Dateline - December 22nd
The Winter Solstice - Yesterday at 13:30 Hours local time in Bagram, Afghanistan, six Americans were killed. Sad to say that on this morning's network news this ran as the 5th or 6th item, behind Star Wars, Hillary vs. Donald, and the Miss Universe debacle.
Sad, not much has changed. People are simply tired of war. Back in my War by the late '60's we were averaging 200 KIA's (Killed in Action) a week. That became acceptable as news of the War found its way further and further back in the newspapers - to the point where reporters began referring to casualties as "light" or "moderate" or "heavy." It seemed it wasn't even worth taking the time to figure out what the actual body count was.
Part of the problem is that the public is, and was, more concerned with the latest movie than a dead soldier. During Vietnam you could understand to some degree, because of the unpopularity of the War, and since we, the soldiers of that War, became unpopular too. The public couldn't separate the War from the Warrior.
But now we hold our military in high regard. You must love the spots on TV where the Dad in camouflage shows up unannounced at his daughter's dance recital, or the Mom in her Class A's makes it to show and tell. These are the same networks that charge for time to do a Salute to the Troops before the kickoff.
Now everyone says: "Thank you for your service." It's gotten to be almost as meaningful as "Have a nice day." I guess it's better than being spit on. But at least we truly knew then how the people felt. Now we seem to be cursed by some politically correct, aging, wanna-be hippies who are working through their collective guilt of their actions of the 1960's - when they claimed to just be against the War. No one is more anti-war than a soldier. Most of them were simply afraid of being inconvenienced or hurt, or thought they were somehow better than us. Anyone notice that the protests ended the same time as the Draft did? Have we seen any anti-war protests at any college campuses lately?
For all the protests, the ones that finally got Washington's attention were those made by the Veterans of Vietnam. It was hard for us to come to that point because of the cost of what we had left on the battlefield - our friends, our youth, our souls, our blood. Blood which, like that of warriors of past centuries, would be washed away by the next monsoons - down through the highlands and the rice paddy dykes and out to the sea. The jungle would stand as a mute witness as it reclaimed our fire bases and LZs (Landing Zones.)
Those things about war don't change. Nor do the people who disrespected the warriors and their sacrifices. They're still more concerned with their comfort level. However, now they're PC and maybe worried about their chances of getting into heaven or appearing unpatriotic.
If we are not willing to go to war as a country then maybe it's not worth going. If we are not willing to give our full attention, why is it worth sending kids to die? Or is it that it IS somebody else's kid? That can be okay, or made up for because for $19 a month we can help a wounded soldier, and get a free blanket. As a wounded soldier, I'm curious how much of that $19 actually gets to the soldier. I feel those commercials are embarrassing. It's just another piece of the new "Plastic Patriotism" that has become an industry unto itself fueled by guilt, using a wounded soldier as an object to be pitied - this seems to fit with the condescending attitude these people have toward US soldiers.
Jerry Donnellan, Director
Veterans Service Agency of Rockland
20 Squadron Blvd., Suite 480
New City, New York 10956
A Marine Remembers Christmas Eve 1952
We often get responses/comments from veterans after they've read our monthly editorial. We always welcome your feedback, and you can always find previous issues of our newsletter on the RockVets website at: http://www.rockvets.com/newsletters.
One such response came from a local Korean veteran named Art Cooke as he relayed a story that happened to him on Christmas Eve 2015. Art said this was one of the most surprisingly emotional experiences that he had ever had. We'd like to share it with our readers.
Here is Art's story....
"I ran out of my Chablis wine and didn't want to go to Shop Rite where I usually go, so I went to our local wine store (Mountain View in the lower Orangeburg Center) where the owners are Korean. I walked into the store, knew where the Chablis was, and got a bottle. I went to the counter and there was a pleasant Korean man about 75 years old. He took my order and thanked me.
