The Treatment of Widows By Our Government
I have been hearing a lot about the theft of the of death benefits for the spouses of our military officers lately, and I have decided to relay my mothers’ story to you. My Dad was in the Army during WWII. Not because he had to be, his two older brothers had joined the military already, but because he thought it was the right thing to do! He fought his way in when they told him to stay home, as they didn’t want to take all the men from any family. While in service he was captured during the battle of the buldge and for 9 months his family and friends feared he was dead. One of my cousins was even named to honor him during that time. When he came home he married my mother. They had known each other as children and fallen in love during his years overseas, though the letters they wrote to each other. My dad was a lifetime member at our local V.F.W. Club and a member in the fraternal brotherhood of the Cooties. My mom in the Ladies Auxiliary. On September 7th, 2006, my dad passed away quietly at home. His funeral, by chance, fell on September 11th that year. While friends and family huddled in the funeral home out of the rain, we could hear the salute of the rifle fire outside.
My mom went about gathering all the information she could find. Trying to get the finances understood, my dad had always taken care of that. She filed all the appropriate paperwork with Social Security, Insurance, and The Office of Veterans Administration. We had several appointment with the Veterans Administration and she wrote letter after letter, to the Veterans Administration and to our local representatives, here in Racine. Finally, she began writing Rep. Pau Ryan. Someone after all should be able to help her get the money she was do! Form letters and denials were all that came and then nothing at all…
I live with my mom now and even our combined income is small. Thank God the house was already paid for, but the taxes keep going up. She cancelled her life insurance and then that on the house, saying she couldn’t afford it. We have to mind how much water we use and the electric bill. Every time we try to cut costs the rates go up. It’s an endless battle and one we fear we are loosing.
This is how our country has repaid those who love it. Those who believed in everything it had to offer. How many other stories are out there, right now, exactly the same as ours? How did we become so complacent as to give up the freedom that brave men like my father fought to protect?
Jennifer L. Bonini
April 8, 2011
In memory of Donald, Raymond, and Harold Brechtbill…