This is a battle having begun over 29 years ago brought about by the DOD and VA denying the rightfully due full pension/retirement dollars as contractually obligated. This has been done in what is called the SBP/DIC Offset. It is incumbent upon the Federal Government to make these and future survivors whole. Just as the SBP Annuity CONTRACT promises.
The current situation is this; for every dollar the VA, in the form of (DIC) pays to the survivor, the DOD (SBP) annuity reduces its payment to the survivor. Oddly enough, the Government has been treating our survivors in this most illegal and morally unconscionable way for over 20 years. Efforts on behalf of these wonderful survivors to have this offset repealed have gone unheeded. Largely in part a result of “not being heard.” Whether this has been done by Congressional choice or ignorance, simply not being aware, TIMES HAVE CHANGED! HELLO AWARENESS!
Since receiving a “tweet” (gotta love technology) from a member of this group regarding the current situation, we immediately became involved. I surmise as would any reasonable person. Over the last several weeks we have dedicated our Saturday Live with Sal Santori Show to seeking a way to achieve the goal of having this SBP/DIC Offset repealed. A lot of progress has been made, our most recent show was an over the top accomplishment by all! In addition to gaining National exposure via our radio show (available at wmrcstudios.com) several National publications have picked up and have published feature articles. Again, extending awareness. We are now to a point at which not making these survivors whole will have significant impact on not only current Military personnel, and potential enlistment personnel, also career politicians in Congress. The idea of taking care of our fallen Brothers and Sisters widows(ers) and orphans is by far not a new one. Please read the following information and as we do so, try to answer the how as to the VA’s current unwritten policy of “Stall, Deny, and Hope They Die” as was told to one member and described in her top selling book.
I urge everyone to get involved in the solution to this travesty. Feel free to contact us here at www.wmrcstudios.com or send an email to [email protected] and we can find a way to best utilize your skill set. Remember, this is an entry level beginning where your help begins!
The Origin of the VA Motto Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address
March 4, 1865
. “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” With the words, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” President Lincoln affirmed the government’s obligation to care for those injured during the war and to provide for the families of those who perished on the battlefield. Today, a pair of metal plaques bearing those words flank the entrance to the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA is the federal agency responsible for serving the needs of veterans by providing health care, disability compensation and rehabilitation, education assistance, home loans, burial in a national cemetery, and other benefits and services. Lincoln’s immortal words became the VA motto in 1959, when the plaques were installed, and can be traced to Sumner G. Whittier, administrator of what was then called the Veterans Administration. A document on VA medical history prepared for the congressional Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and titled, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle,” details how the words became VA’s motto. “He (Whittier) worked no employee longer or harder than himself to make his personal credo the mission of the agency. What was that credo? Simply the words of Abraham Lincoln, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan. To indicate the mission of his agency’s employees, Mr. Whittier had plaques installed on either side of the main entrance.” President Lincoln’s words have stood the test of time, and stand today as a solemn reminder of VA’s commitment to care for those injured in our nation’s defense and the families of those killed in its service.
Letters to Lincoln
The Abraham Lincoln papers in the Library of Congress provide a rich trove of information about Northern widows and orphans during the Civil War. Some letters like this one dated, requested honor for fallen heroes rather than material support. Isaac Newton Arnold (1815-1884), Illinois Congressman and Lincoln friend and biographer, wrote to Lincoln:
…Earnestly requesting that a commission of Brigr. General might be forwarded to the widow of my friend, & law student Col. James A. Mulligan…. [T]he Board of Trade voted his widow $1000. & citizens have subscribed much more. His last words ‘Lay me down & save the flag,’ expressed his unselfish devotion to the country. If you will cause such a commission to be sent, I shall deem it one of the most grateful acts of my life to present it to his widow. (August 4, 1864)
In another letter thanking Lincoln for benefits received, Anna E. Jones, widow of John Richter Jones, wrote from Eaglesmeare, Pennsylvania, that it was “with heartfelt gratitude that I venture to address you in order to thank you for your kindness to the widow and orphan in nominating my son Horatio M. Jones as a Cadet at West Point. May you be rewarded for your kindness by his emulating his late father, Col J. Richter Jones, in his love and devotion to his country” (September 24, 1863).
Many letters to Lincoln requested passes for widows to travel between the Union and the Confederate states. Samuel P. Lee, an officer in the Union Navy, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, wrote to Lincoln from the flagship, U.S.S. Minnesota “off Newport News,” Virginia, requesting safe conduct for:
…The widow of the late Secretary [of State Abel P.] Upshur, who, with her grand-child (a mere boy), and her sister, desires to return to her home in Washington City. Formerly I was on terms of friendship with this then influential, now helpless, family, and I ask your Excellency, as an act of humanity, to approve and return to me the enclosed, which authorizes Major General Butler to issue the necessary passports, on the usual conditions, to these ladies and this child. (February 27, 1864)
J. Andrews Harris of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote to Lincoln on behalf of women working to supply the Union Army as well as to support their families:
I venture to appeal to you directly, without the intervention of red tape, on behalf of about thirty thousand suffering people in the city of Philadelphia, who can, by a word from you… be relieved of at least one half of their misery. They are women who sew, (on army work), and their children. These women are now forced, instead of getting their work and their pay direct from the arsenal, to be at the mercy of contractors who give them sometimes not one half of the government rates… If an order were given… that they be allowed to get their work & their pay directly from the arsenal, instead of its being given to contractors in the first place, the difficulty they labour under would be done away. These women are, very many of them, the wives or widows of American Soldiers; & all they need is the show of fair play at the hands of the government for which their husbands are fighting or have died, secure, at the least, fair dealing with those who are dear to men who left them at home, unprotected, to be able to back up your Emancipation proclamation at the risk of their lives. The prayers of a poor wife, a helpless widow, & destitute children, will surely call down a blessing from Heaven upon you if you will but interpose in their behalf. (January 23, 1865)
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