When I was a little kid in Nyack, I couldn't wait for the Memorial Day Parade. I had a new bike - a two-wheeler, and I was going to weave red, white, and blue crepe paper in the spokes and ride at the end of the Memorial parade like the big kids did. By "big kids" then, I meant 11 and 12 year olds! I was all set to go when a cranky old veteran told me that Memorial Day was not about having fun.
The world has turned a couple of times since then and now that I'm the cranky old veteran, I understand, and I chafe when people wish me a "Happy Memorial Day," but, being now a man of peace, I just smile and nod.
Since World War II we have steadily drifted away from the meaning of Memorial Day. In 1971 it became the Monday holiday, changed from the original 30th of May. This made it open season on shopping and sales, and truly commercialized the day. In 1973 the Draft ended, so fewer families understood military service and its costs.
In 1987, the Rockland County Vietnam Veterans came together and started the Watchfires. We decided they should be on the traditional Memorial Day and not require a band, fireworks, or an audience, other than those who understood. Somebody actually told me they were inconvenienced. Memorial Day seems to have become a second 4th of July.
On Memorial Day, I saw that an ad was taken out by one of our local politicians, thanking the troops and veterans. Of course, that was the small print. The bigger part of the ad was a picture of himself. That's all well and good, but it ain't about troops or veterans.
It's about those who are no longer troops, and didn't live long enough to be veterans. But I guess they can't vote - except maybe in Chicago! That's not to say that the day has to be spent hanging crepe, or acting as if you're at a wake or sitting shiva. But somewhere in the course of the day, take the time to remember, and tell the kids.
I've been to war and the short of it is, it's hard to know the true cost. Trying to explain this is also hard. Although it doesn't happen often, you know how you feel when you're at the Mall and someone stops and lets you take a parking space that they could have taken? You think, "What a nice person." You even tell your friends and family - maybe even for a day or two.
Well, the people we honor on Memorial Day gave up more than their parking space.
[Jerry Donnellan - editorial from May of 2015]
Annual Watchfires Commemoration
Thursday, May 30th, 2019: At midnight on May 30th, 2019, Watchfires will again be lit along the Hudson River. Before the Watchfires are lit at midnight, services at each Watchfire location will take place around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night. The fires will be lit at Clausland Mountain, Piermont Pier, Gene Levy Park on Route 45 in Pomona, Bowline Park in Haverstraw.
Memorial Day Ceremonies Around Town
Please check your local Towns and Villages for Memorial Day weekend ceremonies near you.
Here are a few we know of now:
Rockland County Memorial Day Service: Sunday, May 26th 2019 - 12:00 noon. The ceremony will be held at the Frederick Loescher Veterans Cemetery, 220 Brick Church Road, New Hempstead / Spring Valley, New York 10977. The service begins at 12:00 noon. The pubic is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Following that will be the annual ceremony at Gary Onderdonk Veterans Cemetery at Rockland Community College...145 College Road, Suffern, New York 10901.
The Gary Onderdonk service will be followed by a short ceremony at the Korean War Memorial in the same area.
Stephen Holley Interview -- Carry The Load
For the next month, the VA’s National Cemetery Administration is partnering with Carry The Load. This week’s guest, Stephen Holley, is the CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit. He’s also a former quarterback at the Naval Academy and a former Navy SEAL.
After graduation, Stephen served as a SEAL Officer for five years. During those five years, he deployed four times. His deployments covered COIN operations in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Southeast Asia.
After his service he, and fellow Navy Seal Clint Bruce, founded Carry The Load. The nonprofit started as a means to reinforce the meaning behind Memorial Day. Today, their mission is “to provide active, meaningful ways to honor and celebrate the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes— military, veterans, first responders and their families.”
Read further about the Carry the Load program and listen to the Podcast interview with Stephen through this link:
By CLAUDIA GRISALES | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: April 30, 2019
WASHINGTON – Lawmakers and military advocates on Tuesday urged new action to support servicemembers exposed to toxic burn pits that have been linked to a long list of serious illnesses.
Today, a registry of servicemembers exposed to burn pits now totals 173,000.
And there could be many thousands more, some experts and lawmakers contend.
“We need to take care of our veterans, we need to provide the health care that they need and the benefits that they earned,” Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., told an audience gathered Tuesday on Capitol Hill for a briefing on the issue. “We need to act now.”
Ruiz joined Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii and a panel of advocates and experts urging new actions on a package of legislative efforts regarding burn pits.
Burn pits exposed deployed servicemembers to dangerous chemicals and fumes that have been linked to a series of deadly illnesses, experts have said.
