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Author: TriSec    Date: 01/21/2020 10:56:02

Good Morning.

How we doing today, "Making America Great Again?"

I'm sure a license plate with a pithy saying on it will surely help affect the course of the nation. Oklahoma would love for you to have one. Veterans, however, would not.

An Oklahoma veterans group says it opposes legislation that would create “Make American Great Again” and “Keep America Great” specialty license plates in the state.

Senator Nathan Dahm from Broken Arrow filed Senate Bill 1384 last week. Senator Marty Quinn coauthored the legislation.

If passed, $20 of the $35 annual fee will be split between veterans’ organizations “Folds of Honor” in Owasso and “Warriors For Freedom” in Oklahoma City. Both are organizations President Trump has donated to in the past.

In a statement released Sunday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Oklahoma said it opposes the proposal.

“I'm sure there will be a lot of people in Oklahoma that will buy them,” said Michael Merit, State Senior Vice Commander. “Please don't use the veterans as a tool to sell the plates.”

“By using the president’s slogans in his first campaign and now his reelection campaign, makes it somewhat of an endorsement of all veterans by buying these plates and saying that we all support him, and that might not necessarily be true of all veterans,” said Merit.

This is wrong on so many levels. While there is nothing preventing anyone from going to the Trump website and buying a license plate frame saying the same thing, an actual state issuing an actual campaign slogan is a new low.

But of course, it's somehow "all about the veterans". The story notes two veteran's groups that would 'benefit', as well as noting that Mr. Trump has "donated to those groups in the past". No mention is made regarding dollar amounts, and of course if the Trump campaign really wanted to, a portion of all "MAGA" gear could be donated to veteran's groups. But of course, they do not.

Many veterans in Oklahoma, Trump supporters or not, have issued the following statement:

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Oklahoma was recently made aware of an Oklahoma Senate Bill filed by Sen. Dahm and cosponsored by Sen. Quinn to create MAGA (Make America Great Again) and KAG (Keep America Great) Specialty License Plates with proceeds from the sale of the plates “benefitting” veterans. Those proceeds are to be divided between Folds of Honor and Warriors for Freedom Foundation; both great organizations. However, it makes no mention of any other veteran service organizations or their members.

We strongly oppose any such use of veterans to promote a political cause or agenda, especially when only two of the many veterans’ service organizations (VSO) in our state are represented. The senators did not consult with the other VSOs in the creation or monetary compensation resulting in the production of these plates. We believe any time veterans are to be used to promote something in the state, all VSOs should be consulted prior to taking any such action. There are several avenues where these matters can be addressed where we all come together to discuss these very issues, such as the Oklahoma Veterans Council.

We strongly encourage all the VSOs in this state to take the same position on this bill as we have. Veterans, and their families, should not be utilized as leverage to promote a political ideal or agenda no matter what party it represents. Such use shows not only a blatant disrespect for those who have and who continue to serve our great state and our great nation, but also complete disrespect for the established veterans service organizations in our state who do a majority of the representative work of veterans. This cannot and must not be tolerated.

All VSOs in the Great State of Oklahoma should stand united in opposition to this bill.

We'll see what happens.

Moving on, yesterday was Martin Luther King Day. I hope we all had a chance to ponder some of his words. But what is big news from yesterday is a break with tradition in the US Navy.

Some of you may be aware of the story of Dorie Miller. We've got to go back to Pearl Harbor. As a black man, Dorie of course could enlist, but he was relegated to more menial tasks, in his case, working in the kitchen. When the attack came, he abandoned his post, and manned a machine gun on the deck. For these actions, he was eventually awarded the Navy Cross.

Doris "Dorie" Miller (October 12, 1919 – November 24, 1943) was an American sailor in the United States Navy. He manned anti-aircraft guns during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, for which he had no training, and he tended to the wounded. He was recognized by the Navy for his actions and awarded the Navy Cross.

He was the first black American to be awarded the Navy Cross, the third highest honor awarded by the Navy at the time, after the Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. The Navy Cross now precedes the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Miller's acts were heavily publicized in the black press, making him an iconic emblem of the war for black Americans.

Remember the times, though. The Navy initially only noted him in passing, as an "Unknown Negro Sailor". It took action by no less than President Roosevelt to get the Navy Cross awarded.

Facing public pushback over that move, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt later stepped in to award Miller the Navy Cross -- but as Modly told CBS Sunday Morning, the move wasn’t without controversy.

“There were some people who did not want him to receive the Navy Cross because of his race,” the acting SecNav said.

Of course, race didn't matter on 24 November 1943. Dorie Miller was serving on the USS Liscomb Bay when she was torpedoed and sank. I'm sure that the white officers and sailors were surprised to learn that a black man drowned the same way they did.

In any case, the newest aircraft carrier in the fleet will one day bear the name of Doris Miller.

Nearly 80 years after the Navy declined to even name the hero black sailor who displayed extraordinary bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor, the service’s acting secretary is breaking with tradition to name a powerful aircraft carrier in his honor.

The family of Navy Cross recipient Doris “Dorie” Miller said Sunday that acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly’s decision to name a carrier for their uncle is an honor. Having the announcement made on Martin Luther King Jr. Day only makes the situation even more meaningful, Miller’s niece Brenda Haven told CBS Sunday Morning

“That's beautiful,” Haven said, adding, “It has been a long, hard road.”

Aircraft carriers are historically named for U.S. presidents. This will mark the first time a carrier will be named for an African American or a sailor who performed heroic acts while serving in the enlisted ranks.

“In selecting this name, we honor the contributions of all our enlisted ranks, past and present, men and women, of every race, religion and background,” Modly said Sunday. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. observed, ‘Everybody can be great - because anybody can serve’. No one understands the importance and true meaning of service than those who have volunteered to put the needs of others above themselves.”

Modly will formally announce his decision to name the next Ford-class carrier for Miller Monday -- Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. That’s where Miller is credited with displaying “extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety” to move his captain to safety after the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack.

Funny thing, though. Boston has a museum ship named after a Pearl Harbor veteran. (USS Cassin Young). The story does note the break with tradition, and makes reference to the "acting" secretary of the Navy. Does this feel slightly like it might just be a dig at the President?


5 comments (Latest Comment: 01/21/2020 16:15:58 by Raine)
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