On Friday-10-November the Bogota VFW Ralph Hall Post # 5561 held their annual
Veteran's Day ceremony in the Main Hall of their post headquarters. The sparsely attended event was the post opportunity to thank those Women and Men who had served the United States of America. At this years event Post Commander Alexander Hernandez asked those Veterans in the audience to give their stories of service. One veteran had served in World War II and the Korean War. Five Veteran served in Vietnam. Along with two Veterans who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of the veterans talked about enlisting instead waiting to be drafted. Other were not sure if they wanted to enlist or not. But then answered the call of the Government to serve the country. Other stories were of how, when deployed overseas, they would be seen as protectors, and then the next moment they could be fighting for their lives, and the lives of their follow soldiers. A few of the Vietnam Veterans recalled the unpleasantness when they returned home. Both those who were drafted or enlisted face the wrath of a public who opposed the war in Southeast Asia. Some just tried to move on, while other returned the conflict to in Vietnam to be back with the others to try and finish the job started years before.
When Commander Hernandez talked about his service in the Middle East it was to describe his duty to identify the fallen Soldiers so that they could be returned home. He wanted to say the bodies, but many times there was not a full human being left to be brought back to their county. Commander Hernandez then talked about what it means to be a Veteran. He said a Veteran was someone who left home to serve their country in times of need. That is a wide view of what a Veteran is. But a closer look at a Veteran shows someone who feels the need to place themselves in harm's way for a cause they believe in. To leave their Family and Friends not every knowing if they will see them again. A Veteran is someone to will develop a bond with their fellow Soldiers closer than anyone ever before and after. Then when somehow able to survive while others did not not knowing if they should contact the Family of the fallen. They want to explain how a person served and how they work worked together for a common goal. But at the same time waiting to spare the family any more pain of seeing at a different person was able to come home. Most of all a Veteran is someone who will insure America is the Land of the Free, because of the Brave.
The next speaker was Charlie Severino, who now serves as the Bogota School Board President. But in 1966 he was a recent High School Graduate who was unsure if he wanted to enlist, or not. On a Christmas Eve the decision was made for him and then entered the US Army at the age of 19. After a tour of duty he was able to return home. There were over 8,200 other 19 year old Women and Men who would be able to return home. They however were not the youngest. One soldier PFC Dan Bullock was killed in action at the age of 15. The story of his return was also something of note. The unfortunate reality of too many Vietnam Veterans was they were starting to become a symbol of the distrust of the Government. On what should have been a routine bus ride home Mr. Severino learned what it would be like for other coming home during the same era. Trying to get in Manhattan from Newark Airport should have been a 50 cent trip. But with only a full dollar, and in full uniform with service medals on his chest, this became an embarrassment of feeling unappreciated for his service. He was asked not to get on the bus because he did not have "exact change". While one member of his Brigade was a Felix Falcon. Mr Falcon would be posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, while others could not obtain a simple ride home.
Al Hermann would recite an original poem he wrote about the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC
Next Bogota Mayor Chris Kelemen spoke to the Veterans and thanked them for doing something he, and many others did not have to do. He talked about how these, and all, Veterans are a part of what make the Borough and Country a special place to live. Mayor Kelemen again said that the residents of Bogota are proud to have these veterans as part of this town.
The next part was the announcement that Robert Foster would be named as Bogota's Citizen of the year. Mr Foster would be given this year's honor for with Volunteer work with Rescue Squad, Ambulance Corp and most recently the Auxiliary Police Dept. Mr. Foster could not be present at this event and will presented with his plaque at the Borough Government Reorganizational meeting at the start of the New Year.
Earlier in the program Post Chaplain Aaron Grenier would play Amazing Grace on the Bagpipes. And at the end of the ceremony Commander Hernandez would lead the Audience in Patriotic songs.
The VFW Auxiliary said that they are continuing to accepted pull tads from Aluminum cans. This are collected and sent to the Ronald McDonald House Foundation which in turn sells them to be recycled with the process going to help Fund the Foundation efforts to to aid Families with sick Children to stay together while under going treatment.
Another donation that the VFW Auxiliary collect are canceled stamps. These are study to see if there is any historical, geographical or subject value. Any profit when dealing with further collection individuals is sent to their home missions. For information about the VFW Auxiliary programs , or how to donate please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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