November 11, 2005 • Veterans Day
AWON was well represented in New York City thanks to negotiations by AWON board president
Patricia Gaffney Kindig with the organizers of this year's special Nation's Parade Weekend
commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. AWONers took part in many events
starting with a breakfast honoring veterans and their families with Mayor Bloomberg
at Gracie Mansion. Patricia, her husband Mike Kindig and her son David Ansel, Sue Perko,
GailEisenhauer, Sandra MacDuffee and Maggie Malone enjoyed a delicious
buffet and a quick photo-op with the Mayor.
Patricia Gaffney Kindig with Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Sue Perko with the Mayor
Maggie Malone with the Mayor
The next stop was Madison Square
Park down at 25th St. and 5th Avenue.
Here we were joined by new AWONer Penny Bernstein and heard many speeches
by politicians and veterans of various wars including a WWII Medal of Honor winner.
Wreaths, including AWON's, were layed at the Eternal Light WWI monument in the park.
The AWON wreath
The parade up 5th Avenue was next. We were slated to be on a bus, with our big banner on the side, but we quickly took a vote and decided to march instead. Penny and Sandra grabbed the ends of the banner and Gail, Sue and Maggie followed, handing out hundreds of AWON brochures to the friendly people lining the parade route. "There we were," says Sandra, "Five orphans strong, fighting the wind and cold, marching past the Empire State Building, the big Public Library, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Tiffany's, honoring our fathers."
Penny adds "I had my first opportunity to experience my fellow AWON members' enthusiasm in keeping our fathers' memory alive. It was heartwarming to be with others who understand your loss."
Sue was moved, too. "After so many years of shame and secrecy, this was an expression of my truth in a very public place." AWONer Joanne Pelligrino was waiting on 57th Street where the parade ended and joined the exhausted but happy group for a luncheon nearby.
1st row: Sue Perko, Penny Bernstein,
Patricia Gaffney Kindig, and Michael Kindig.
2nd row: Gail Eisenhauer, Maggie Malone, and Sandy MacDuffee.
On November 12th, Sue, Gail and Maggie attended a memorial service at St. Paul's Chapel downtown near Ground Zero. (This lovely small chapel miraculously survived the World Trade Center tragedy and became a temporary shelter for firemen and others working to recover victims and clear the site.) Several readings were given in honor of the various wars of the 20th century and for those lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. Michael Kindig gave a reading for those lost in WWII. We met many young people involved with Stories of Service, an organization based in California which encourages high school kids to interview WWII veterans and do research about the war.
Sue obtained their website: www.stories-of-service.org. She says "We can help them and they may be able to help us."Now that we've set a precedent, those of us who took part in these exciting New York Veterans Day events are looking forward to participating again in the coming years.
Memorabilia of the day.
Thanks to Ryan Hegg, Executive
Director, Digital Clubhouse Network East
and Program Director of Stories of Service for being a good friend to AWON
by informing us about these events. Text by Maggie Malone, Photos by Sandy MacDuffee,
Mike Kindig, and Gracie Mansion Staff Photographer.