"With a new generation of veterans returning home from war, we need to make sure that they get the honor they have earned. I strongly support a digital database of valor awards so that we can enforce the law and protect legitimate heroes."
REP. PATRICK MURPHY, D-PA, Armed Services

Congressman Murphy, the ONLY Iraq War Veteran serving in Congress,
joined Congressman Salazar in INTRODUCING the Roll of Honor Act.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

It literally Takes and Act of Congress to get an Act from Congress. Every session thousands of Bills and Resolutions are introduced, only a small fraction of which are ever heard, debated, or brought to the floor for a vote. YOU, the voter, have far more power to influence legislation that you might realize. What legislators call "constituent concerns" are not taken lightly for a number of reasons:

  1. While American voters are prone to complain about politicians and legislation around the water cooler, in a social conversation, or over a drink at their favorite watering hole, few are REALLY upset enough to CONTACT their Representatives. Those who DO are usually the MOST ACTIVE voters and most involved citizens. For this reason a personal contact (phone call, email, fax, or letter) from a concerned constituent is usually seen as being reflective of the views of a larger number of people who share that same concern but don't take the time to voice their opinion to anyone other than their friends. For this reason, a single contact on legislation is often viewed by a legislator as being representative of the concern and opinion of HUNDREDS of voters. A SINGLE contact has the power of HUNDREDS of people.

  2. In the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members face election every TWO years, there is an especially keen sense of the need to respond positively to constituent concerns. This means that, in view of the above, Congressmen and Congresswomen see the voice of a SINGLE personal contact as the wishes of HUNDREDS of voters.

The opportunity to speak DIRECTLY to your Representative about an issue is rarely available--that is why they have staff. Don't be disappointed when you contact your legislators if you find yourself talking to an aide--they are there to hear your concerns and pass them on to the boss. With that in mind, follow the guidelines below when you contact your Representative to request that they support HR 666....

TIPS FOR CONTACTING YOUR LEGISLATORS:

  • Members of Congress do NOT fish in a neighbor's pond: In most instances when you call a Congressional Office the receptionist will ask for your Zip Code. If you are NOT in that legislator's Congressional District, you will usually get a polite (sometimes curt) but prompt recommendation to call your own Congressman or Congresswoman. 

    If you are calling a Representative outside your district who is in a leadership position or member of a Committee, don't give up. Simply explain, "While I am NOT in Representative ________'s district, I am calling him/her because he/she is a member of the _____________ Committee and this is an issue that is related to his/her work on that committee."

  • Try and make it as personal as possible: Organizations and lobby groups often provide voters with "cookie-cutter" letters and emails to submit to their legislators. While these have some impact, they lack the passion of a PERSONAL visit, call, or letter, and therefore do not receive the same amount of attention. We recommend the following, in order of their impact:

    • VISIT YOUR LOCAL OFFICE: When it is possible to personally visit your legislator's local Congressional Office to speak with a staffer, you can pretty well rest assured that  your message will get a high priority in transmission to the D.C. office.

    • CALL YOUR LOCAL OFFICE: Congressional Staffers operate under the premise that the only people who call their office are usually IRATE voters and people pushed to such an extreme that they have to voice their complaint. They have a sincere concern to address such before the next election when that citizen may cast a vote for the other guy. Calls in SUPPORT of legislation, when cordial and informed, are a POSITIVE contact that is treated with the same level of concern.

    • WRITE A LETTER: A personal letter to your Congressman or Congresswoman DOES get attention. Frankly, anyone who is concerned enough about an issue to write a letter is the kind of citizen a legislator wants to keep happy. Such a letter, FAXED to the Congressional office in lieu of regular mail, receives much the same attention.

    • EMAIL: An email is better than NOTHING. Emails ARE read and usually answered, but do not carry the same weight in most Congressional Offices as does a visit, call, letter or fax. (Some members of Congress will not even allow their staff to give out their email address.)

  • All Politics is LOCAL: Rather than calling your Representative's Washington, D.C. office, we recommend starting at the LOCAL office. Constituent concerns placed in the District Office of a legislator (visit, call or letter) often have a DOUBLE IMPACT. After being received in the local office the staffer involved usually faxes a report of the meeting or call, or copy of the letter, to the D.C. office. Your concern is therefore logged into the system TWICE. (To find your Representative's local office contact information, go to www.house.gov, find your Congressman or Congresswoman's web site, and look for a list of their District Offices.)

INSIDER INFO:
If the staffer you visit with or call DOES NOT ask for your name and address, you can pretty well assume that they are thinking about lunch instead of your concern, and that your information will end with the visit or call. If they do NOT ask for that information, before concluding volunteer that information. Furthermore, REQUEST that they contact you with the Representative's response to your concern. A good closing line would be, "Thank you. Please contact me when Representative ______________ either co-signs this bill, or if he/she chooses not to, to advise me as to why they are opposed to this legislation." Put the ball in THEIR court--they work for YOU!

THEN, FOLLOW UP! If you have not received a response from your legislator within two or three weeks, call back and ask about the status of your "Constituent Concern." 

