Forty-Five Years Later, World War II Merchant Marines Receive Veteran Status
During World War II, the United States Merchant Marines and their ships lent their support by delivering cargo and providing logistical assistance while their ships were under enemy attacks. The Mariners also transported innumerable loads of wounded American Marines to off-shore hospital ships. Thousands of Merchant Marines died in assaults during the war, but they were never recognized as Veterans until 1988, almost forty-five years after their service in World War II.
Increased awareness amongst Americans had been a very long and slow process, especially after World War II when the Merchant Marines were not considered “Veterans.” Thousands of hours were spent and thousands of letters were written to Congressmen and Senators, seeking fairness and just compensation for these World War II heroes. Magazine, newspaper articles and books were published and there was public radio and television coverage that increased awareness around the nation. Over $2 million was spent on these efforts through the years, and eventually they paid off for the American Merchant Marines.
The AMMV (American Merchant Marine Veterans) organization celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011 and continues to be an influential group for Merchant Marine Veterans who served in war zones during World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf War and other conflicts where Mariner’s went into harm’s way.
To this day, efforts continue toward educating the public, and in the true spirit of the American Merchant Marine Veterans, they must continue to expand their reach. There are still many Americans who do not understand what an integral part the AMMV have played during war and peace times.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by The Colorado State Veterans Home in Rifle. Lisa Adams, Marketing and Jessica Strong, Admissions, can be reached at the Colorado State Veterans Home in Rifle 800-828-4580 or by email Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com.