There was no one else there with us; if there were, I would just have walked out. But as I made my way out of the store I stopped, turned to him and said, 'You know, I was in your country in 1952 up by the Imjin River where it made a left turn west to go out to the sea.' [It was an age old corridor for the North to invade the South.] I said, 'Christmas Eve I spent all night in a frozen hole in the ground about 2 feet deep with a buddy, each of us doing 50 percent of the watch. It was snowing, we were 2 miles in front of our line preparing to block any attack and give time for the main line 2 miles to our rear, time to defend. The enemy set up loud speakers and played Bing Crosby's, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" and they had a male with a British accent telling us to "give up and come over to our side, we will treat you well..."
"I'll cut this short: we called Artillery and blew up their speakers!'
"By now the old man in the wine shop was just listening quietly. I said, 'Merry Christmas' and walked out of the store.
I just felt in the mood to tell this gentlemen I had been there. I walked 50 feet to my car and heard someone behind me saying: "Sir, Sir, please take this." He handed me a bottle of wine and said "Thank you, thank you very much. I was a little boy in 1952. I was 7 years old - Thank you!"
I shook his hand and was going to hug him if I could, but having keys in one hand I didn't. But for that one moment I felt the warmest "thank you" I ever felt.
I said: 'Thank you, Sir, Thank you for making this Christmas Eve special.' Someone thanked me for that lonely, home-sick, cold Christmas Eve, alone with another Marine - trying to stay warm in a frozen hole in the ground in North Korea. 'Thanks, Sir,' I said, 'I'm happy we helped.' Amen."
Art Cooke, Korean Veteran.
Nyack School Board Meeting Affecting Veterans
On Tuesday, January 5th, 2016, there is a Nyack School Board Meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Administration Building, Board Room - District HQ at 13A Dickerson Avenue, Nyack, New York. Parking is difficult there, so please arrive early.
The Nyack School Board has placed the issue of granting a partial exemption on School Taxes to Veterans for public comment at this meeting and at another meeting on Tuesday, January 19th, 2016. The January 19th meeting will be held at Nyack Middle School, 98 South Highland Avenue in Nyack, New York 10960.
We need a maximum turnout of Veterans, at these meetings! If the district grants the exemption, there will be a small increase in taxes for non-veteran homeowners, so there is a possibility that people will attend to speak AGAINST the proposal. (See Nyack School District web site http://www.nyackschools.org/
for more details).
We MUST have a large turnout to make this happen. Recruit friends and family and non-veterans who support us to attend, sit with us, and speak out in favor of the proposal. Three districts in Rockland County have granted this benefit to Veterans: North Rockland, Clarkstown and South Orangetown. Let’s make Nyack the fourth district to say to their students that they honor and respect the service of those who sacrificed to keep America free! To view the Nyack Public Schools website, click on this link:
Four Chaplains Memorial Service
The Rockland County Four Chaplains Service will be held on Sunday morning, February 7th, 2016 at the Dutch Tappan Reformed Church, 32 Old Tappan Road in Tappan, New York 10983.
February 3rd, 2016 will mark the historic 70th anniversary of the sinking of the United States Army Transport Dorchester and the legendary acts of selflessness of four Army chaplains who were aboard. Four Chaplains Day, as Congress has declared the date, honors the four chaplains who went down with their ship, as they gave their life jackets to other passengers.
The Four Chaplains – sometimes called the Immortal Chaplains – were men from four different religions who sacrificed their lives for men of all faiths. In the 70 years since the incident, Methodist minister George L. Fox, Reformed Church in America minister Clark V. Poling, Roman Catholic priest John P. Washington and Rabbi Alexander B. Goode have been immortalized with commemorative postage stamps, a Congressionally recognized anniversary and numerous re-tellings of their heroics.
Angel Flight - Bringing Home Our Heroes
This video is about a song called "Angel Flight"... The plane in the video is called "Angel" because when the plane releases its decoy missiles, as is shown in several of the pictures, it creates an angel shape in the smoke. It carries our heroes home. Listen to the words of the pilot and the tower.
