Letters: Veteran status wrongly denied

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Regarding "Battle for benefits" [News, June 23], about the nurse cadets from World War II asking to be granted veteran status, thank you for publishing our story.

However, I wish to correct misconceptions by Bradley Mayes, director of benefits for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He told Congress in 2009 that veteran status for the nurses is inappropriate because we weren't in the military. The program did not require us to join the service, submit to military discipline or stay longer than we wanted to.

We cadets were educated, given uniforms and salaried by the federal government, just like the military. We were committed to work until the war was over.

The care of patients isn't for everyone, and some cadets couldn't handle it, so they had to be allowed to leave.

Many of us were just teenagers. We worked hard and were the homeland caregivers. The cadets covered hospital shifts by ourselves from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If the war had continued and there was a need for nurses for the military, there is no doubt that we would have been called to serve.

Eleanor Moffatt, Lynbrook

Editor's note: The writer served in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps.

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Nurse cadets want to be granted veteran status. I say, good luck with that.

Merchant mariners have been fighting for veteran status ever since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised them when he signed the G.I. Bill in 1944. Congress did not include merchant marine veterans in the original bill, which helped their armed comrades attend college or vocational training, start a business or buy a home. It wasn't until the late 1980s that merchant mariners were granted access to disability pensions and medical care.

The merchant mariners had higher casualty rates than any of the other services, including the U.S. Marine Corps. Merchant mariners wore uniforms, were recruited and trained by the government, were subject to military orders, fought U-boats and bombers alongside their Navy Armed Guard shipmates, had ships torpedoed from under them, were prisoners of war, participated in most of the major battles, and got medals for valor.

The only problem was that the seamen's paychecks came from the shipping companies that chartered their ships to the military, instead of from the War Department. Regularly, bills are submitted in Congress to make up for the benefits the survivors deserved but never got. None has ever passed.

John Eastlund, Wantagh

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Editor's note: The writer volunteers at the Long Island Maritime Museum.

Soccer isn't a partisan endeavor

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I agree with columnist Ellis Henican's criticism of Ann Coulter's misguided statement about soccer: "Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation's moral decay" ["Don't red-card the World Cup," News, June 29].

I had the pleasure of coaching children's soccer in my community. This has given me the opportunity to watch young boys and girls develop into outstanding young men and women. The players learned, through soccer and other sports, the value of hard work, competition, sportsmanship, teamwork, victory and defeat. Moreover, lifelong friendships were created.

Wayne Harris, Old Bethpage

Expiration dates can create waste

I've been on a personal mission to put a stop to the waste that occurs every day in kitchens across America. So, I was happy to read Peter Goldmark's column "Conquer waste to feed the world" [Opinion, June 22].

Goldmark addresses the tons of food that end up in landfills. My mission is to get consumers to understand that a "sell by" or "best by" date doesn't mean to toss an item in the garbage on that day. Many of these items could still go to feeding the hungry and poor.

Lorraine Magyar, Holtsville

Speed cameras in school zones debated

There is a huge difference between red-light cameras at intersections and speed cameras in school zones ["Speed cameras OKd near LI schools," News, June 26].

Cameras at intersections conform to state laws that are always in effect. School speed zones vary depending on the day and hour. Signs aren't always clear.

If the school zone cameras are to be installed, then electronic signs must accompany them informing drivers when the limits are in effect. These signs should be accurately synchronized with the cameras.

James Holland, Mastic Beach

I say, kudos, for adding speed cameras in school zones. About two years ago, my neighbor Joe, who was 86, and his dog Sandy were hit by a speeding car trying to make the light in Glen Oaks Village. This was one block away from a school.

I hope the $50 fine will make some people think before they speed down our residential streets.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks Village

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