Congressman Tim Ryan seeks to honor overlooked WW2 veterans

Congressman Tim Ryan. Photo: U.S. House of Representatives.

November 27, 2017 | Washington, D.C., USA. Today Congressman Tim Ryan (Democrat-Ohio, 13th District) requested, by letter, a presidential proclamation. This, the second initiative undertaken by Representative Ryan to honor the thousands of American citizens who voluntarily joined, with the express approval of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and tacit permission of federal and state agencies, the Canadian and British armed forces and their affiliated organizations during the Second World War, seeks to non-legislatively obtain recognition for the surviving veterans and their families through the Executive Branch.

To date, the U.S. Government has been silent related to the service and valor of this noteworthy contingent of patriots. Congressman Ryan, his staff and a small group of initiators, which includes Ohioan Tim Tracey, earnestly desire official acknowledgement. Notably, Mr. Tracey’s father served in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) before transferring to the U.S. Army Air Forces in the months after Imperial Japan’s December 7, 1941, surprise attack.

Paramount to all concerned is obtaining belated and justified gratitude for the thousands of men and women who crossed into Canada and others who independently made their way across the Atlantic Ocean to England, the “Mother” country. These individuals defended freedom and democracy against Nazism and fascism before the United States’ official entry into the conflict. A significant number perished.

Congressman Ryan’s first offering, a Congressional Gold Medal bill (H.R. 1553), remains in committee. The stated purpose of H.R. 1553 is to “award a Congressional Gold Medal to all United States nationals who voluntarily joined the Canadian and British armed forces and their supporting entities during World War Two, in recognition of their dedicated service.” The requested proclamation, if signed, would result in the President of the United States declaring a “National American Veterans of World War II Canadian and British Service Month.”

A spokesman for the group backing the initiatives noted, “It is questionable whether the two documents would have been produced without the dedicated guidance and oversight of U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Valerie Broznak, Congressman Tim Ryan’s outgoing Defense Legislative Fellow. Her counsel proved instrumental, and that is why the bill and proclamation were successfully generated during her tenure.”

Meanwhile, Bomber Command Museum of Canada and associated colleagues within the United States and Canada continue to promote the legacies of those who were members of the RCAF and Royal Air Force (RAF) during the conflagration. Generally referred to as “RCAF-Americans” and “RAF-Americans” respectively, these “Yanks” are being honored through ceremonies in every state from which the volunteers hailed.

Karl Kjarsgaard, Director of Bomber Command Museum of Canada and a Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) researcher and noted seeker of Handley Page Halifax heavy bomber components and structures succinctly stated the reasoning and justification behind the organizations’ mutual cause: “Because the RCAF manned so many Halifaxes, a significant percentage of RCAF-American casualties were incurred by American aircrew members serving aboard these mammoth bombing machines. We are determined to see that they are not forgotten.”