Hundreds of open pits have been used at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to burn trash, human waste, petroleum, rubber and other debris and released hazardous smoke into the air. Some troops exposed to smoke from burn pits have attributed medical conditions, such as respiratory issues and cancer, to the toxic fumes.
But much work remains for government officials to make that connection, lawmakers and advocates said.
“It doesn’t take a genius to understand there is an association between this toxic smoke and somebody’s ill health,” said Ruiz, an emergency room physician. “We ban the use of burn pits in the United States of America because it could cause health effects including cancer. Then why are we allowing American soldiers being exposed to burn pits in other counties when our government and our military are doing the burning?” For complete story, see this link:
By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: April 29, 2019
WASHINGTON — A veteran died by suicide outside the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Cleveland on Monday – hours before a House panel was slated to discuss several other veteran suicides that occurred on VA property this month.
“Another one just today,” said Melissa Bryant, the policy officer with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “That’s our sense of urgency.”
The veteran died at about 3 a.m. outside the emergency room at the Cleveland VA, said Bryant, who was briefed on the incident. At 5 p.m. on Capitol Hill, House Republicans and Democrats joined together to draw attention to what they described as a rising trend of suicides on VA campuses.
The scheduled hearing and news conference were held in response to multiple instances of veterans dying by suicide in April — three suicides in five days. Two happened on VA campuses in Georgia and one inside the waiting room at a VA clinic in Austin, Texas.
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on Monday evening heard from officials at the National Institute of Health and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration about best practices for suicide prevention.
VA launches digital campaign encouraging mental health conversations. The Website features more than 600 stories of Veteran resilience and recovery.
VA - May 1st, 2019
WASHINGTON — In recognition of Mental Health Month in May, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is launching “The Moment When” campaign, a nationwide effort starting May 1 that will feature Veterans’ personal experiences with mental health treatment and recovery.
“VA continues to be the nation’s vanguard in reshaping the conversation around mental health treatment and recovery,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Since May is Mental Health Month, make this the moment you start the conversation with a loved one or reach out for support if you need it.”
The Moment When campaign will highlight many moments in the broader mental health recovery process: from the moment when a Veteran reached out for support, to the moment when the Veteran realized treatment was working.
Throughout the month of May and beyond, VA encourages Veterans and their families to visit www.MaketheConnection.net/MHM to explore stories of recovery and find local resources.
Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call VCL for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat online at
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force has finally flown its variant of the F-35 in combat, using two of the aircraft to take out an ISIS tunnel network and weapons cache in Iraq on April 30.
Tuesday’s airstrikes — the first U.S. use of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing model at war — follow the combat employment Israel Defense Forces’ F-35As in May 2018 and U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35Bs in September 2018. The F-35′s arrival comes a little more than a month after B-1B Lancer bombers completed their deployment at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar
By: Stephen Losey
According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command, the airstrike occurred at Wadi Ashai, in northeast Iraq. An April 24 news release from U.S. Central Command stated that ISIS fighters “have been attempting to move munitions, equipment and personnel” to Wadi Ashai in order to “set conditions for their resurgence,” prompting a counter-offensive by Iraqi Security Forces and supported by Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.
“The F-35As conducted the airstrike using a Joint Direct Attack Munition to strike an entrenched Daesh tunnel network and weapons cache deep in the Hamrin Mountains, a location able to threaten friendly forces,” stated the AFCENT release, which used an alternative name for ISIS.
Further information about the event, including whether the strikes were successful, was not made available in the release. To see full article, view this link: Airstrikes with F-35
From the National Archives
From the National Archives - On May 10, 2019 the National Archives unveils a new major exhibit to mark the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment and its impact on our nation’s history. The exhibit will run through January of 2020.
Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote will be the cornerstone of the celebration of this historic amendment. This new exhibit commemorates an important anniversary by looking beyond suffrage parades and protests to the often overlooked story behind this landmark moment in American history. This fuller retelling of the struggle for women’s voting rights illustrates the dynamic involvement of American women across the spectrum of race, ethnicity and class to reveal what it really takes to win the vote for one half of the people.
Veterans Service Records: There is a wealth of information available through the National Archives, such as Veterans Service Records -- for yourselves, family members or ancestors if you are interested.
Nestled in the Hudson Valley just north of the Bear Mountain Bridge, the West Point Golf Course offers an unforgettable golf experience. The West Point Golf Course is an 18-hole challenge on a mountain layout, with well maintained terrain normally seen only at private clubs or high-end courses. Don't let the length fool you this Robert Trent Jones design course is a great challenge for all levels of golf.
