Mare Island Naval Cemetery Vallejo Needs Help
The Mare Island Naval Cemetery (MINC) is the oldest military cemetery on the west coast. It is a national shrine but its deplorable condition is a shocking disgrace to the honorable service, uncommon valor, and selfless sacrifice of our courageous Veterans buried there and, even worse, to the dignity and pride of our great Nation.
PUBLIC LAW 93-43 dated JUNE 18, 1973 ordered that all jurisdiction over the Mare Island Naval Cemetery must be immediately transferred from the Secretary of the Navy to the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs. But that Public Law was somehow ignored by both the Navy and the VA in 1973 and then again in 1993 during the Base Realignment and Closure process. After Mare Island Naval Shipyard’s closure in 1996 (due to BRAC 1993), the federal government left MINC behind and did not provide any funding to first restore it to honorable conditions nor any money for its immense need for ongoing maintenance (not even a National Shrine contract to repair/maintain the graves).
Author: Nestor Aliga
The American Legion Manuel L. Quezon
Post 603, Vallejo, CA
The mission of the Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration (VA NCA) is to provide a dignified burial and lasting memorial for Veterans and their eligible family members and to maintain our Veterans’ cemeteries as national shrines.
The MINC is a national shrine as it has about 1,000 graves including Veterans who served since the War of 1812. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, it is the final resting place for three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients: James Cooney, William Halford, and Alexander Parker. Also buried there is Anna Arnold Key, the daughter of Francis Scott Key who wrote our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.
On April 23, 2018, Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05) introduced H.R. 5588 which directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to seek out an agreement with the City of Vallejo, under which the City would transfer control of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery to the VA. The cemetery would specifically be placed under the purview of the National Cemetery Administration and would assume the obligation of maintaining the cemetery in the future.
What Veterans and All Americans Can Do!
So what are the next critical steps and how can you my fellow Legionnaires assist with a fast-break?
Today, we are asking, actually begging, our Honorable Senators Dianne Feinstein or Kamala Harris from our great State of California to urgently introduce by Memorial Day a companion Senate Bill to Congressman Mike Thompson’s H.R. 5588. This is needed because Public Laws can only be passed if both the Senate and the House of Representatives introduce, debate, and vote on similar pieces of legislation.
Then we will need everyone in our great Nation to urgently ask their Representatives and Senators to be co-sponsors so the House and Senate Bills can be “hotlined” or pass the legislation by unanimous consent and without a roll-call vote in order to save time by moving legislation more quickly. We believe that this can be done in 2018 like what happened with the “Remembering America’s Forgotten Veterans Cemetery Act of 2012” for the Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Philippines. S.2320 was introduced in April 2012, voted before the year-end recess, and became part of Public Law 112¬260 in 2013.
Don’t our American Veterans buried in Vallejo deserve as much respect as our Americans buried in the Philippines or in France or overseas?
We Veterans are certainly capable of flexing our muscle if we are motivated. I urge all of us to urgently act and “show-of-force” our Veterans Power!
Show of Force
All Veterans and Americans
We urge YOU to contact your Congressman and Senator to support these two bills, H.R.5588 and S.2881. Congressman Thompson and Sentors Feinstein and Harris are already sponsors,
The real Show of Force comes when you direct this information to other veterans and your friends.
Send a Message to your Congressman and Senators to support our two bills, H.R.5588 and S.2881 – http://bit.do/Mare-Island-Naval-Cemetery
Also, Sign This Petition to Ask President Trump and VA Secretary to Re-Possess the Mare Island Naval Cemetery” – http://chn.ge/2BUHBjI
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