Cadman Park Conservancy honors late WWII veteran
Veterans honored at Cadman Plaza Park
As the nation prepares to celebrate Veteran’s Day next week, Americans should all be grateful for the sacrifices these brave men and women have made in the past and continue to make for our nation.
Our veterans need our support now more than ever, and government must help them and their families. Instead of worrying so much about the illegal immigrants who continue to cross into our country, the government should be taking care of our veterans.
Thank you for your bravery, service and dedication protecting this country.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Elmhurst Park was vandalized sometime between Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
Graffiti vandals spray-painted “Baby Killers” and swastikas, among other things, in the shadow of several wreaths that were placed there last Thursday morning during a Memorial Day ceremony.
The memorial was dedicated on December 26, 2019. It culminated a decade-long push for the $2.85 million monument, which features a curved bench flanked by two semi-closed granite walls.
One wall bears the names of 371 men from Queens who fought and died in the Vietnam War. The second features a timeline of the war and a map of key locations.
An additional plaque honors the lives of veterans who died from illnesses related to their service in Vietnam. It includes the name of Pat Toro, a former president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 32 who began the push for a memorial in 2008.
He passed away in 2014 due to complications from exposure to Agent Orange during his time in service.
In honor of Memorial Day, we revisited some undated photos we found in our archives. When we first ran them, we heard from two people who actually took part in the event.
From John Rowan, national president and CEO of the Vietnam Veterans of America, founding president of Chapter 32 in Queens, and a resident of Glendale:
This picture is from the May 1985 Welcome Home Parade as part of the dedication of New York City’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 55 Water Street in Manhattan.
The flag bearer on the left is John Zimmerman, and behind him is Mike Boyle in the cap, who has since died due to complications from Agent Orange exposure.
To his left is Dominic Yezzon, Esq. I am in the flight suit to the left of Borough President Donald Manes. To my right is Willie Hill. The vet in the wheelchair is Matt Raible. Three men to his left is Ron Renne. The Marine to Ron’s left is Mike Kern.
It was quite a day.
And from longtime Chapter 32 member Don Fedynak:
The photo is actually from the “The New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Parade” which took place in May 1985. The veterans marched across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, past City Hall and down Broadway’s Canyon of Hero’s in a hail of ticker tape.
For most of the veterans it was long overdue. For this was the first time they had been afforded such an honor since their return home from Vietnam.
To Donald Manes’ left is Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan. Directly behind John is me, Don Fedynak. Also in the photo are longtime chapter members Dominic Yezzo, Bill Ellis, Ron Renne, Ken Trautman, John Zimmerman, Bob Delgato, and way too many to mention here.
I’m a veteran and have been homeless for almost two years. My patience has run out.
I have been in numerous shelters during those two years. At present, I’m at a shelter at 22 Sumner Place for the elderly. All day we just sit in our room. There are no programs to entertain us.
The staff wishes to help us, bu the higher-ups do not give the staff funds to purchase things to keep our minds active.
Other shelters get the funds to keep their clients happy. They go to the movies or they go bowling.
They also have people who work there to find permanent housing quickly. At my current shelter, there is only one person to help find housing for over 100 residents. There are people here who have been waiting for housing for over a year.
I feel like they just want us to die here.
Many of us at the shelter are veterans. We stood up when we were called to defend this country with our lives. Now people write about the issues facing veterans, but there is no action from the government.