If you are a vet with a business in Rockland County, you can send us some information about what you do and we'll promote it in an upcoming newsletter. Send us a copy of your DD214, a photo of you with your business, and a photo of you from your time in service. No need to be a combat veteran. Hopefully, many of our readers will use your business. You can e-mail the photos and details to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hudson Valley Honor Flight
Enjoy spending the day traveling to Washington, D.C. as an escort to a World War II Veteran, through Hudson Valley Honor Flight. Applications can be found on their website: http://hvhonorflight.com/how-to-participate/. For further information, contact Beth Vought, Executive Director, Hudson Valley Honor Flight via e-mail: Beth@HVHonorFlight.com.
Tuesday, January 5th, 2016: Nyack School Board Meeting 7:30 PM Administration Building 13A Dickerson Avenue, Nyack. The Nyack School Board has placed the issue of granting a partial exemption on School Taxes to Veterans for public comment at this meeting and the January 19th, 2016 meeting at Nyack Middle School. We need a maximum turnout of Veterans, in caps, at these meetings! If the district grants the exemption, there will be a small increase in taxes for non-veteran homeowners, so there is a possibility that people will attend to speak AGAINST the proposal. (See Nyack School District web site for more details). We MUST have a large turnout to make this happen. Recruit friends and family and non-veterans who support us to attend, sit with us, and speak out in favor of the proposal. Three districts in Rockland County have granted this benefit to Veterans, North Rockland, Clarkstown and South Orangetown. Let’s make Nyack the fourth district to say to their students that they honor and respect the service of those who sacrificed to keep America free!
Sunday, January 10th, 2016: Annual American Legion Post 310 Holiday Party at the Legion Hall in Nyack. This is a great party every year, with a 50/50 raffle, surprise gifts, good food and fellowship as we celebrate our service to God, Country and Each Other. House Manager Ken Wanamaker will once again prepare a great day for your enjoyment. Please contact him at (845) 558-6747, or e-mail to: email@example.com to make your reservation, as he does need a “head count”. Cost is only $30.00 per person. Please note: As always,this event is open to ALL VETERANS, SPOUSES, and FRIENDS, so spread the word!
Tuesday, January 19th, 2016: The second public comments meeting - this one to be held at Nyack Middle School. Again, we need veterans to show up for these meetings. If the district grants the exemption, there will be a small increase in taxes for non-veteran homeowners, so there is a possibility that people will attend to speak AGAINST the proposal. (See Nyack School District web site for more details). Three districts in Rockland County have granted this benefit to Veterans, North Rockland, Clarkstown and South Orangetown. Let’s make Nyack the fourth district to say to their students that they honor and respect the service of those who sacrificed to keep America free!
Friday, February 5th, 2016: Jerry Donnellan will host the monthly RockVets radio show on WRCR 1700 on the AM dial. It is just after the 10:00 a.m. news break. You can call in and ask Jerry questions or share information about issues concerning veterans or our military community. The show also airs live online at: www.wrcr.com. It is also a great opportunity to tell the community about upcoming events your organization may be hosting. The call-in phone number is 845-362-0013.
Sunday morning, February 7th, 2016: The Four Chaplains Memorial Service will be held at the Dutch Tappan Reformed Church, 32 Old Tappan Road, Tappan, New York 10983. This will mark the 70th Anniversary of the sinking of the Dorchester and the subsequent heroic acts by these four Chaplains.
Tax Exemption Changes for World War II Vets
A recent amendment has changed the longstanding $5,000 limit on the “eligible funds” for veterans exemption. The amount has been increased to $7,500. Thus, as of July 1, 2015, a veteran with an eligible funds exemption is entitled to an exemption equal to the amount of eligible funds that the veteran used to purchase property, subject to a limit of $7,500. This may affect some World War II veterans but in actual dollars, it doesn't amount to much. If you'd like further details, please call the veterans' office at 845-638-5244 and we'll be happy to send you the particulars.
