Remembering Veterans

In 1950 a petition was circulating in Missouri for a bonus bill to be passed so veterans could be placed on the November ballot.

In 1950 a petition was circulating in Missouri for a bonus bill to be passed so veterans could be placed on the November ballot.

The petition stated the maximum bonuses to World War II veterans would be $400 for those who served within the U.S. and $500 for overseas veterans. Only those veterans who served between Sept. 16, 1940 and Sept. 2, 1945, would be eligible.

The petitions were distributed by representatives of the VFW posts at Tina, Chillicothe, Carrolton, Gallatin, Jamesport, Gilman City, Bethany and Pattonsburg. The petitions were simply a way to get the bonus bill on the ballot at the November election. People signing the petitions had to have resided in the state one year and in the county 60 days. If the bill passed, the bonuses would be derived from special taxes to be imposed on items in 10 categories, nine of which were listed as luxuries, and the 10th against corporations doing business in the State of Missouri.

The taxes used to raise the money would cease on the date the money had been raised. This bonus was completely separate from any federal bonus which might come in the future. To be placed on the ballot, they had to be signed by eight percent of the legal voters in each two-thirds of the congressional districts in the state and filed at the statehouse at least 120 days before the election.

In late May 1950, both the Gallatin and Pattonsburg veterans’ organizations and auxiliaries had memorial services at two different cemeteries. At Brown Cemetery in Gallatin more than 50 veterans and a score of their auxiliaries listened as a brief prayer was said and an American Legion post commander read a tribute to all war dead. A similar service was held at the Pattonsburg Cemetery. At each service, a firing squad of seven veterans fired three shots into the the air and standing at rest were color bearers, flag guard and members of the auxilary. Flowers were placed on veterans’ graves and a American flag was left as a grave marker in honor of each fallen soldier, It was the first time such a ceremony had been held at either cemetery since the close of world War II. Taking part in the services were veterans of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. More than 200 people attended the ceremonies.

At the election, more than 2,200 names were signed to 17 petitions passed among people in Daviess County urging them to vote for a veteran’s bonus for Missourians who were in the armed forces during the last world war. More than 850 of those names were signed in Gallatin alone.

At that time they had to have only eight percent of the voters in two-thirds of the counties of the state to get the measure before the legislature and they had more than the necessary number on the Daviess county petitions.

— researched by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin