U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Dean Heller (R-NV), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) today introduced a bill that will ensure Jewish World War I veterans receive the recognition they deserve for extraordinary acts of military service.
The William Shemin World War I Veterans Act requires a review of Jewish World War I veterans' military records to see if any qualify for the Medal of Honor.
"All of our nation's veterans deserve recognition for their service and sacrifice that helped create the country we know and love today. This appreciation must extend to Jewish veterans who stood in defense of our nation and our cherished way of life," Boozman said.
"Thousands of Jewish service members have served our country bravely, but some may not have been adequately recognized for their service because of discrimination. Any veteran who has put their life on the line to keep us safe here at home or to defend liberty abroad deserve the opportunity to be thanked and awarded appropriately," Heller said.
"I'm proud to once again cosponsor this bill, which will help recognize the brave and selfless service of World War I soldiers like Sgt. William Shemin, who unfortunately may have been denied military honors like the Medal of Honor as a result of discrimination," Blunt said.
"The Congressional Medal of Honor is bestowed by our nation for extraordinary acts of courage and selfless sacrifice. Discrimination should never play a role in determining who receives this honor. This legislation will right past injustices. William Shemin and other Jewish heroes from World War I deserve no less," McCaskill said.
Congress has previously required reviews of veterans who may have been overlooked. In 2001, Congress passed the Leonard Kravitz Jewish War Veterans Act, which gave Jewish soldiers the opportunity to receive the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II.
Additionally, the 1997 Defense Authorization Act waived restrictions and limitations so that Asian American, American Pacific Islanders, and African American veterans' files could be reviewed to determine if they should be awarded the Medal of Honor.