 

Jan Girando, of Kansas, experienced FIRST-HAND the frustration many family members encounter when trying to honor a beloved family member who served honorably in the military. Her father was one of the fewer than 3,000 members of the U.S. Navy to earn the NAVY CROSS (second only to the Medal of Honor) during World War II.

Below is the letter she sent to her own Congressman, the Honorable Dennis Moore (D/KS-3) shortly after HR 3769. We share it here as not only an example of WHY we need this bill, but as an excellent example of the kind of letter YOU should send your Representative.

 

 October 9, 2007

Dear Congressman Moore:

I am writing to urge that you co-sponsor the Military Valor Roll of Honor Act of 2007 announced in the House of Representatives last week by John Salazar.

Not only would it put teeth into the prosecution of impostors under the Stolen Valor Act, it would also offer ordinary citizens like me a way to easily verify (or find out about) awards bestowed upon their loved ones who have been recognized for their distinguished service in defense of our country.

I speak from first-hand experience. In October 2006 I began searching the internet for information regarding my father's service record and awards. We believed that he had won the Navy Cross during his time as a bomber pilot based on the USS Franklin, and as such might be eligible to be memorialized in Arlington National Cemetery. But since he died in 1985, donated his body to science (as did my mother, who preceded him), and left little history and virtually no documentation regarding his military career, we were left with nowhere to turn and absolutely no knowledge of the military system, its records, or its jargon.

I placed my first call to Arlington National Cemetery in December 2006 and found that in spite of the records I had been able to unearth through the internet and digging through family files, nothing could move forward until the family could come up with the actual citation for his Navy Cross. I continued to search.

In February 2007 I came across Doug Sterner's website Home of Heroes. I sent him a synopsis of what I had discovered so far and asked if he could help. He did. Through records he had been compiling for years, he was able to verify that my father, Lieutenant (j.g.) Victor LaVerne Miller had, in fact, won the Navy Cross by contributing materially to the sinking of a Japanese aircraft carrier during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Doug offered to speak to my contact at Arlington National Cemetery. Through his generous intercession, after a 5-month process, ANC approved Dad's memorial and ordered the marker, which was installed in April 2007.

Our service (full military honors including the caisson, body bearers, firing party, bugler and military band) was held July 11, 2007. It was attended by three generations of our family -- 34 people from 8 states -- which surprised the priest and the Arlington Lady since he passed away over twenty years ago. My father's memorial is now in Section MK site 72, giving the family a touchstone and point of unity for the future.

But we still didn't have the actual certificate. Now beginning to understand the jargon, I completed the SF180 and wrote to the military records center in St. Louis in hopes of receiving the DD214. When I received a reply in August 2007, they said they could not verify that he actually saw active service. This was daunting, to say the least, and I needed to take time off from the search. But someone in St. Louis continued to work on my behalf, and on September 15, 2007, I received his records and Navy Cross certificate -- nearly a year after I began the search.

The process needs to be easier. Through the establishment of the Military Valor Roll of Honor, it can be. These men and women were (and are) our heroes at a time when heroes are badly needed. And the government can't plead that creating a comprehensive record of our heroes is too difficult, when a private individual like Doug Sterner, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, has been able to put together enough information that people are now turning to him as an authority.

The Military Valor Roll of Honor Act of 2007 is worth your time and your support. If I can be of any help as you make your decision, please don't hesitate to call upon me.

Jan Girando

 

NOTE: Mrs. Girando's experiences have made her one of the STRONGEST supporters of HR 3769. Her story is a powerful one that should be told more often. Members of the media who would like to interview her in regards to this issue can Contact Us and we will forward your request on to her.

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Victor LaVerne Miller (290504), Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber in Bombing Squadron THIRTEEN (VB-13), embarked from the U.S.S. FRANKLIN (CV-13), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Sibuyan Sea during the Air Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 October 1944. Participating in a vigorous strike against a large enemy task force, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Miller boldly fought his plane through intense and continuous hostile antiaircraft fire and aerial opposition and skillfully maneuvered his craft to score a direct hit upon a Japanese aircraft carrier, contributing materially to its sinking. By his brilliant airmanship, daring initiative and gallant fighting spirit, maintained against tremendous odds, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Miller was instrumental in the infliction of overwhelming damage upon the Japanese Fleet during this historic battle. His outstanding courage and inspiring leadership reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.
Born: April 24, 1919 at Ness County, Kansas
Home Town: Oak Park, Illinois
Awards: Navy Cross (WWII), 2@ Air Medals

 

 

 

Roll of Valor Main Page
Current Co-Sponsors
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Scope of the ProjectThe Purple Heart 
How YOU can Help
  |  FEEDBACK On This ISSUE


There are MANY good REASONS for Congress to Pass the Roll of Valor Act. Below are links to FOUR that quickly validate the need for a National Database of Military Awards.

Real Heroes Found

Phony Heroes Exposed

V.A. Fraud Dollars Recovered

Accuracy in Media Stories

The Problems With:

DD-214s

FOIA

News Stories on the Roll of Valor Act

 

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