Rochester’s veterans loved to gather at the Rochester Veterans Park since the breaking ground ceremony. After the Park was completed in 2011, strange things happened – as shown in this letter to the Editor:
Blue Stone Press – September 21, 2012
Freeman – September 21, 2012
Shawangunk Journal – September 27, 2012
Veterans should be honored, not forgotten!
On any given night 107,000 veterans are homeless. This shocking information – glimpsed during a recent episode of ABC’s “What Would You Do” – prompted me to write this letter.
Ulster County is not immune to this problem. In an August 2012 press release, “County Executive Mike Hein thanked Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for signing important legislation to address the needs of Ulster County veterans.” According to Ulster County Veterans Service Agency “there are approximately 6-10 Ulster County veterans at any given time seeking emergency housing assistance.”
But the purpose of this letter is to look at what we do in the Town of Rochester to show respect for our veterans.
During my four-year term as Town of Rochester Councilwoman, I served as Town Board Liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission. HPC’s main effort and practically their entire budget was dedicated for years to completing the Veterans Park – continuing the work of former Town Board member Francis Gray, who spearheaded this project.
Our Veterans Park – just down the hill from the Town Hall, follow the new signage – is the result of dedication, determination, volunteer work and generous donations, spiced with heated arguments, delays and dilemmas.
In 2008, Councilman Tavi Cilenti – himself a veteran – and I discussed the project with Sen. Bonacic in Albany, but we didn’t receive any help; we just did it ourselves and it was finally completed and dedicated in 2011.
Unfortunately, I see a trend to play trivial political games with town celebrations. Instead of getting better, the situation got worse this year. The small ceremony at the Veterans Park on Memorial Day was not advertised at all – it was not considered a significant event. The chairs prepared for veterans in front of the Accord Fire House, where the parade ended, remained empty…
When Sue Cummings was our legislator she was always present at our town events; it’s really sad and disappointing to have now a Rochester Legislator who, two years in a row, joined the Memorial Day Parade organized by her husband only after the ceremony at the Veterans Park was over.
Nothing wrong with inviting a veteran from another town to speak at the Memorial Day 2012, even when he is a Bernardo-appointed legislative employee. To not invite our Rochester veterans was definitely wrong. Those empty chairs are a haunting image… Veterans should not be sacrificed for political gain or games; we are one town and should speak with one voice when honoring the veterans!
Veterans Day is coming; I sincerely hope the Town Board would make sure that on November 11 our veterans will be celebrated as they fully deserve. Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies should become a tradition at Rochester Veterans Park.
It’s really sad and disappointing that – for two years in a row – Terry Bernardo, the Legislator from Rochester, joined the Memorial Day Parade only after the ceremony at the Veterans Park was over.
Nothing wrong with inviting Frank Reggero, a veteran from Saugerties, to speak at the Memorial Day 2012, even though he is a Terry Bernardo-appointed legislative employee. But definitely the wrong decision was made by the emcee (Len Bernardo, above, in respectful shorts) to not invite our Rochester veterans.
Those empty chairs are a haunting image… Veterans should not be sacrificed for political gain or games; we are one town and should speak with one voice when honoring the veterans!
Wake up people!
– Jon Dogar-Marinesco