11/19/14 10:00am
11/19/2014 10:00 AM
Fred Carter of Cutchogue holds up a handmade card he received from a group of local Girl Scouts.

Fred Carter of Cutchogue holds up a handmade card he received from a group of local Girl Scouts. The cards have been sent to local vets on Veterans Day for the past six years.

Fred Carter said he was already having a great Veterans Day when he checked his mailbox last Tuesday.

The 85-year-old Cutchogue resident had spent the morning visiting his wife at a nursing home in Westhampton. After a patriotic ceremony was held at the facility, the couple watched videos of old Bob Hope USO shows.

When the Korean War veteran returned home that afternoon, he was touched by something he received in the mail. It was a handmade card from a group of local Girl Scouts thanking him for his service.  (more…)

11/10/14 4:32pm
11/10/2014 4:32 PM
Southold freshmen and faculty members planted dozens of American flags outside the high school for Veterans Day. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Southold freshmen and faculty members planted dozens of American flags outside the high school for Veterans Day. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

There are several ceremonies scheduled for Tuesday in recognition of Veterans Day on the North Fork. There’s also a “Veterans Day Dinner” event that’s running from noon to 9 p.m. today, Monday, in Greenport.

See below for a complete list of events.

(more…)

11/11/13 5:06pm
11/11/2013 5:06 PM
JOSEPH PINCIARO PHOTO | The US Veterans Motorcycle Club of Long Island.

JOSEPH PINCIARO PHOTO | The US Veterans Motorcycle Club of Long Island.

A few hundred people came out to Calverton National Cemetery on a sunny Monday afternoon for the annual Veterans Day ceremony.

The ceremony was nearly derailed this year due to a federal government shutdown, master of ceremonies Dennis Krulder said, though it went on as scheduled at the nation’s largest national cemetery, spanning over 1,000 acres.

Guest speakers included Representative Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy, and Joe Sledge, public affairs officer at the Veterans Affairs Northport Medical Center.

Bishop recognized the Calverton cub scout pack 404 for projects they had done with veterans recently, conducting flag retirement ceremonies on their behalf and adopting some veterans as pen pals.

Sledge, a peacetime veteran himself, pointed to the good deeds done by some of his colleagues in the crowd – acts as simple as driving disabled veterans from place to place, to planting a garden to be able to sit by and enjoy – as evidence of some ways vets are giving back to their own at the VA.

Quoting from “The Prophet,” Sledge ended with the following: “‘Your friend is your needs, answered. He is your field, which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving. And he is your board and your fireside. For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.’

“Everyone in this area- in this beautiful cemetery right now who served in U.S. armed forces – we thank you. We thank you for being our board and our fireside. We thank for your feeding us when we came to you hungry. And we think you most importantly for peace.”

Click through for some photos from Monday’s ceremony below. If you attended, feel free to add in your own.

11/11/13 3:11pm
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | A former POW, Russ Mann served with the Army Air Corp.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | A former POW, Russ Mann served with the Army Air Corp.

Several dozen people gathered at the American Legion Griswold Terry Glover Post 803 in Southold Monday morning in honor of Veterans Day.

Local businessman Charles Sanders, who served in Afghanistan, led the ceremony which included a parade of local NJROTC students and speeches by several veterans.

11/11/13 7:00am

T

When I was a boy and my grandmother was still alive, I can recall how no one in my family was allowed to play “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” around her. Her brother was killed during World War II, my mom would explain, and he had promised in his last letter home after two years overseas that — like Bing Crosby had sung in that hit 1943 tune — he, too, would be home for Christmas.

He was supposed  to get leave that December. Decades upon decades later, my grandmother would still break down in tears whenever she heard the song.

That’s all I ever really knew about my great uncle — until I was much older, and a relative uncovered some forgotten paperwork. What I learned was the story of a great American hero, and of love and sacrifice in a time of utter darkness and desperation.

Charles “Chic” Quinn, a Long Island Rail Road machinist from St. Albans, Queens, was 19 years old when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. A week later, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

According to military records, Corporal Charles D. Quinn was 5 feet, 7 3/4 inches tall with blue eyes, brown hair and a ruddy complexion.

During his almost two years overseas, he took part in several military campaigns against the Japanese in the Pacific, including a 1944 reconnaissance mission in Peleliu, in the island nation of Palau.

THe completed his last mission but suffered wounds at the hands of the Japanese along the way. Five days later, he died on a Navy hospital ship in the arms of a Catholic chaplain. Cpl. Quinn, a baby brother who in battle wore the Presidential Unit Citation, was later posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the military’s third-highest award for valor in the face of the enemy.

His citation reads: “While carrying out an extremely hazardous reconnaissance mission to obtain vital information, Cpl. Quinn observed a marine officer pinned down by intense enemy rifle and machine-gun fire and imperiled by snipers. Disregarding his own personal safety, he courageously advanced in the face of the hostile fi re and killed the most threatening sniper, thereby saving the officer’s life.

“Although he received wounds during this action which later proved fatal, he steadfastly refused medical attention and completed his reconnaissance, subsequently dispatching a written report to the regimental command post before he was evacuated.”

Yes, Cpl. Quinn never made it home for Christmas. He received a military funeral at sea, according to records. He left behind three sisters; his parents had both already died. Some four months after his death, the priest who held “Chic” as he passed away sent two letters to his surviving family in the U.S. He mailed one letter to my grandmother’s home in St. Albans. The other he sent to my great-aunt Winifred, a Catholic nun then known as Sister Mary Coronata, who lived in Toledo at the time.

Both letters were typed on letterhead from the U.S.S. Samaritan, the ship on which my great-uncle died, but they are devoid of the buttoned-up military speak of the telegrams and citations.

The letter to Toledo, dated Jan. 4, 1945, reads as follows:

My dear Sister Coronata: May our dearest Lord bless you and your work abundantly during this New Year.

I was very pleased to receive your letter concerning our dear little “CHIC.” This is just what he was. During the few days that he was with us I visited him often. He was always so pleased to see a priest. He was such an innocent child and his faith so deeply rooted that I really loved him. When he first came aboard I told him that someone’s good prayers had been heard. I meant that he had not been called on the field, as so many other poor boys. He immediately responded, “Yes Father, my sister, she is a nun.” Having a sister of my own a Dominican, we had something more in common. I could not help but feel for you; for I know how my good sister would feel.

Chic was conscious till the very last moment. He was so attentive to the prayers for the dying; which was the greatest edification to me. When he breathed his last, I actually broke down myself before the doctor and nurse, as I continued to say prayers. Our dearest Lord wanted another little angel for His heavenly choir.

Please continue to pray for me, Sister; and may I ask that you have the children pray for me also. We priests of the service have so much need for prayers than before.

Sincerely in Christ,

Joseph S. McCauley

Catholic Chaplain

Not just on Veterans Day but throughout the year, let us all take time to remember our brave men and women in arms — especially those who never made it home for Christmas.

Michael White, editor

Michael White

Michael White is the editor of The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review. He can be reached at [email protected]  or at (631) 298-3200, Ext. 152. A similar version of this column first appeared in this publication in November 2008.