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Neighbor to Neighbor

Memorial Day was blessed with great weather and support from people of all ages, nationalities and religions. Event conception and planning takes time, effort and money. Those undertaking such efforts do so for the greater good. Thank you.

This year, events were supported and appreciated. Participants held in their prayers and hearts those who sacrificed in past wars and now in battle. We hear too seldom of their victories that might encourage support at home. I hope this attitude changes soon so our young and world community will recognize the good this country has done and will do around the world. Mistakes have been made with some corrected, but there some need to be addressed — like the St. Albans Veterans' Extended Care Facility.

It must be turned into a full-service hospital with an emergency room and chapel. No more of the grounds should be taken and no further encroachment should be entertained. If there is further development, it should be made with the veterans' consultation, not for them by a committee who may not be attuned to their needs.

I implore anyone who can help to give these veterans their due. Show us the long overdue positive action. This U.S. Navy-built, anchor-shaped building is a World War II treasure that should be preserved as a historic site.

My friends in other parts of the country have nothing but praise for the services they receive from their veterans' hospitals. Without those services here, some of our veterans are shunted off to the Bronx or Brooklyn, which can be exhausting, especially for someone incapacitated or in poor health. Our country is willing to help in times of need. Our veterans are in need and there will, no doubt, be more to come.

On May 24, the Cornucopia Society's Fred Kress, with assistance from state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans); City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans); state Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans); Citizens Against Graffiti Everywhere; the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces; Bishop Aubrey N. Bougher and Paul Mader of Rosedale's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Christ; the city Parks Department; the city Department of Transportation; Emergency Medical Technician Ed Pearce; Jim English; Andrew Korman, Michael Klaum and T.J. Veigh, three willing students; and Mr. and Mrs. A. Chimiente and B. Morris, in the presence of past and present Rosedale residents, paid tribute to Vietnam veterans and the monument erected 40 years ago to honor them.

Mary Autorino, Rosedale's last Vietnam War Gold Star Mother, was presented with a bouquet in the presence of her family and the audience after the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Kernite Hurks, prayers by Bougher and music by Rich Wardlow.

The 2008 Laurelton Memorial Day Parade has grown by leaps and bounds. I remember that first parade of six people years ago. To our community's credit, those six inspired and continue to inspire others to join and bring friends and neighbors. Credit goes to sponsors the Laurelton Lions Club, Garden Club of Laurelton, American Legion Post 1948 and Concerned Citizens of Laurelton with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5298.

It was nice to see youngsters ready to march to the music of the Elite Marching Band and be supported by their parents. All too often parents have such busy schedules they cannot find time to do things with their children. Nevertheless, the children's talents shone through, as evidenced by the Girl Scouts' banner.

The Rosedale parade, with Ann English as grand marshal and Mader as master of ceremonies, marched to the music of St. Clare's Roman Catholic Church and Golden Emeralds and Gems. Ann spoke of the letters she sent to and received from military members of World War II and told us she still has letters returned to her after they were killed in action.

Bougher and Father Kevin McBrien, St. Clare's' pastor, led those gathered in prayers honoring veterans. Rabbi Shalom Nemtov from the Rosedale Jewish Center was present but did not speak due to laryngitis. Monsignor Thomas A. Graham of St. Pious X Roman Catholic Church gave the closing prayer, then the group went to the Vietnam monument, where William Perkins, the Rosedale Civic Association vice president, welcomed everyone.

Vernita Burks sang "The Star-Spangled Banner," the clergy led prayers for veterans and many had refreshments at the American Legion Hall. Our sympathies to Post Commander Jim Hunt on losing his brother.

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