For many of these aging former POWs - most are in their 80s - time is running out. These former POWs may be eligible for special benefits and services from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
As we remember their service and their sacrifice next April 9, also remember to let them know that they can contact the VA to determine if they and their spouses are eligible for the benefits they deserve and have earned.
They can contact a VA benefits counselor by calling toll-free 1-800-827-1000 or contact Sheri West or Elisabeth Grove, POW/MIA administrative co-coordinators, at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center, 1-304-263-0811, ext. 3838 or 4303. Veterans service organizations and service officers can also help.
We can all help our former POWs get the benefits they deserve. Contact West or Grove at the above numbers if there are questions.
Guy B. Richardson
Acting Medical Center Director
Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Slavery played no part in war
To the editor:
If I may, I would like to amend a recent letter-writer's statement that slavery was legal before the war; it was legal the entire war.
Four years before the Civil War began, slavery was confirmed to be protected by the U.S. Constitution by the Nation's highest court (March 6, 1857).
On the eve of the war, (March 2, 1861) the U.S. Congress passed a Constitutional Amendment that would guarantee that the Constitution's protection of slavery would continue. This was immediately followed by two U.S. presidents lobbing for the ratification of this amendment. The federal government, all three branches, were pro-slavery!
The South would have been out of its mind to secede from the Union if its motive were to preserve slavery. It is just as insane to suggest that the North invaded the South to free the slaves. Slavery was protected by the U.S. Constitution until December 6, 1865, with the ratifying of the 13th Amendment, slavery was abolished. If you check your dates you will find that Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865, a month earlier.
To teach that the Civil War was a war to free the slaves or that it evolved into one is incorrect. Would a civilized nation such as the U.S. engage in a war to accomplish an objective that was unlawful by its own Constitution?
Even after the war, the North lacked the will to ratify the 13th Amendment. It took the positive votes of eight Confederate states to obtain the required three-quarters majority. Actually Virginia, Louisiana and Tennessee ratified the amendment before Lee surrendered. A mighty strange action for a state that is supposed to be fighting for slavery.
I will leave it to your imagination as to how eight Confederate states were able to play a part in the ratification of the U. S. Constitution.
I remind you that four years earlier these same southern states had rejected the chance to ratify an amendment that would have made slavery practically impossible to abolish.
Norfolk County Grays
Watch out for draft bill being introduced
To the editor:
All Americans should be alerted to the possibility of Congress passing HR 163, which apparently would institute a mandatory draft in spring of 2005 for all males and females age 18-26.
It is very concerning that this possibility has not been noticeably discussed in this election and that the media has not made the public fully aware of such an agenda.
After hearing about this legislation, I have written my representatives in Congress and will plan to find out exactly what this legislation says and would mean to me and my family.
It is important that The Herald-Mail find out more about this legislation. Please provide the citizens of Washington County with information on what this bill is all about and what it would mean to each and every one of us and our families.