Twenty-six service organizations are calling on Congress to include the U.S. Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a planned Native American Veterans Memorial in D.C.
The memorial, scheduled for late 2020, is to be built outside the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. The design, produced by Marine veteran Harvey Pratt, includes the logos of the five armed services, but not NOAA and USPHS.
The Military Coalition, which includes the Military Officers Association of America, is a group of 32 military, veteran and uniformed service organizations representing a combined 5.5 million service members, veterans and family members. The coalition, in a new letter to Congress, asks legislators to direct the Smithsonian Institution to include the logos for NOAA and USPHS.
[READ THE LETTER: The Military Coalition's Message To Congress]
The letter is addressed to leaders in the Senate's Committee on Rules and Administration and the House's Committee on House Administration. The letter notes that service members in NOAA and USPHS are veterans under federal law. Native Americans are particularly critical to USPHS. There are 800 Native Americans currently serving, currently make up a staggering 12 percent of the force, “the highest percentage of Native Americans of any of the seven federal uniformed services.”
“The National Native American Veterans Memorial is a worthy effort to honor all Native Americans who have served our country in uniform and who proudly carry the status of 'veteran' under federal law,” the letter reads. “We, the undersigned members of The Military Coalition, believe that such a memorial is a one-time opportunity to honor all of these veterans and that it will not properly do so unless the logos of both the US Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are part of the design of the memorial.”