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Feb. 16, 2006 Update on the
"Honor Our Fallen Prisoners Of War Act"

 

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H. Rick & Brenda Tavares
1805 La Posta Road Campo, California 91906-2206
619-478-5991 sgt1@sciti.com
15 February 2006

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BILL UPDATE, as of 2/15/06
"Honor Our Fallen Prisoners of War Act"
HR 2369 in the House of Representatives
S 2157, Companion Bill in the Senate

As of this moment (15 February 2006), there are 122 United States Congressmen and Congresswomen co-sponsoring the Bi-Partisan Bill - "Honor Our Fallen Prisoners of War Act"

The Bill has been well received and has the endorsement and/or support of 33 veterans' organizations (most national) as of this point in time. The membership of the groups standing in support of HR 2369/S 2157 numbers into the many millions, and the number of veterans groups and legislators supporting HR 2369/S 2157 is growing even as we speak!

The idea behind this Bill was first conceived by Wilbert (Shorty) Estabrook, Sergeant, United States Army retired, and an ex-POW himself, for over 37 months in North Korea.

As Shorty put it: "There is not a day that passes when I do not think of those guys who were imprisoned with me and who perished in captivity!"

Back in 2003, my wife Brenda, who's uncle, Corporal Melvin Hampton Morgan, died of beatings and starvation in the Tiger POW Camp of North Korea at Age 20, got in touch with Estabrook who then lived in Murrieta, California. Shorty, Brenda and I, then began a campaign to attempt to attain a posthumous Purple Heart Medal for all of those who died in enemy captivity from causes such as starvation, torture, beatings, medical neglect, disease, exposure, etc.

The first thing that we did in this grass-roots effort was to contact the media. Before long, we appeared on a local television station in an effort to make the public aware that: "Those who died in captivity of the causes that I listed above were not, under current military regulations, eligible for a "Posthumous Purple Heart Medal!" This sad fact, unfortunately, was verified through the Army Casualty Office in Virginia!

At first, this was a rough row to hoe, as most (even within the veterans organizations) mistakenly believed that these departed warriors had received this medal! Such, however, was not the case, and not until 1989 were these gallant souls even awarded the newly created "Prisoner of War Medal!"

It must be noted, however, that all POWs (alive or dead) are eligible for the Prisoner of War Medal, whereas, those who perished in enemy captivity were not automatically eligible for a "Posthumous Purple Heart!" As such, over 17,000 captives of our brutal enemies since 1941 were totally overlooked and forgotten!

This Bill (Honor Our Fallen Prisoners of War Act) would finally, at long last, rectify this horrendous oversight. "The Bill (HR 2369/S 2157) when passed into law, would be retroactive to December 7, 1941!"

After it was aired on local television, Congressman Bob Filner of California, a man known for his devout veterans' advocacy, immediately picked up the ball and ran with it, as did Senator Boxer in the Senate. My wife (Brenda) and I, along with Shorty Estabrook, immediately began contacting the entirety of the House and Senate seeking their support. As a matter of fact, we have written the "Entire United States Senate and House" several times in this ongoing effort!"

We also contacted many of the National Veterans Associations, other members of government, the media nationally, and other patriotic entities, to solicit their support of this Bill. To date, many caring legislators have responded favorably, but we will not rest until we have heard from them all, and until this Bill is passed into law!

"THESE DEPARTED PATRIOTS, THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LAST FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION FOR OUR NATION, MUST NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!"

For your information, I have listed below the members of the House and Senate who have thus far come onboard in backing this long overdue and sorely needed legislation -

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Rep. Bob Filner [CA -51] - Sponsor 5/16/2005 - HR 2369

