Monday, August 02, 2010

Who murdered the vets?

Yesterday at the Women's Club book sale for 50 cents I picked up a signed copy of "The Key West Reader: The best of Key West's Writers 1830-1990." Published in 1989, and edited by George Murphy a resident and writer of Key West. It's a very interesting collection by known and unknown (to me) American writers, such as John James Audubon, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and John Hersey.

I've never been particularly fond of Hemingway's fiction, but the non-fiction accounts of the Labor Day 1935 hurricane (category 5) that killed over 400 people in an area with a population of a thousand or so in this book are stunning. Every governor and city mayor of the gulf states should be required to read this. If Louisiana's state and local officials knew this story and how bad FDR looked for sending unemployed and mentally addled WWI veterans to their certain death in a hurricane, maybe the outcome of Katrina would have been different. Or not. Hemingway disliked FDR intensely, so Democrats probably don't read him. This is from HNN account:
    "Shortly after the natural disaster had occurred, writer Ernest Hemingway was contacted by the editors of New Masses to write an account of the storm from an insider's perspective. Hemingway's response was the article, "Who Murdered the Vets?: A First-Hand Report on the Florida Hurricane," published September 17, 1935, just weeks after the event. Although billed as a personal account, in reality it was an outraged demand for accountability for the needless death of the veterans. A hostile tone was established within the first few lines. "Whom did they annoy and to whom was their possible presences a political danger?" Hemingway asked. "Who sent them down to the Florida Keys and left them there in hurricane months?" Hemingway presented the veterans not merely as murdered but almost as though they had been assassinated for someone's personal political gain or simply that they were disposed of as an unnecessary burden to the public after courageously serving their country.
The left will always blame Bush for damages and deaths during Hurricane Katrina because they can't face up to the Democratic controlled administrations of Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana, and Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, who were in charge of the first line of defense. Presidents through FEMA then send in aid. Like FEMA hasn't done for the people of Ohio after its June tornado which destroyed a town (too white, too rural and too small to matter). Here's some background on the veterans from the Veterans' Memorial page:
    "Unemployed WW-I veterans staged hunger marches and demonstrations in several cities, but the most famous was the Bonus Expeditionary Force in Washington, D.C., in June, 1932. A WW-I bonus law was passed in 1922, but vetoed by the President. In 1924, Congress overrode the presidential veto and gave every veteran a certificate payable in 1945. The nation entered the depression and in 1931 the vets demanded to be paid the bonus early. In June, 1932, about 15,000 veterans descended on Washington to convince the Senate to pass the bill. They were unsuccessful and finally President Hoover chased the "bonus marchers" out of Washington with bayonets and tear gas. Some say this action "put Roosevelt in the White House." Anyway, FERA was created in May, 1933 and various work programs and camps were established throughout the country. The events leading to the presence of the veterans in the Matecumbe work camps followed this scenario."

1 comment:

Deb said...

wow, interesting. I will have to find this essay ...