Attention on Deck: Mare Island Naval Cemetery Needs Your Help Reply

It is fitting on Memorial Day weekend that we honor those who have died in service to our country.

Many of us also remember those who served on active duty in peace or war time and have passed on to the final muster.

This morning, I got an email from Nestor Aliga asking for help in spreading the word about a proposal that would honor the many men who are interred at the Mare Island Naval Cemetery that has been forgotten by the country.

I am including Nestor’s email and contact information (with his permission) so that you can help to make this dream a reality.

I hope you will consider joining me in this mission.

Mister Mac

 

Dear fellow Veterans, Service members, and Friends,

The Mare Island Naval Cemetery (MINC) is the oldest military cemetery on the west coast. It is the final resting place for over 800 of our country’s heroes who served since the War of 1812. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients – James Cooney, William Halford, and Alexander Parker – are buried there.

PUBLIC LAW 93-43 dated June 18, 1973 mandated that jurisdiction over naval cemeteries – including MINC – must immediately be transferred from the Navy to the Veterans Affairs (VA). However, that law was somehow ignored by the Navy and the VA in 1973 and during the Base Realignment and Closure process in 1993. The federal government left MINC behind and did not provide any funding to restore it to honorable conditions nor any support for its immense ongoing maintenance.

On April 18, 2018, the City of Vallejo stated its willingness to relinquish control of MINC to the federal government. This letter was critical because it cleared a “critical path” for our Representative Mike Thompson (CA-05) to introduce H.R. 5588 on April 23, 2018 and for our Senator Dianne Feinstein to introduce S.2881 on May 17, 2018. Their bills direct the VA to seek an agreement with and for the City of Vallejo to transfer control of MINC to the VA. MINC would be under the VA National Cemetery Administration – whose mission is to maintain our Veterans’ cemeteries as national shrines.

State Senator Bill Dodd and Assembly member Tim Grayson – co-authors of California (CA) Senate Joint Resolution #26 which urges all of CA’s federally elected officials to support the transfer of MINC to the VA – fully support H.R.5588 and S.2881. The CA State Commanders Veterans Council – sanctioned by CA Military and Veterans Code Sect. 73.4 and the official voice of CA’s 1.8 million Veterans – also endorses H.R.5588 and S.2881.

So what are the next critical steps and how can you our fellow Americans assist with a fast-break?

Go to this Navy League website:

http://cqrcengage.com/navyleague/app/onestep-write-a-letter?2&engagementId=476893

Then write this message:

Please co-sponsor H.R.5588 and/or S.2881 today so they can be hotlined and passed in 2018.

OR go to:

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

https://www.house.gov/representatives

Select your elected officials, then write this message:

Please co-sponsor H.R.5588 and/or S.2881 today so they can be hotlined and passed in 2018.

We ardently believe that this legislation can be done in 2018 like what happened with the Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Philippines – which was abandoned in 1991. In 2012, H.R.4168 “Caring for the Fallen Act” and S.2320 “Remembering America’s Forgotten Veterans Cemetery Act of 2012” were introduced, voted before the year-end recess, and Public Law 112-260 was signed in 2013. That cemetery is back to national shrine conditions.

Don’t our American Veterans buried in the oldest military cemetery on the west coast deserve as much respect as our Veterans buried in the Philippines or in Europe or at our national cemeteries?

We Americans are certainly capable of flexing our muscle to “make right a historic wrong.” I urge all of us to urgently act and “show-of-force” our own American power!

Very Respectfully,

Nestor Aliga

Nestor.Aliga@comcast.net 

707-853-0062

Presidents, Politics and Policies: How Thomas Jefferson almost killed the Republic 1

Without a doubt, Thomas Jefferson was one of the most influential Presidents of our countries history. He was a thoughtful man who placed much value education and knowledge. As any person is capable of having a blind spot or two, Jefferson and his contemporaries made decisions that almost cost us a country 200 years ago.

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For those of you not too busy following the hockey and basketball playoffs, you may have missed that this year is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Subtract a few more sub-groups of people paying attention since we are rapidly finishing this season’s thrilling competitions on Dancing With the Stars, something called “The Voice” and of course…. “This is your American Idol.” (Cue Ryan Seacrest)

Top all of this off with the beginning of the baseball season and its no wonder no one has time to remember a War that we almost lost.

A quick recap of the lead up to that obscure little war follows:

The British Navy (the single most powerful fleet in the world) was running amuck on the high seas capturing both military and non-military vessels with the intent of retrieving “their” deserters.

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Over ten thousand US sailors were thought to have been taken into chains by the British to support its global fleet.  The incursion of rights on a sovereign did not escape the ears of those who lead the US.

By 1812, the war drums were beating and President Monroe was forced into action. What soon became apparent however was that a political decision which became a Presidential policy under Jefferson was about to put the nation in greater peril than at any time before and any time since.

Jefferson was what would be describes as a “Liberal” in the truest since of the word. He was an honest and sincere man who prided himself on seeing things in a very retrospective way. One of those things was that standing armies and navies were a drag on the country and invited attack from potential adversaries.

"I am for relying for internal defense on our militia solely till actual invasion, and for such a naval force only as may protect our coasts and harbors from such depredations as we have experienced; and not for a standing army in time of peace which may overawe the public sentiment; nor for a navy which, by its own expenses and the eternal wars in which it will implicate us, will grind us with public burthens and sink us under them." –1799

President Jefferson took care of sinking the Navy by issuing directions to Congress to scrap or not maintain the Navy that had beaten the enemy in the Barbary Coast and replace it with “gunboats”

http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/writings/jefferson/gunboats.htm

The Mariners Museum in Newport News tells the story much better than I can about the consequences:

http://www.marinersmuseum.org/sites/micro/usnavy/07.htm

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It is but by the Grace of God and the spirit of the American people who refused to surrender  that the entire country did not go up in flames with the White House when the British fleet and invading army pushed Jefferson’s toy boats to the side of the playing field.

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As congress and whoever will be President next year face a budget that will be both crippling and necessarily cruel, all bets are off. Promises made for generations will fall faster than a driving rain and there will be real suffering. We are greater in debt than we have ever been in both real and imagined dollars. Instead of tackling those debts head on, our leaders are more divided than ever before. This comes at a time when other countries such as China are growing in both financial strength and in military might.

The choice we will be faced with will be one of two courses. Will we follow the Jeffersonian model of retrenchment in hopes that the enemy will simply restrain himself in the future? Or will we continue to support the development and growth of new ships and technologies for future generations? The choice should be pretty clear.

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My fear is that it will be expedient to push the decisions to the next generations. With the speed of technology however, will they have the chance to make up for our mistakes before the enemy is entering Chicago, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Omaha or Denver? (I have already given up on the coasts and anything on the Southern border has already been invaded by now.)

Mister Mac

This blog is dedicated to the people who understand the direct impact of Presidents, Policies and Politics on our freedom as represented by the US Navy. Freedom is ours to keep or ours to give away.