Sunday, March 13, 2011
10 Reasons Why We Repatriate
10 Reasons Why We Should Repatriate the Remains of Lt. Somers & the Men of the USS Intrepid from Tripoli
Ten Reasons why the Remains of the Men of the Intrepid Should Be Repatriated
1) Because it is a tradition of the US military “not to leave anyone behind.”
2) Because it is a policy of the US military “not to leave anyone behind,” and there is an office POW/MP established as part of the Department of Defense that is paid and ordered to carry out this function, and does so with due diligence.
3) Because these men should be treated like all other US military men who die in combat overseas, and are buried there until they can be located and properly repatriated home. If these men were buried on a hillside in Vietnam or Laos from WWII or Vietnam, they would be home by now.
4) Because the officers they served with chipped in and commissioned the Tripoli Monument that is now at Annapolis, which was intended to be a grave marker for when the remains of these men were returned home, as ascertained by the inscription on it.
5) Because the Somers family always expected and still expects today that the remains of Lt. Somers will be eventually returned, as exhibited by the Somers monument next to the red brick school house that was paid for by his sister and was meant to be a memorial and grave marker. And as expressed today by Somers family members in Somers Point and all around the country, as exhibited by the letters they have written and the dozens of names on the internet petition.
[See: http://www.petitiononline.com/Intrepid/petition.html ] to repatriate the remains of the men of the Intrepid.
6) Because these were the men who helped establish the principles and traditions that are maintained and upheld today by the many thousands of veterans who serve and have served in the military. These veterans recognize that we fight pirates and tyranny today for the same reasons they fought and died for then – our freedoms, liberty, democracy, civil rights, justice, and especially the principle and tradition being upheld by repatriation of the remains of American servicemen from the field of combat, wherever and whenever they are found. The veteran’s support for repatriation is exemplified by the letters they write and by their names on the petition to repatriate in noting the fact that they had previously served proudly on ships named the USS Somers, USS Decatur, USS Bainbridge, USS Sterret, USS Barry, USS Enterprise, USS Nautilus and especially the USS Intrepid, who want the official repatriation ceremony for these men held on the deck of the aircraft carrier in New York harbor.
7) Because when it happens, it will be an education for everyone who hears about it, and learns who these men were and how and why they died where they did, and how it is related to what is happening in Tripoli today. It will be an historical education for everyone.
8) Because when it happens, it will shine an international light on the home of Richard Somers, Somers Point, New Jersey, a small bay side town with good fishing and sailing, fine restaurants and a history that dates to the founding of the United States as a nation. It’s a town with a long memory, and citizens who have been patiently and anxiously waiting for the return of their native son for over two hundred years now.
9) Because Somers Point is in the country of Atlantic and the Atlantic County Freeholders have called for the repatriation of the remains of Somers; the State of New Jersey legislature has unanimously passed a proclamation officially naming September 4th Richard Somers Day and calling for the repatriation of the remains of Somers; and the US Congress, in anticipation of the repatriation, has requested that graves be set aside for the remains of the 13 men of the USS Intrepid at Arlington National Cemetery.
10) Because the celebrated release and return of the Lockerbie bomber from a Scottish prison to Tripoli set off celebrations and parties that led to the termination of dealings with the Libyans, and our reapprochement with the new Libyan government, who ever they are, must begin with the priority of the repatriation of these remains. The last time we began dealing with them, the first issue was oil, and now we must make the repatriation of the remains of Somers and the men of the Intrepid the new priority. Then we can have a celebrated return of our heroes and have our own party once they are home.
More Reasons Why the Remains of the Men of the USS Intrepid Should Be Repatriated
• President Teddy Roosevelt, former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, promised to all that serve our nation: “A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards.” No one can call leaving the 13 men of the Intrepid to rot in a pair of mass graves for which no one cares a “square deal.”
• Department of Defense policy 300.18 mandates, “The remains of deceased personnel will be recovered, identified, and returned to their families as expeditiously as possible while maintaining the dignity, respect, and care of the deceased as well as protecting the safety of the living.” It makes no distinction of when the service member died.
• The US military began in World War II to “Leave no one behind”. The POW/MIA office specifically deals with missing remains from World War II onward as well as “reintegrating” American service personnel who have been captured or suffered from an “isolating incident.” Let’s extend this same tradition to the men of the Intrepid.
• Every member of the public who knows the story or is told the story asks why this hasn’t happened yet and how to get involved. Americans want their servicemen to come home.
• To do nothing would be a stain on our national character. To again quote Teddy Roosevelt, “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.”
• Numerous requests of the Somers family and the public for the return of Richard Somers’s remains for over a century have gone unheard. As early as 1840, James Fenimore Cooper documented the desires of the Somers family, as represented by his sister, Sarah Keen, to have the bodies of the Intrepid crew returned to the United States. A grave marker located in the family cemetery in Somers Point has Richard’s information engraved upon it, one day hoping for his return.
• This gesture will unite disparate communities that have members of the crew of the Intrepid – Boston, New York, Portland, Maine, Philadelphia, Somers Point, NJ, Baltimore and Annapolis, MD., and Norfolk, VA – into communities that share a common link.
• The recovery effort will be a means of re-educating America about its nautical past and maritime heritage. The time of the Barbary Wars also serves as a link today with the Somali pirates. The parallels are very current.
• This gesture holds faith with those currently serving our nation by proving with actions that we will not leave anyone behind, especially those we know where they are buried such as the men of the Intrepid in Tripoli on foreign soil, and in a cemetery not owned by the United States as other military cemeteries in foreign countries are.
• Tens of thousands of military dead from previous wars are now buried in either the U.S. or in official military cemeteries in Europe that are now U.S. territory ceded to America by the host nation. The graves located in Tripoli are not in an American owned cemetery, suspect to neglect and damage from unrest in Libya. Given the recent bombing, it would be unfortunate if these American gravesites become part of the destruction.
• These 13 men that died for our freedom should be properly honored for their sacrifice and the lives that were voluntarily given.
• In terms of simple right and wrong, it is the right thing to do.