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Foreign Wars here in Washington. We think you have one of the finest officers anywhere in this country, who ably represent you before the Members of the Congress. We are happy that you have Cooper Holt and Francis Stover with you here today, and I am going to ask Mr. Holt if he would, to present some of his distinguished guests and friends in Congress.
Mr. Holt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I know that you are proud of the wonderful group we have here today. Certainly, I appreciate the opportunity of first presenting the lovely ladies to my left.
First, I will present the national president of our wonderful auxiliary, half a million members, Mrs. Lola Reid, of Minnesota ; the lovely wife of our commander in chief, Jean Carr, from Louisiana; the wife of our senior vice commander in chief, Shirley Soden, from Illinois; the wife of our junior vice commander in chief, Mary Lou Stang, from Kansas; the vice president of our ladies auxiliary, Mrs. Odie Lee Gossett, from Louisiana; the junior vice president of our ladies auxiliary, Mrs. Betty Butler, from New Jersey. Another lady that gets the work done at their national headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., the secretarytreasurer of the ladies auxiliary, Miss Erlene Mayberry, from North Carolina.
Then, Mr. Chairman, I would like to present our national officers and vice commanders in chief, people who have been doing a magnificent job for the VFW throughout the Nation, Ray Soden, our senior vice commander in chief, from Illinois. Our junior vice commander in chief, from Kansas, John Stang; our adjutant general, Julian Dickenson, from Texas; our quartermaster general, J. A. “Al” Cheatham, from Kansas; judge advocate general, John F. Dargin, Jr., from Massachusetts; surgeon general, Dr. Julius Levine, from California; national chaplain, Rev. Lawrence Calkins, from Illinois; our chief of staff from Arkansas, J. P. Cockrill; national inspector general, Weldon Talley, from Louisiana.
Our past commanders in chief, I would like you to remain standing:
Paul Wolman, from Maryland ; James E. Van Zandt, from Pennsylvania; Robert T. Merrill, from Montana; Ray H. Brannaman, from Colorado; Clyde A. Lewis, from New York; Jimmy Cothran, from South Carolina ; Merton B. Tice, from South Dakota ; Timothy Murphy, from Massachusetts; Richard L. Roudebush, from Indiana; John Mahan, from Montana; Louis Feldman, from Pennsylvania; Bob Hansen, from Minnesota ; Byron Gentry, from California; Andy Borg, from Wisconsin; Leslie Fry, from Nevada; Joseph Scerra, from Massachusetts; Richard Homan, from West Virginia; Ray Gallagher, from South Dakota; and H. R. “Chief” Rainwater, from California.
The politician of the group, Joseph Vicites, from Pennsylvania.
Mr. Dorn. Thank you, Cooper. I don't know when the committee has had the pleasure of having such a splendid audience here and so many past commanders in chief. This is very encouraging to us, the deep interest that all of you take in veterans legislation.
Mr. Commander, I know you are proud of your distinguished Representative in the Congress, and of course we here in the House think he is a great leader. The great State of Louisiana has had wonderful leaders. We still miss Hale Boggs, of course. So, Congressman Waggonner, would you present to the committee your commander in chief.
Mr. WAGGONNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, it is my extreme honor to be able to present this honored witness before you on this occasion.
First of all, I would have to say that it appears that the eyes of Texas are upon me this morning. I was not conscious, as a member of the Committee on Committees, that we had stacked this committee with three Texans, until the introductions were made today. One Texan like the one on your left would be enough for almost any committee, I guess. The veterans never had a better friend and never will, and I take nothing away from any man when I make that statement.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you and your committee, every single member of this committee, for the concern you have demonstrated down through the years for veterans and their problems and for the needs of veterans and for the needs of this great country. I, as well, want to thank the Veterans of Foreign Wars for the concern they have demonstrated down through the years for veterans and for their problems. As you have done, they have done. They have approached the problem in the way that you have, with commonsense, as practical people would.