Co-Sponsors Thus Far in the United States House of Representatives

Rep Abercrombie, Neil [HI-1] - 2/8/2006 Rep Ackerman, Gary L. [NY-5] - 2/8/2006
Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2] - 2/14/2006 Rep Alexander, Rodney [LA-5] - 2/8/2006
Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6] - 2/8/2006 Rep Baird, Brian [WA-3] - 2/14/2006
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] - 2/14/2006 Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 2/8/2006
Rep Berry, Marion [AR-1] - 2/8/2006 Rep Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [GA-2] - 2/8/2006
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] - 2/1/2006 Rep Boehlert, Sherwood [NY-24] - 9/7/2005
Rep Bono, Mary [CA-45] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3] - 2/8/2006
Rep Boucher, Rick [VA-9] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] - 2/14/2006
Rep Brady, Robert A. [PA-1] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Brown, Corrine [FL-3] - 2/8/2006
Rep Brown, Sherrod [OH-13] - 12/13/2005 - Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] - 2/1/2006
Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] - 2/8/2006
Rep Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD-3] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Carson, Julia [IN-7] - 2/8/2006
Rep Case, Ed [HI-2] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Chandler, Ben [KY-6] - 2/14/2006
Rep Christensen, Donna M. [VI] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [MO-5] - 2/14/2006
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Cooper, Jim [TN-5] - 2/14/2006
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 6/7/2005
Rep Davis, Lincoln [TN-4] - 2/1/2006 - Rep Davis, Susan A. [CA-53] - 2/14/2006
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Delahunt, William D.[MA-10] - 2/14/2006
Rep Doggett, Lloyd [TX-25] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14] - 2/8/2006
Rep Edwards, Chet [TX-17] - 2/1/2006 - Rep Ehlers, Vernon J. [MI-3] - 2/14/2006
Rep Emanuel, Rahm [IL-5] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 2/14/2006
Rep Etheridge, Bob [NC-2] - 9/7/2005 - Rep Evans, Lane [IL-17] - 2/14/2006
Rep Faleomavaega, Eni F. H. [AS] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Foley, Mark [FL-16] - 2/14/2006
Rep Fossella, Vito [NY-13] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Gallegly, Elton [CA-24] - 2/14/2006
Rep Gordon, Bart [TN-6] - 2/1/2006 - Rep Green, Al [TX-9] - 2/14/2006
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 2/14/2006
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 2/8/2006
Rep Hooley, Darlene [OR-5] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 2/8/2006
Rep Jefferson, William J. [LA-2] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Jenkins, William L. [TN-1] - 9/20/2005
Rep King, Steve [IA-5] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Kirk, Mark Steven [IL-10] - 2/14/2006
Rep Langevin, James R. [RI-2] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] - 2/8/2006
Rep Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Lynch, Stephen F. [MA-9] - 2/8/2006
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Markey, Edward J. [MA-7] - 2/14/2006
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] - 2/8/2006 - Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [NY-4] - 2/8/2006
Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] - 2/14/2006 - Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] - 9/7/2005
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 2/8/2006 - Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 2/8/2006
Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] - 2/14/2006 - Rep McKinney, Cynthia A. [GA-4] - 10/25/2005
Rep McNulty, Michael R. [NY-21] - 5/16/2005 - Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] - 2/8/2006
Rep Melancon, Charlie [LA-3] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 2/1/2006
Rep Millender-McDonald, Juanita [CA-37] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Miller, George [CA-7] - 2/8/2006
Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] - 2/14/2006
Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-38] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Neal, Richard E. [MA-2] - 2/8/2006
Rep Ney, Robert W. [OH-18] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Northup, Anne M. [KY-3] - 2/14/2006
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Oberstar, James L. [MN-8] - 2/14/2006
Rep Osborne, Tom [NE-3] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Otter, C. L. (Butch) [ID-1] - 2/14/2006
Rep Owens, Major R. [NY-11] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr. [NJ-6] - 2/14/2006
Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] - 2/8/2006
Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] - 2/8/2006
Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Pombo, Richard W. [CA-11] - 2/14/2006
Rep Pomeroy, Earl [ND] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Porter, Jon C. [NV-3] - 2/14/2006
Rep Rahall, Nick J., II [WV-3] - 12/16/2005 - Rep Ramstad, Jim [MN-3] - 2/14/2006
Rep Reyes, Silvestre [TX-16] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] - 2/14/2006
Rep Rothman, Steven R. [NJ-9] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Roybal-Allard, Lucille [CA-34] - 2/8/2006
Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Salazar, John T. [CO-3] - 2/8/2006
Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] - 2/14/2006 - Rep Sanders, Bernard [VT] - 2/8/2006
Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [PA-13] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Schwarz, John J.H. "Joe" [MI-7] -2/14/2006
Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Serrano, Jose E. [NY-16] - 2/8/2006
Rep Tancredo, Thomas G. [CO-6] - 2/1/2006 - Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] - 2/8/2006
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] - 7/28/2005 - Rep Weiner, Anthony D. [NY-9] - 2/8/2006
Rep Weller, Jerry [IL-11] - 2/8/2006 - Rep Whitfield, Ed [KY-1] - 2/8/2006
Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] - 2/8/2006

"If my calculations are correct, thirteen (13) of these esteemed Congressmen and Congresswomen are also members of the House Armed Services Committee!"

Senator Barbara Boxer [CA] Sponsor S 2157

Co-Sponsors Thus Far in the United States Senate
Senator Olympia J. Snowe [ME] - 1-31-2006

(Other Senators & Congressmen are joining our efforts as well, even as we speak!)

H. Rick Tavares - Tiger Survivor Member

ENDORSERS AND/OR SUPPORTERS (THUS FAR) OF “HONOR OUR FALLEN PRISONERS OF WAR ACT“

1] Military Order of the Purple Heart - National - 36,000
2] The Korean War Veterans Association - National - 17,000
3] Korean War Ex-Prisoners of War, Inc. - National - 2000
4] The Tiger Survivors - National - 500
5] The American EX-Prisoners of War - National - 25,197
6] Chapter # 1, East Texas Chapter of the AMEX - 20
7] US Marine Corps League Detachment 1057 of Murrieta & Temecula CA
8] VFW Post # 4089, Temecula CA
9] Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees - National - 1500
10] Marine Corps League -National - 61,000
11] Hispanic War Veterans of America - National - 1100
12] National Association of Atomic Veterans - National
13] Veterans of Foreign Wars - National - 1.9 Million plus 650,000 Aux.
14] National League of POW/MIA Families - National - 1000 Family Member & Several Thousand Associate Member
15] Agent Orange Victims and Widows Network Inc. - National - 180
16] Korea Cold War Veterans - National - 170
17] Cold War Veterans Association - National - 1000
18] Korea/Cold War Family of the Missing - National - 600
19] Legion of Valor of the United States of America - National - 752
20] Military Officers Association - National - 350,000 ?
21] National Guard Association of the United States of America - 40,000
22] Korea Defense Veterans of America - National
23] 24th Infantry Division Association - National - 2581
24] VFW Post 7089 Richmond, Ky - 106
25] Blinded American Veterans Foundation
26] Polish Legion of American Veterans-USA - 10,000
27] National Association for Uniformed Services - 200,000
28] National 4th Infantry Division Association - 5000
29] Jewish War Veterans - National 100,000 plus 50,000 Aux
30] Fleet Reserve - National - 135,000 plus 22,000 Aux
31] American Legion - National - 2.8 Million plus 1 M Aux
32] Veterans' Widows International Network, Inc. - 400
33] U S Submarine Veterans of WW II - 4616

Roughly 7.5 million (plus or minus) Veteran’s Organization Members, those Supporting HR 2369/S2157, have thus far responded in a positive fashion - 1/29/2006

 

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