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Kong for  Best Actor! Boss Ape Crushes Critics with Charisma. Mr. Congeniality Brings Full Houses to their feet!

Christiani Pitts as Ann Darrow and King Kong–Broadways’s most romantic couple. 

WPCNR STAGE DOOR. Theatrical Review by John F. Bailey. November 20 , 2018:

The Best Actor you will see on the great White Way is pecky,  way big, muscles to die for.

He will take you to places you’ll never be again.

His eyes–  dreamy with sensitivity,  ablaze with power.

His touch gentle.

He holds you in the palm of his huge hand.

His roar makes you shiver.

His moan will makes your heart beat fast.

A smile to die for.

Tony judges should  close nominations for Best Actor now.

No human actor matches him in swagger, swag, and swashbuckle.

Kong gives the best performance by an actor in a leading role on Broadway—holding the audience spellbound – and yes, reaching  heart,  mind, soul, psyche, fear with a face that ignites.

And he is a handsome big lug.

He is alive.

The King Kong musical  mounted appropriately  at the old Broadway Theater  with its art deco marquee,  palatial lobby, three massive chandeliers above the stage — a 1924 house whose stage has been graced Milton Berle, Alfred Drake, Jose Ferrer, Eartha Kitt, Vivien Leigh, Zero Mostel and Mae West, and Barbra is shaken by the giant of them all—King Kong.

The leading ape, with spot-on  silverback gorilla confidence, captures wild majesty, looms over audience, appears as tall as the proscenium itself. He is the biggest thing ever to hit Broadway.

He dominates!

He is a 9th wonder of the world (animatronics created by Global Creatures)  and brought to vivid, gorillalistic life by a team of his handlers and electronic wizards—you will not believe he is not real.

You will think he is though.

If you see one musical on Broadway, this is the one, because you will never forget the King.

He’s a cocktail party must. He will mingle.

Because he awes.

But, I digress.

This  show of shows thrusts the  1933 movie classic into 21st Century theater!

The plot is  telescoped. From thudding footsteps as you await the adventure to chilling “lurking roars” while you are waiting for the curtain to rise, and the occasional ‘THUMP!” of something very big that jolts you as you wait.

Then the deeply mysterious  ominous Prologue  curtain goes up on old New York and the leading lady to be, Christiani Pitts (star of A Bronx Tale) stalks into 1931 NYC stunningly conjured by receding skyline in the hustling depression-beset desperate crowds of the streets.

Pitts plays the legendary Ann Darrow, the original scream queen. She is  the ingénue from the country arriving trying to make it on Broadway. Moving animated real scenery of old New York in  sepia takes you back in time, suspends your belief and sets a new standard in tech design mastery: seamless  moving scenary by Peter Englund.

Ms. Pitts and an  acrobatic dance company sing Dance My Way to the Light  She proclaims her quest for stardom in Queen of New York.  She  fails a series of auditions and ends up starving in a diner where (chance encounter!) she is spotted by  promoter Carl Denham, played by fast-talking, sharp-dressing, big promising Eric William Morris  a producer with a plan:  find a mysterious legend on a remote island, and he needs a leading lady.  He gives her a chance, talks her into it and hustles her off to a tramp steamer, the S.S. Wanderer.

The stage is seamlessly changed into the deck of a tramp freighter moving downriver into the Atlantic with waves in front of the bow,  Brooklyn Bridge on the left, then waves on the ocean into fog. This is the most realistic portrayal of a boat moving on the ocean on stage ever created on Broadway that I have seen, as realistic as Holmes and Watson boating on the Thames in The Sign of the Four

After days at sea, with Denham teaching Darrow how to scream, (the whole act rushes forward like an Indiana Jones movie–  the crew mutinies, but plucky Darrow, with Ms. Pitts turbo-charging the vapid Fay Wray character of the movie with courage, spunk and spirit saves Denham’s hide from the angry crew.

This sequence  approach to Skull Island is astounding in its visual realism, its smooth approach to the island. You will not believe your eyes. You’re on a boat

To the haunting anthem Skull Island (composed with a mounting, erie compounding suspense by Marius de Vries) the audience is drawn to the horizon as the words “Land Ho!”  are heard. Soaring rocks appear out of the mist! Then mountains.  The S.S.Wanderer is sailing across tossing waves towards steep soaring shoals ! Could it be? It could be! It is: the mysterious Skull Island!

