Per the request from readers, here is a sample letter you can use to contact your lawmakers. Every representative has an online form you can access, via their Web site. To find your representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
You can simply cut-and-paste, and hit send--or add anything to the letter. For example, if you are a survivor of the USS Frank E. Evans, a Vietnam veteran, or a family member, you ought to indicate that you are.
On June 3, 1969 74 Americans were killed in a tragedy off the coast of Vietnam. Today the families are suffering a second tragedy, that of being irgnored. The names of their loved ones, the men killed on the USS Frank E. Evans, are not on the Vietnam Memorial. This, despite the fact that evidence shows that these men were killed in an operation linked to the Vietnam War and that had there been no Vietnam War, these men would have never been killed on that fateful day. Please read American Boys: The True Story of the Lost 74 of the Vietnam War. You can contact the author Louise Esola at email@example.com. She has all the research and is readily available to help.
The Department of Defense and the United States Navy have been spinning a tale since 1969, stating the USS Frank E. Evans was not in the theater at the time of the war. The Evans, meanwhile, was awarded a Vietnam Service Medal on the day she sank—why has this not been considered? In other cases this has been evidence enough for inclusion on the Vietnam Wall. The criteria for the medal and inclusion on the memorial are virtually the same. There is other evidence that proves the names belong on the wall but I feel the medal ought to be enough as it has been in other scenarios. To earn that unit citation a unit has to be supporting the war. The 74 men killed on the Evans earned their place on the Vietnam Wall. Otherwise, what were they doing there?
In March 2015 the State of California added to its Vietnam Memorial the names of the 22 Californians killed on the Evans. Why hasn’t the federal government followed suit? Why are the families being ignored? The time to act on this is now.
In May, Congressman Adam Schiff (California) introduced language in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016 that would force the Department of Defense to reverse its flawed ruling and order that these names be added—that amendment was squashed at committee level without explanation. I am appalled that our lawmakers feel they do not need to answer to Gold Star families, the ones who gave all and continue to suffer. The families deserve better than this. They deserve answers.
As of June, Senator Chuck Schumer (New York) took on the effort and continues to push. I am asking that you offer your support. I believe this is a bipartisan issue that needs to be addressed for the proper memorialization of men who died in an American war. At the very least, perhaps the Department of Defense, which has fought this effort long and with little care, can address the concerns and questions that have been raised. It is time to stop ignoring this. This issue is not a budget concern, as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is nonprofit organization, funded with private donations.