One takes a walk through history at the West Point Golf Course, starting with Hole #1 the tee marker reflects upon the American Revolution finishing with #17 and #18 reflecting upon Iraq and Afghanistan. The course is home of Army Golf, the Academy's division one golf team practices and holds tournaments. A favorite is the Army Navy Match - GO ARMY.
After your round enjoy a choice of over 50 beers, great burgers, wraps and other fabulous freshly made food.
*Please note: we may close the Club House in the event we have a private event or outing. We suggest calling before hand to avoid an adverse experience. For further information, check out this link:
Date: May 12, 2019, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Adults: $33.00. Children (6-11) $17.00 Children under 5: Free
West Point Club - 603 Cullum Rd Bldg. 603 West Point 10996 Open to the Public
Seating’s begin at 11:00 a.m. and are a maximum of 2 hours in duration.
Fresh Baked Pastries, Muffins & Fruit Breads
Smoked Norwegian Salmon
Savory Cheese Spreads, Bagels & Warm Sliced Artisan Breads
Applewood Smoked Bacon,
Breakfast Sausage & Oven Browned Breakfast Potatoes
Farm Fresh Scrambled Eggs & Warm Sautéed Vegetables
Crisp Golden Brown Belgium Waffles with assorted Fruit Topping & Whipped Cream
Warm Maple Syrup & Pecan Butter
Chilled Shrimp Cocktail & Raw Bar
International & Domestic Cheese Display
A wonderful selection of International Smoked Meats and Salami’s paired
with Soft and Hard International Cheeses
Olive & Roasted Vegetable Assortment
Garden Salad Selections
Mixed Garden Greens with Assorted Berries & Toasted Almonds
Grilled & Chilled Vegetable Salad & Tortellini Pasta Salad
Roast Prime Rib of Beef Au Jus
Horseradish Crème Sauce, Red Wine Demi-Glace & Horseradish
Apple & Cranberry Stuffed Roasted Loin of Pork
Entrées & Sides
Baked Red Snapper topped with Creole Sauce
Sauté Chicken Piccata,
Penne Alfredo with Broccoli
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes & Candied Yams
Applewood Smoked Bacon, Macaroni & Cheese & Fresh Seasonal Vegetable
Warm Breads & Rolls & Whipped Butter
A Wonderful Selection of Fresh Baked Pastries, Mousse, Pies, Cakes & Ice Cream.
Hot Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, Orange Juice, Apple Juice, Iced Ted & Iced Cold Milk
Seatings every half hour from 11am-1pm.
Prepaid reservations and last day to cancel is May 8th.
In addition to Mother's Day Brunch, every Sunday there is Champagne Sunday Brunch
West Point Club - 603 Cullum Rd Bldg. 603 West Point 10996 Open to the public
Sunday Brunch is held from 10am - 1pm and runs from March 3rd through November 17th in the Club's Pierce Dining Room. Cost $30 per adult - $15 per child (6-12) Reservations suggested.
Contact via telephone +1 (845)938-5120 or view this link:
WEST POINT MUSEUM: The West Point Museum is looking for volunteers to serve as museum guides during the spring, summer, and football season. Hours sought are weekdays between 11am and 4pm (as your schedule allows), with the potential to expand to weekends after training. Volunteers would be the public face of the Museum in the galleries; responsibilities would include giving tours, helping visitors navigate the museum, and relaying visitor feedback and questions to curatorial staff. Volunteers may also be called upon to assist with special events at the museum and the main USMA campus. Please contact Michael Diaz at email@example.com or 845-938- 7342.
The West Point Museum is looking for volunteers to serve as collections assistants. Hours sought are weekdays between 8am and 11am. Volunteers would help curatorial staff inventory, transport, and exhibit artifacts around the Museum and the USMA campus. Volunteers should be able to lift moderate weight (~50 pounds). Craft, technical, and mechanical skills a plus. Volunteers may also be called upon to assist with special events at the museum and the main USMA campus. Please contact Michael Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-938-7342.
TOWNS 4 TROOPS: a non-profit local off- post organization that provides social and family services, activities and fun events for active duty military and their families in the Hudson Valley Region at a zero cost. This young yet growing organization is in need of volunteers with experience in the following areas: website design, social media coverage, merchandise design and sales, financial assistance and grant writing, and areas of law. If you have an interest in any of these areas and would like more information contact Kara Pletcher (845) 938- 3655 or email email@example.com.
