Enjoying Your Freedom? Thank a Veteran!
by Cate Murway
Silent heroes live among us. We are safe because our veterans were strong enough to put their very lives in jeopardy. We thank these almost invisible heroes for what have remained their virtually unspoken valiant feats, true dramatic adventure stories and harrowing dangers. The riveting accounts of their sacrifice and dedication are far more meaningful than any contrived fiction. Movies have nothing on reality.
As often stated, “The price of Freedom is Never Free”.
If you were to encounter a World War II or Korean veteran on the street today, they would probably look to you like so many of the other graying, bespectacled elderly. The daring Vietnam military and the current Armed Forces, though they seldom talk about it, can still tell one heck of a story.
The names of over 2,100 Bristol veterans and military men and women who resided in the Borough when they enlisted, did incredible things, endured awful things, and for the most part, the majority of these brave Americans pretty much kept it to themselves and then just faded back into the fabric of a comfortable civilian life.
Let us be thankful for such courageous men and women.
Audacious and aggressive, and willing to extend their experience beyond the physically familiar, all of the veterans put service above self and went where they were told to go, giving of their youth and health. They exemplified patriotism, honor, duty, and sacrifice.
The veterans have earned nothing less than the highest respect, praise, and thanks from our entire country. It is up to us to preserve the sacredness of their sacrifice.
They should not be forgotten.
Our Nation cries out for heroes and role models of strength, character, and inspiration but the passing of time and fading memories obscure those very heroes we need so badly, from our consciousness.
We’ve Thanked You Less than You’ve Deserved.
A fitting tribute of names etched in stone was envisioned years ago and the Bristol Borough Veterans Monument was ceremoniously uncovered last Saturday at the intersection of Pond and Fillmore Streets and Farragut Avenue, the most visible area in the town.
The original Harriman monument is like the bow of a ship. The obelisk-like WWII Memorial structure points towards the center of Bristol on the Delaware and was erected in the 1940’s with only the names of Harriman residents.
Creative consultant and local artist, Thomas Rudesyle, BHS ’90, drew several preliminary model sketches and the venture was set in motion. Navy veteran, William Andrew Tosti, the monument committee construction manager, designed the final working vision.
The committee members included Airman 1st Class (A1C) Ralph Frank Lalli, who served during the Korean War in Fairbanks, AK and twin brothers, Army Sergeants E5 Spec 5 Albert William “Al” and disabled veteran E5 Sgt. Nicholas James “Nick” Lalli, who both spent 13 months in Korea and then were stationed in Huachuca, AZ.
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Richard Louis Tosti, who served two Korean tours; Airman 1st Class Robert Theodore Tosti, Army veterans Harry Henry Crohe and Tony D’Emidio; fundraiser, Marie Colella; secretary, Josephine Lalli; finance secretary, Sharon Lalli; historian Pauline Edwina Michalski; Afghanistan serviceman, Carlos Rivera and Mary Simons were all members.
They repeatedly asked, “Have you courageously served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard, Nurse Corps and Waves with a Bristol Borough address?” Lest they be forgotten.
How can we thank our veterans enough for what they have done?
Pauline painstakingly researched for years through archived newspapers, “What are our Boys Doing?”, obituaries, society pages, wedding announcements, Fire House and Church records, and diligently made copies for verification. She located and secured information regarding the veterans and documented their DD-214 [Discharge Papers and Veterans Separation] documents and confirmed if the servicemen or women were wounded and had earned a Purple Heart.
Pearl Harbor Day is Pauline’s birthday.
"The nation that forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.”
[John] Calvin Coolidge, Jr., the only U.S. President to be born on the fourth of July
[Enrico] Richard John Tosti and Josephine Elizabeth “Jo” [Moore] Tosti’s five sons all had military service and returned safely. A Mill Street businessman, Leon Plavin donated a “Welcome Home” billboard sign when their last son, Gary Anthony returned home from Vietnam. Gary’s twin brother, Edward John served in the 1st Air Calvary division and received a Bronze Star.
Air Force Staff Sergeant Alfred [Al] Cordisco, the Right Waist gunner on a B17 Flying Fortress, the “Feather Merchant” between ’42-’45; and Donald Leroy “Donny” Crohe, an Army cook; and Marine veteran William Moore were original committee members but were unable to continue for health reasons. The late disabled Marine veteran Fred B. Hems, Sr. contributed a plethora of historical facts and consistently distributed his “Enjoying Your Freedom? Thank a Veteran!” signs.
The Rev. Marlee R. J. Norton of Saint James the Greater Episcopal Church delivered the program invocation, thanking all the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who paid most dearly for our freedom.
The attendees, veterans and their families solemnly lined the walkway while the American flag and flags representing each branch of the US military waved gently in the sweltering heat.
“POOR IS THE NATION THAT HAS NO HEROES.
SHAMEFUL IS THE NATION THAT HAVING THEM FORGETS.”
[from a WWII VeteransTribute website]
There are still opportunities to be included in the “Walk of Honor” until the end of this month, Tuesday, July 31, 2012.
Purchase a 4”x 8” engraved and epoxy filled brick to honor a veteran.
Each brick has 3 lines of engraving with 13 letters, numbers or spaces.
Donations are also appreciated.
Bristol Borough Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 241
Bristol, PA 19007
Recommend a “Spotlight”. E-mail email@example.com