Two members of the International Midway Memorial Foundation (IMMF) have been invited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to attend the 75th anniversary ceremonies that will be held on Midway on June 5, 2017. The total number attending the ceremony is limited to twenty-four people. Thus, only Chris Sims and I will be in attendance. Your Chairman will have an opportunity to award to the Midway veterans present the sterling silver Midway National Memorial Coin in a separate ceremony. The main ceremony will be covered by satellite television. The guest speakers will be Director of the Heritage and Naval History Command, Rear Admiral Samuel Cox, USN and a designee (yet to be determined) of the Department of Interior. We look forward to being Midway Atoll again.
“In January 2015, I retired from the U.S. House of Representatives after spending nearly 38 years working in the People’s House. For the last 20 years, I worked for the House Natural Resources Committee. In that capacity, I was able to recommend public hearings on issues affecting the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Sadly, most Americans are not aware that Midway Atoll, the site of one of the greatest naval battles, had become a wildlife refuge in 1996. They would also be shocked and dismayed to learn that its current governing authority, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), has done an abysmal job of protecting and preserving the historic military structures on Midway.
In November 2014, the leadership of the House Natural Resources Committee agreed to hold an Oversight Hearing on the mismanagement that occurred. Together with the International Midway Memorial Foundation, we were able to shine a bright light on USFWS’ misguided policies of maintenance neglect with no public visitation.
Due to my deep historical interest in the Battle of Midway and as a tribute to my father who served as a naval operator in the Pacific in World War II, I decided to write a book on the National Wildlife Service System and to highlight various refuges that have been a victim of mismanagement. Of these refuges the most important to me was Midway Atoll and one of the chapters in my book is entitled “Preserving Sacred Ground.” This book is available on Amazon and readers of this great newsletter may want to check it out.
With the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway rapidly approaching, now is the time for patriotic citizens to these demand policies either be stopped or authority over the Atoll be transferred to another federal agency. These grounds on Midway are as important as Antietam, Gettysburg or any other historical battlefield in this country.
*** Harry F. Burroughs is a member of the IMMF’s Board of Trustees.
The Sarasota, Florida Memorial Day Parade continues to take shape. Numerous high schools will participate in the parade. Preparation meetings are scheduled in City Hall April 11, April 25 and May 16 and 26. As guest speaker, I have entitled my speech “Victory at Midway: The Battle That Changed the Course of World War II.” We look forward to a great event honoring the men who fought in this decisive naval battle.
The latest narrative on Senator Dan Sullivan (AK) for a 75th anniversary Battle of Midway Commemorative Stamp is that his office will seek to obtain signatures for his letter to the Postmaster General from other senators who have served in the military during the Easter recess.
Chris Sims and I attended the National Maritime Awards Dinner on April 4. The invitation was extended by Captain James A. Noone, Counselor and Vice Chairman of the Foundation. James is also Dinner Co-Chair and National Historical Foundation (NHF) Director. Presentations of the NHF Distinguished Service Award were made to Dr. J. Philip London, the National Geographic Society (NGS), which was represented by Gary Knell, President and CEO. NGS’ presentation was made by Dr. Robert Ballard and Peter A. Seligmann. U.S. Coast Guard Academy Singers sang the military songs for each service. The night was a total success.
My manuscript entitled “Victory at Midway: The Battle That Changed the Course of World War II” is now undergoing its final editing by McFarland Publishing. The publisher is going to provide me with a promotional flyer and poster by May 1 which I will pass on to members of the Foundation.
Chris and I wish everyone a Happy Easter and Passover.