WEST POINT SCHOOLS- PARENT TEACHER ORGANIZATION (PTO): Is looking for volunteers for next school year’s PTO. The following positions are needed: President, 1VP (in charge of membership), 2VP (in charge of volunteers), secretary, treasurer, parliamentarian, and school board liaison. If anyone is interested or has any questions feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
SPRING YOUTH SPORTS: Coaches are needed for Soccer Baseball, Flag Football, Running Club and modified Track & Field. Coaches must attend the coaches meeting to review the rules & coaching policies. If you know someone or are interested in coaching, please contact the Youth Sports Office at (845) 938-3208/8525.
ARMY COMMUNITY SERVICE: Seeking volunteers to help with greeting customers and special projects and events. ACS is a fun place to volunteer and gives a chance to support programs to enhance resiliency, and personal and professional growth. Our vision is to foster resilient communities and contribute to military and family member readiness. Interested volunteers can call or email (845) 938-3655, email@example.com.
KOSCIUSZKO’S GARDEN: April through October. A small retreat garden built by Tadeusz Kosciuszko on the side of a cliff overlooking the Hudson River. First constructed in 1778, it still offers visitors and cadets a place of quiet tranquility during the warmer months. Volunteers will be needed during the months, April - October for weeding, planting and blowing off surfaces and picking up random trash. Tentative schedule will be the 1st Wednesday of every month, 0930-1100. Please call (845) 938-3655 for more information.
To register as a West Point volunteer please contact the Army Volunteer Corps Coordinator at (845) 938-3655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veterans' Retreat - Equine Program
Contact: Laurie Bryceland - email: email@example.com
Subject: GAIT's Veteran's Retreat
Register now for this 6/28-6/30/2019 Veterans Retreat!
This retreat is for Veterans and an optional support person. It is FREE of charge and the participants will be staying at beautiful and historic Malibu Dude Ranch in Milford, PA and have the opportunity to use all the amenities at the resort for the weekend. All the Equine Immersion Activities will take place at the nearby GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center. All Veterans near and far are invited to attend. Spaces are limited, so early registration is encouraged. For further information, contact: Laurie Bryceland, Assistant Executive Director, PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor, GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center
PO Box 69, Milford PA 18337 - Phone: 570-409-1140 - Fax: 570-300-2288
Website: http://www.gaittrc.org. Visit them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GAIT.TR
VVA Chapter #333 - Handcycle Program - Ongoing
Here is some information on the HANDCYCLE PROGRAM from Roy Tsudy of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333: Since 2013, VVA Chapter 333 has created their Handcycle Program. Roy, along with fellow chapter Vietnam veteran Marcus Arroyo and others (via fund raising along with donations) have purchased and donated 13 of these cycles to military veterans with leg amputations and / or spinal cord injuries. Unfortunately, due to strict adherence to HIPPA law, they cannot easily locate veterans who can benefit from having one of the hand cycles. They find the candidates via extensive research or word of mouth.
With that in mind, if you know of any veteran with combat related injuries who would like to own a Handcycle free of charge, please contact Roy Tschudy via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org so a proper vetting process can begin by both Marcus and Roy. Thank you. Roy Tschudy V.P., Chapter #333 Vietnam Veterans of America.
The most recent hand cycle was presented recently to a female veteran who suffered injuries in a crippling car accident sustained during her time in service, that had left her wheelchair-bound for the past 25 years.
The members of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333, run fundraisers to help pay for the hand cycles needed for these veterans. Roy Tschudy, Vietnam veteran and Co-Chair of the Handcycle Program, has written a book about Vietnam titled: "ENDLESS." All proceeds of the sale of Roy's book will be donated to the Hand-Cycle Program.
"ENDLESS" is available in paperback or e-book form and can be purchased on Amazon.com at this link:
or simply type in BOOKS and then enter the name: ROY TSCHUDY. "ENDLESS" will appear and the purchase can then be made.
West Point Employment Opportunities: Join a team that takes care of our Soldiers, Civilians and their families. West Point Family & MWR has multiple positions available from event catering, childcare, and outdoor recreation. Apply for a position at West Point & enjoy the opportunity to take care of those who protect our great nation.
