve recognition. I met about 20 of these veterans at a convention a few months ago and I can tell you that their memories are still very vivid and their stories are riveting.   
- James Russell, Aug 2011

The right thing for the U.S.A. to do for it’s veterans is to publicly acknowledge Japan’s apology and to push to get the remaining companies that benefited from the slave labor of US soldiers to apologize as well. That’s what a bill called H.Res. (House Resolution) 333 introduced into congress in June of 2011 would do.

H. Res. 333 supports the 66-year effort for justice by the American POWs of Japan who suffered untold hardships and misery in captivity as well as  gag orders and poor treatment upon return. These WWII veterans all in their 90s wish to see their dignity restored and memory honored before the last one passes on. The resolution thanks the Government of Japan for its apology and program of reconciliation given to the American POWs in September 2010. It further encourages Japan's great companies that used these POWs as slave labor to follow the example of their government to acknowledge and apologize to these American veterans. Japanese companies that used POW slave labor include Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Hitachi, Kawasaki, Showa Denko, Nippon Steel, JMS, Japan Stainless, and Nippon Sharyo.  -  H.Res. 333 Petition Website

This bill is a no brain-er. Congress managed to pass a resolution reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the USA last week. Seeing as it’s only been the US motto since 1956 and these veterans have been waiting for acknowledgement since 1945 it seems to me that getting H.Res. 333 passed is an extremely reasonable request. And yet, H.Res. 333 has gotten almost no attention since the day it was introduced.

So on this last Veterans Day I did something a little extra to honor my grandfather; four simple steps that took me about 10 minutes. I supported the bill on and petitioned, called, and wrote my representatives. I told them that I wanted them to get H.Res. 333 passed.

Actions speak louder than words and I bet veterans like my Pop would appreciate it if you'd give 10 minutes for this cause.

The 4 Things I Did To Support H.Res. 333 on Veterans Day

  1. Petitioned: Signed this Petition: Tell Congress to Support Vetrans of WWII
  2. Voted: Visited The OpenCongress H.Res. 333 page and clicked on the green check mark saying I support this resolution.
  3. Wrote: Clicked on the support button on the OpenCongress H.Res. 333 page, entered in my zip code and sent a message to my representatives. OpenCongress made this extremely easy.
  4. Called: I clicked on the name of each of my Representatives from that support page, found their phone number, called them and told them I wanted them to support H.Res. 333.