This is beyond the usual time period of American history down to the end of Reconstruction covered in this blog, but it seems appropriate on this Labor Day to recall some of the unsung heroes of World War II, the Merchant Marine. Along with their British colleagues in the Merchant Service, and the merchant fleets of the other allied nations, the Merchant Marine manned the merchant vessels that delivered supplies and troops through the war torn waters of the Atlantic and Pacific. Technically civilians, one out of 26 merchant mariners died in action during the war, giving them a higher fatality rate than any of the armed services. Members of the Merchant Marine were often jeered at as slackers and draft dodgers by civilians when they were back on shore who had no comprehension of the vital role they played. Incredibly, these gallant men were denied veteran status and any veteran benefits because they were civilians. This injustice was not corrected until 1988 when President Reagan signed the Merchant Marine Fairness Act.