The hunt for Kong begins through a jungle cleverly turned into clinging living vines that entrap Ms. Darrow.  When the audience sees eyes, then Kong’s incredible teeth. Ms. Pitts really screams!

Kong carries her off to his layer running like an ape pounding through the jungle and he really is visually running with jungle vines rushing by behind him.  It’s alive!

Kong hoists the faint Ms. Pitts and he is running through the jungle to his lair. As Ms. Pitts awakens she pulls her wits together as Kong roars at her. She matches him roar for roar to try and back him off. It is a charming sequence, a real first date. All that’s missing are the Singapore Slings. The facial expressions and puzzlement on Kong’s face are fascinating as the young woman matches him roar for roar. Obviously, he’s never met a charmer like her before. What’s neat about this “getting to know you” scene is you go it with. You like Kong believe Ms. Pitts’ portrayal, hook, line and sinker. We have to tip the hat to the “Voice of Kong” articulated with shivery gusto by  Jon Hoche.

Of course, as Kong retires to think about this, you never know, this being a jungle island that time has forgot, what just might slither out of the jungle. Kong saves Darrow from a startling encounter, and using her farm girl “smarts” she convinces him to let her heal his wounds,  singing Full Moon Lullaby.

She takes this opportunity to escape, which leads to Kong’s capture by the opportunistic Denham.

And that’s just the First Act folks.

On to New York, where Darrow, horrified at Kong’s capture balks at exhibiting Kong for money. Denham’s big song It’s Man cynically says anyone will be a sucker for an incredible show. Darrow is having none of it—and says she cannot act in the show. There is a  very funny dance act in which Anything Goes is parodied hilariously. Denham convinces Darrow by saying she either acts in the show or she’s through in show business. Sounds a lot like today doesn’t it? Darrow laments singing Scream for the Money.

Pitts has the gusto soprano that gets the most out of her songs of ambition and regret and gives you the feelings you experience when you compromise your principles, and cannot save someone you care about especially on Last of Our Kind when she sings it to an imprisoned Kong.

Will Kong escape?

What will be his fate?

The astounding finale with aircraft with 50 caliber machine guns blazing at Darrow and her protector is spectacular

Christianni Pitts’ heart-throb tribute and tearful tribute to Kong The Wonder has the throng hanging on every phrase. She and Kong are a Wonder.

Christianna Pitts and Mr. Kong Broadway’s most romantic couple.

King Kong at The Broadway is a must-see.

Forget about what the old anachronits say, this is what theatre  is –creative, courageous, reaching for the stars– creating new experiences, making a fantasy live before your eyes!

Here is a new world– staging, romance, feelings –creating the impossible and you will see it!

You will always remember the night you saw King Kong.

Christiana Pitts and Mr. Kong are Broadway’s most romantic couple.

Perfect together.

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Stopped on Snowy Roads on a Snowy Evening: County Executive in Post-Snow News Conference Points Out Cause of Westchester “WHITELOCK” Thursday

IT BEGAN INNOCENTLY ENOUGH…THEN WENT ROAD!

WPCNR WEATHERWRONGO. By John F. Bailey. November 20, 2018:

In a news conference held Friday morning after the most bizarre rush hour commute last Thursday afternoon when flash fast-falling snow immobilized motorists throughout the county, Westchester County Executive George Latimer held a news conference to put the miles of lines of slipping, sliding “bumber” cars on virtually all county roads that day into perspective.

“We were humbled by Mother Nature,” Latimert said. “The snowstorm was a surprise to all of us throughout the county. As the snow startef falling, (at 3 PM), there were indications it would be more impactful than predicted. It came from the south rather than the north so the southern part of the county got it first and then the north part of the county received the heavier snow.”

Latimer said forecasts indicated at midday that the county would get only 1 to 2 inches. Instead the county received 5 to 7 inches in a matter of 4 hours. Up iin Jefferson Valley, Latimer said about 9 inches were delivered. He said had the county known by noon that 5 to 7 inches were expected, the county and municipalities could have deployed equipment by the time the snow started to fall.

Latimer said plows need at least 3-1/2 inches of snow to be effective, and the plow has to travel at a speed of a least 5 miles an hour to be effective.