USIS-US Information Systems, Pearl River, New York has numerous jobs available and we appreciate their reaching out to our veterans. USIS is located at 35 West Jefferson Avenue, Pearl River, NY10965. Their website is: http://www.usis.net/. If interested in any of these positions, please send an updated resume to: Anjelica Pagnozzi - Recruitment@usis.net (845) 353-9248. Please submit resumes and questions to Anjelica Pagnozzi: email@example.com
Creative Design Construction:Nicole@creativedesignconstruction.com - Creative Design Construction, 204 Livingston Street in Northvale, New Jersey 07647, works all over the Rockland/Bergen County area, are currently looking to expand production teams and are interested in candidates that are willing to learn or have experience in construction. We thought this might be a great opportunity for veterans that are returning from service. We sincerely appreciate their service and would love to give them the opportunity for full-time employment. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nicole at 201-768-5813. View their website here: https://creativedesignconstruction.com/
Montefiore-Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York 10960
See link for full listing and information about career opportunities at Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York.
Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern, New York. Good Samaritan Hospital is affiliated with Westchester Medical Center. See this link for available employment - https://wmchealthjobs.org/search-jobs/
NYC Green Book Online: The Green Book is the official directory of the City of New York. An indispensable reference guide for anyone living or working with New York City. Includes detailed listings of agencies. Website:http://a856-gbol.nyc.gov/GBOLWebsite/
For your information, here are the addresses for some of our local veterans' organizations:
Rockland County Marine Corps League, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
Vietnam Veterans of America, P.O. Box 243, New City, New York 10956
Nam Knights, 1 Western Highway, Tappan, New York 10983
Korean War Veterans, P.O. Box 304, New City, New York 10956
R.C. Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
Jewish War Veterans, P.O. Box 38, New City, New York 10956
Veterans of Foreign Wars, P.O. Box 921, New City, New York 10956
Air Force Association, Chapter 251, 207 Treetop Circle, Nanuet, New York 10954
Rockland County American Legion, 86 South Reld Drive, Pearl River, New York 10965
Combat Vet ID Cards Available Combat Veteran ID Cards are available. If you are a combat veteran, you can get this card at the County Clerk's Office which is located at 1 South Main Street, Suite 100, New City, New York 10956. To apply for the Combat Veteran ID Card, or the F.A.V.O.R. card for all veterans, if you don't already have one, bring your DD214 to the County Clerk's Office. They'll take your photo and make up a card for you.
For further information, contact the Rockland County Clerk's Office at (845) 638-5076.
This new Combat Veteran ID Card offers all of the same benefits as the F.A.V.O.R. (Find and Assist Veterans of Record) card, which includes almost 1000 discounts to Rockland's veterans, but this new CVID card has specific advantages. The CVID card is co-sponsored by the Rockland County Police Benevolent Association and will be recognized by our local law enforcement agencies. So if you ever get pulled over, along with your license, registration, and insurance card, show the police officer your Combat Vet ID card so he knows you're an in-country vet.
Useful Telephone Numbers for Veterans
Rockland County Veterans Service Agency
Rockland County Sheriff’s Office
Veterans Peer-to-Peer (Counseling)
People to People (Food)
Montrose VA Hospital
New City VA Clinic
Rape Crisis Services (Main)
Rape Crisis Services (24/7)
Home Health Care
Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency
Nyack Hospital Emergency
Mental Health Association of Rockland County
Mobile Mental Health
West Point (nearest military base)
New York National Guard (Orangeburg, NY)
Army Reserve (Orangeburg, NY)
Rockland County Housing Action Coalition
Meals on Wheels
Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary
The Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary continues its on-going campaign - Pet Rescue - to reunite our troops with pets they may have had to leave in Afghanistan. Cans and bottles (no glass bottles) that can be recycled for cash, may be brought to Kearsing Edwards American Legion Post 1600, 20 Station Road in Pomona, New York. They are collected by ARC Pet Rescue volunteers and recycled. Contributions for the Pet Rescue Project are also welcome! The funds pay for food and water to sustain pets on their journey home; their transportation is free. For more information contact Chairman Dale Fisher 845-304- 3595.
Rockland County Marine Corps League - MASH Unit
We regularly receive donations of handicap assistance equipment for disabled veterans from people who want to help. Our donated equipment is available for free to military veterans and their families. The items include the following:
If you have need of any of this equipment, contact the folks at the Rockland County Marine Corps League - 845-323-8774 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
RockVets Newsletter - A Project of New York Vets
RockVets is an Outreach project of New York Vets, Inc. - a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization established in 1992, to advocate for those who have worn the uniform of the U.S. Military, no matter where or when they served.
The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets publish this monthly e-newsletter. We welcome your thoughts, questions, and feedback. E-mail: email@example.com.
At the discretion of the editor, we'd be happy to add your upcoming events to our newsletter. Please submit the details to us as soon as possible, but no later than the 25th of each month so we can get the information in the following issue. Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.