Smooth Ride Limousine Service in New City, are hiring chauffeurs and are interested in veterans to contact them. For further information, contact Nathan Zisser at Smooth Ride Limousine Service New City, New York 845-638-9110 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Program Coordinator for United Hospice of Rockland
Are you looking for a rewarding position that provides an opportunity to be part of a compassionate, skilled and dedicated team? If so, then United Hospice of Rockland is the place for you!
The ideal candidate will have the ability to organize, supervise and assess volunteers, provide training, and be knowledgeable about our community. This position is responsible for the recruitment, selection, orientation, and supervision of all volunteers and the coordination of program administration. This position offers vacation, personal and sick time benefits. Click here for the full job description or visit www.hospiceofrockland.org. Like us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter @RocklandHospice.
If you are interested in the postion, please e-mail your resume to Karen Damiani, Human Resources Manager at email@example.com.
Plumbing and Heating Company: This local plumbing and heating company is looking for service technicians. Candidates must have clear driver's license, and be able to work full-time, as well as overtime; must be in good physical condition as heavy lifting is required at times. Salary is based on experience. For further information, contact Joey via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is an Equal Opportunity Employer that welcomes all veterans to consider employment throughout our Eastern Territory. Locally, The Salvation Army has its Territorial Headquarters in West Nyack and the College for Officer Trainining is in Suffern. Job postings may be viewed through our website at: https://careers-usesalvationarmy.icims.com/. For further information, please contact Sharon Reynolds, PHR, Human Resources Specialist at 845-620-7483, extension: 20483.
RJ Staffing: If you are looking for work, I can help! My name is Jennifer and I work for RJ-Staffing in Rockland County, New York. We have many job opportunities available and would love to speak with you if you're looking for work! Please contact Jennifer directly via e-mail: email@example.com or call Jennifer at 845-624-0400.
Greyhound - Now Hiring Motorcoach Operators in New York City
Free training (and money while you learn!)
Free travel passes
Comprehensive benefits including 401 (k)
Snow Removal/Heavy Equipment Operators - Top Pay for Seasonal snow/heavy equipment operators. CDL license Drivers, Fuel Truck Drivers. (HAZMAT/TWIC,) Spreader drivers (CDL B). Valid driver's license and able to pass background check. LaGuardia and JFK Airports and locations in Port Washington, Long Island. Apply: http://www.dejanaindustries.com/ or call 516-944-3100.
United States Postal Service: The US Postal Service is looking to hire veterans as well as other qualified candidates. Please check out their website for positions of interest to you: http://www.usps.com/employment.
Local Veterans' Organizations
For your information, here are the addresses for some of our local veterans' organizations:
- Rockland County Marine Corps League, P.O. Box 191, Haverstraw, New York 10927
- 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 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:
- Motorized Wheelchairs
- Manual Wheelchairs
- Bath Chairs
- Transfer Benches
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 - A Project of New York Vets
You can find information, useful links, and view our webpage at www.rockvets.com. Previous copies of our newsletters are also available on our website.
On the first Friday of each month, just after the 10:00 a.m. news-break, RockVets has a live call-in talk show on Rockland County's local radio station - WRCR 1700 AM dial. This live show is hosted by Jerry Donnellan. We encourage you to call-in and ask any questions you may have relating to veterans or the military. This is also a good opportunity to promote any upcoming events for your organization that would be of interest to the veteran/military community. The call-in number is 845-362-0013. Please note, WRCR is now on 1700 AM dial. The show is also live on the internet at: http://www.wrcr.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 20th of each month so we can get the information in the following issue. Send information to email@example.com.
Veterans Service Agency of Rockland
If you plan to come to the Veterans Service Agency office, please call to make an appointment so we can give you the time you need: 845-638-5244.
Jerry Donnellan, Director
Veterans Service Agency of Rockland County
20 Squadron Blvd., - Suite 480
New City, New York 10956
RockVets website: http://www.rockvets.com
RockVets newsletters: http://www.rockvets.com/newsletters