I guess I could say that the gentleman I am going to introduce to you today has demonstrated wisdom all of his life. Having been born in Mississippi, he, a little later--when he reached the age of accountability-had the good judgment to move a little further west to Louisiana and yet not go too far to the west on into Texas. He found a home in Louisiana, and we love him. We can talk about vital statistics, but that sort of thing is not important on an occasion such as this. I am not Pat Carr's Congressman, but we all, in Louisiana, consider him as our constituent. I think Pat considers all of us who represent congressional districts from Louisiana to be his Congressman. Pat Carr is an example of what has made this country the great place that it is. He places his God and his country above everything else and has done so down through the years. He is a distinguished member of the bar in Louisiana, member of the local bar association, State bar association, and the American Bar Association. Pat Carr has demonstrated to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, as I know he will do to you in his appearance here today, his ability and respect for veterans and his concern for veterans and his concern for his country. He, of course, has served as all commanders in chief of the VFW do, as junior vice commander, senior vice commander in chief, and now as commander in chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I don't know what has happened to his law practice in the interim because he has devoted so much of his time to the VFW. He is not a man of great means, so he has made a real sacrifice to serve the VFW veterans in his country in this capacity, but sacrifices are nothing new to this man. Pat served his country in World War II.
On August 9, 1944, on the occasion of his 40th mission as a gunner on a B-24, he was shot down and was a prisoner of war until April of 1945, when he experienced then what veterans are experiencing now, the joy of having stood by his country and having had his country stand by him. Pat knows better than some of us how the experiences and the sacrifices made by our POW’s who have been released and those still being held, yet to be released-hopefully before the deadline date of March 28. I know he shares, in his heart, the faith in this country and the faith in God that these prisoners of war being currently released have experienced upon their return to the United States. It is faith in a man's God and faith in a man's country that makes a man a great American. Pat Carr is a great American because he has faith in his God and faith in his country. He is a family man with a lovely wife
a and seven fine children. Although you ladies are in the minority on the occasion of this particular committee session, Pat is in the minority in his family. He has four daughters and three sons. He refers to them as four queens. I don't know of a better reference frame in which he could place those lovely daughters or his family. So it is a very personal privilege and high honor for me to present a personal friend and a distinguished, God-fearing veteran to this distinguished committee. Mr. Chairman, I know you will receive him as you always do, graciously, and listen attentively to what he has to say.
Thank you for the opportunity to present to you now the commander in chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Patrick E. Carr.
STATEMENT OF PATRICK E. CARR, COMMANDER IN CHIEF,
VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. CARR. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is a great privilege to appear before your distinguished committee to present the legislative program of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
Our appearance before this committee is the highlight of our annual conference of national and department officers here in Washington.
This is our 20th successive year of membership growth. The Veterans of Foreign Wars was founded, as most of the members of this committee know, back in 1899, when a handful of veterans of the SpanishAmerican War met almost simultaneously in several cities to discuss mutual problems of returning veterans of that conflict during the last century. These veterans subsequently joined together to establish the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. From that beginning in 1899, the Veterans of Foreign Wars has grown steadily until today we have the largest membership in our history. This next year will be our 75th anniversary and as we go to our national convention in New Orleans, we are hoping that we will be well over the 1.8 million mark.
Accompanying me today are the men who are directly responsible for the vitality and leadership of our organization. These are the officers, commanders, and committee members at all levels of our organization from all over this Nation, who have helped make the Veterans of Foreign Wars the greatest veterans organization in the land. I know I speak for all of them when I express the deep appreciation for the opportunity to appear before this great committee.
The many programs of service to veterans and their families, to our communities, and to the Nation are the primary reasons for our continued growth. As I previously indicated, many of the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars who have labored so hard over the years in behalf of our programs and purposes are with me today. Many of them have already visited with you or will be visiting with you today and later tonight at our banquet in your honor at the Sheraton Park Hotel.
Time does not permit a complete description of all of the programs which the Veterans of Foreign Wars carries out in behalf of veterans and their dependents and other programs for the benefit of the Nation. I will, however, refer to one of these programs, which is our “Voice of Democracy” program. This is a script-writing contest participated in each year by high school students from the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Panama Canal. The theme again this year is “My Responsibility to Freedom.” Five scholarships, totaling $22,500,
" will be awarded to the winner of this script-writing competition at our congressional banquet tonight. The first-place winner will deliver his or her speech and receive the first prize of $10,000 to be used to further his or her education at the college or university of his or her choice. Mr. Chairman, these “Voice of Democracy” State and territorial winners are seated directly behind me, and it is my honor to present to you and your committee these winners at this time. Thank you. These are all great Americans, Mr. Chairman.
