Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Urges Passage of H.R. 5371, the William Shemin Jewish World War l Veterans Act

JWV Urges Passage of H.R. 5371, the William Shemin Jewish World War I Veterans Act August 2010



The Jewish War Veterans of the USA urges immediate and swift passage of HR 5371, the William Shemin Jewish World War I Veterans Act, which would direct the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Navy to conduct a review of military service records of Jewish American veterans of World War I, including those previously awarded a military decoration, to determine whether any of the veterans should be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, and for other purposes.

The bill would review the case of Sgt. William Shemin, and other World War I heroes, claiming they may have been deprived of the recognition they deserved because of racial or religious discrimination.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), who has said of this legislation, "Thousands of Jewish soldiers served bravely in defense of our nation during World War I, but unfortunately discrimination at the time denied many of them certain military honors, including the Medal of Honor."

Shemin saved his fellow soldiers' lives on three occasions during an intense three-day battle in France in 1918. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, an award one step below the Congressional Medal of Honor. The accompanying citation praised Shemin for "extraordinary heroism in action" and said he "displayed great initiative under fire until wounded."

Shemin is just one of so many who served bravely during World War I and other wars, whose gallantry in battle may have been denied its full measure of recognition due to discrimination among the ranks of those who recommended the awarding of medals.

All evidence of discrimination must be brought to light and medals awarded to those whose acts of bravery have not been properly recognized.

The JWV urges swift consideration and passage of this long-overdue legislation.

 

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