Monday, May 10, 2010
I've become active with the VFW and joined a post. Barnegat, Post 10092. It's part of my finally setting down roots in my community. They are an amazing group of men, some of whose stories I will tell in the future.
Yesterday I participated in the Buddy Poppy program for the first time and I'm glad I did. I'm helping fellow veterans and their families. The Buddy Poppy is not sold, we distribute them to anyone who would like one regardless of whether you generously donate or not. By accepting one you honor all veterans and we thank you for that.
I only expected to spend four hours out there yesterday but wound up staying all day. It was a good experience and being an old sergeant, I wisely brought a thermos of coffee with me. Good thing too as it was rather cool and quite windy.
I spent the morning with Dan, who was a Marine in Vietnam. We got to know each other and trade stories about our service. It was good to be with someone who understands. He didn't give me too many details, but it was good to be with a brother veteran.
The afternoon I spent with Dick Pollaid, pictured above. Dick went into the US Army at the tail end of World War 2 and joined the Army Reserve after his discharge. Called to active duty at the outbreak of the Korean War, Dick was an aircraft maintenance specialist. He spent his time keeping L-5 observation aircraft and H-13 helicopters flying. Both aircraft were vital to the troops on the front lines; engaging in spotting for artillery and close air support, emergency re-supply, and evacuation of the wounded. Dick was first assigned to Charlie Company, 27th Infantry Regiment, "Wolfhounds". Of course the Army being the Army, it was soon discovered that he belonged elsewhere and was transferred to Regimental HQ where he could do what the Army had spent time and money training him to do.
The good folks at the Walmart in Manahawkin have allowed us to be in front of their store for the month of May. We will be there through Memorial Day and at various other locations throughout Barnegat and Waretown.
It was a good day and I met many kind and generous people. By getting involved and volunteering I'm also helping myself deal with issues. As a veteran helping other veterans, I'm slowly bringing myself back to the real world.
In Flanders Fields (1915)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still singing bravely, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army