Down through the years this committee has been chaired by outstanding and distinguished Members of the Congress. For the majority of Veterans of Foreign Wars members, we have known only one chairman. I would be highly remiss if I failed to mention that we have all noted that the man who has chaired this great committee for so many years with such great distinction has taken over the chairmanship of another committee. We are extremely happy that he has chosen to remain on this committee and will be chairman of the most important Subcommittee on Compensation and Pension, which programs are of such intense interest to over 5 million veterans and their dependents. As chairman of this committee from 1954 to 1973, he has made a record, which I am sure will be difficult to ever surpass. Practically every veterans program, right, and benefit has been considered and approved during his tenure as chairman of this committee. Mr. Chairman, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the veterans of this Nation and their dependents will forever be indebted to the man who headed this committee for almost 20 years. He is by every and any measurement a truly great American. We of the Veterans of Foreign Wars salute the Honorable Olin E. “Tiger” Teague of Texas.
Veterans and their dependents are most fortunate to have during this crucial period in our history another great American who has become chairman of this Veterans Committee so important to us all. Mr. Chairman, many of us know you well. We all know you by your accomplishments and achievements. Your 22 years on this committee have made you eminently qualified to continue in the great tradition of Chairman Teague. The Veterans of Foreign Wars extends every best wish to you, Chairman Dorn, for every success in this most important role of vital concern and interest to the more than 29 million veterans and their families throughout the Nation.
The legislative program of the Veterans of Foreign Wars is established by the approval of resolutions by the delegates representing our membership at our national conventions. Our most recent national con
vention, held in Minneapolis, Minn., last August, approved about 300 resolutions, the majority of which relate to legislation coming within the jurisdiction of this committee, and I might add we had registered at that convention approximately 15,000 delegates. Following our convention, our national legislative, national civil service and employment, and national security and foreign affairs committees met here in Washington and reviewed these 300 resolutions. As a result of their meetings a representative list of national resolutions was recommended by these committees, and I have approved as commander in chief our priority legislative program for 1973. This program has been printed in an attractive brochure, and a copy has been furnished to every Member of Congress and Government officials having a responsibility for carrying out and implementing of veterans programs.
It would be deeply appreciated if a copy of the digest of our national mandates adopted by delegates attending our Minneapolis convention, and a copy of the brochure listing our 1973 priority goals be made a part of my remarks at the conclusion of my statement.
Mr. DORN. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. CARR. Mr. Chairman, it is a historical fact that the contribution made by those who wore the uniform in time of war are soon forgotten in the aftermath of war. The Vietnam war has been unpopular and has deeply divided the Nation. It has come as a shock, however, to the Veterans of Foreign Wars to realize that even before this war was over, veterans and their dependents are already being given the short end of the stick.
I am referring to the shocking and totally unexpected and unwarranted vetoing of two comprehensive veterans' bills on October 27, 1972. With the war still continuing in Vietnam the antiveterans forces in the Office of Management and Budget and other policymaking levels of our Government persuaded the President to withhold his approval of two comprehensive veterans bills in the name of economy and balancing the budget.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars holds that the cost of veterans programs has been and always will be a part of the cost of war. If there are any programs which should be exempted from budgetary and fiscal limitations, they are veterans programs. We can't expect veterans who have made one sacrifice in the national interest to make a second sacrifice at the expense of his health in order to balance the budget. Compassion dictates that there should be no economizing at the expense of veterans and their dependents. Veterans programs should be exempt from budget restrictions.
Mr. Chairman, it is most difficult to determine just what the national health strategy of this administration is regarding veterans hospitals and medical care. We do know where the Congress stands. We do know the policy the Congress has laid down is, for example, that the Veterans Administration shall maintain an average daily patient load of not less than 85,000 in Veterans Administration hospitals. Regretfully, we also know the Veterans' Administration contemptuously ignores this congressional mandate by maintaining a substantially lower average daily patient load, which is around 82,000 at the present time.
Mr. Chairman, the Congress has always been most compassionate and generous in its treatment of veterans and their dependents. Our