APRIL 29, 1957
NEW YORK—There is a bill in Congress, HR 358, which would grant an increase in pensions to widows of Spanish American War veterans. I want to draw it to the attention of my readers in the hope that they will feel, as I do, that these poor women should be permitted to live out their remaining years in dignity and without great hardship.
This subject was brought to my attention in a letter from William E. McCann Jr., representing the National Committee on Legislation and its Administration of the United Spanish War Veterans.
He reminded me that these veterans were 100 percent volunteers, both in the Army and the Navy, and that their widows now are on an average of 78 years old. More than 75 percent of them are wholly dependent upon their meager pensions and are in dire need.
It seems to me that there can't be many of these widows living. And though I realize what a heavy burden the cost of past wars puts on the U.S. taxpayer, I feel that this country would gladly accept the obligation of caring more adequately for this small group of war veterans' widows.
The Catholic Committee of the South on Human Rights in New Orleans has put out a handbook on Catholic school integration which I think might well be read by any citizen of the U.S.
This pamphlet explains for members of the Roman Catholic Church the reasons for desegregation in elementary Catholic schools. Many of these reasons are just as valid for desegregation in any schools in the U.S.
All of us may not agree with every statement in this pamphlet, but many statements are applicable to all of us, regardless of the particular religious dogmas we accept, and I think this is a pamphlet that can be read with profit.
I had an indignant letter from a woman concerning the taking away of government life insurance from servicemen now in training and putting them under Social Security.
I think this was done because government life insurance was provided for men actually in the fighting forces, with the feeling that men in training undergo hardships no more unusual than those of civilian life. As a result, these men should come under the Social Security program the same as other citizens.
But the situation of which this woman—a widow—writes is a difficult one. She has twin sons in the service and she says neither of them can get insurance from a private company, leaving her completely unprotected.
I think this question deserves further study by our government, particularly as it affects boys in service which in themselves entail risks greater than those encountered in the average daily existence. Perhaps exceptions should be made.