Latimer noted that by the time plows around the county were able to respond to the unexpected intensity of the storm, and because workers around the county left work earlier than usual, plows around the county were stuck behind unusually heavy volumes of EARLY rush hour traffic. The fast accumulation of snow at 2 inches an hour caused cars to slip and create slippery conditions where cars could not start up from stops, slipping, wheels spinning, cars lurching left and right, unable to accelerate straight and smoothly. Impatient motorists also tried to sneak into intesections (especially on Main Street in White Plains and on Route 119) blocking progress in any direction.

This undisciplined gridlock created backups throughout White Plains, Greenburgh and around the county, as well as I-87, I-287, I-95 and I-684.

Latimer reported the county deployed 40% more County Police to aid motorists.

The county received 2,724 calls from motorists stuck or affected by the traffic standstills. Of those 2,724 calls, 693 were “911” calls, and most of those were “rollovers.” There were also 150 abandoned cars (throughout the county). By 9 PM, 6 hours after the snow had started last Thursday afternoon, the situation had “stablized.” Latimer reported it took him an hour to drive from White Plains to Rye, usually a 20-minute trip, and “that was only because I knew the shortcuts,” he said.

He said the couny is only responsible for clearing one road in Westchester County, the Bronx River Parkway. The county has contracts with local municipalities in the county for those communities to clear county roads within their jurisdictions. The state Department of Transportation has responsibility to clear the New York State Thruway, I-87, I-287, I-684, the Taconic Parkway, Hutchinson River Parkway, and the Cross County Parkway.

Latimer pointed out that it is responsibility of local municipalities to clear roads within their city limits. He said some communities like Rye Brook had good police and plow coverage. He said the county DPW would review coordination in various municipalities to perhaps see how all performed and what might be improved in the future.

“Each level has to communicate how we can do better next time,” he said, and he intended to convene a performance analysis process.

Asked by a reporter why the Taconic was not cleared, Latimer said the county would be talking with the DOT about what happened on the interstates and the roads it (the DOT) was responsible for.

A police official said, in response to a reporter’s question that drivers have to be prepared for wintry conditions. He said

1.Be equipped with proper tires (snow tires).

2. Carry reflective triangles or flares to warn oncoming motorists the car is stuck.

3. Carry a fully-charged cellphone.

4. Always start out with full gas tank.

To that, WPCNR suggests, include a snow shovel in your trunk and ice melt or rock salt in your trunk in case you careen off the road.

WPCNR also suggests slowing down your speed in snow.

Allow more distance between your vehicle and the cars ahead, at least one length.

If your car is a standard transmission, use a lower gear.

If your car is an automatic transmission, use the lower (automatic slowing) gear.

If you attempt to stop, take foot off the accelerator, tap brake lightly and do not slam on the brake, it will spin you out of control and send you into a skid faster if you do that.

 

 

 

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County Offers Free Measles Shots to Combat Largest Outbreak of Measles in Years

WPCNR HEALTH WARNING. From the Westchester County Department of Health. November 20, 2018:

With the largest measles outbreak in the state in decades underway in nearby Rockland County (Editor’s Note: the outbreak is related mostly to t Rockland County, due mainly to widespread relicligious beliefs in the county population in not vaccinating their children), Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler recommended County residents verify their own measles vaccine status, and assured County residents that the Health Department is closely monitoring the situation in Rockland County.

Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “We are in close communication with Rockland County and New York State health officials and are prepared to respond should any cases develop here. Measles is very contagious and can be dangerous for anyone who is unvaccinated or whose natural immunity is suppressed. Now is a good time to check with your doctor about your own and your children’s measles vaccine status, and to get the MMR vaccine if you are not up to date.”

The MMR vaccine provides protection from measles, mumps and rubella. The County Health Department offers appointments for MMR vaccine at no cost for children and adults who are under-insured, uninsured or are college students. To schedule a Friday vaccine visit at the County clinics in Yonkers or White Plains, call (914) 995-5800.

Individuals are considered protected or immune to measles if they have had a lab test confirming immunity. Those born before 1957, and those who have medical documentation of having received two doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, are also considered immune. Children usually get the first dose of MMR vaccine when they are 12 to 15 months old and again when they are 4 to 6 years old.

If you are unsure if you are immune to measles, contact your healthcare provider. Two doses of the MMR vaccine can offer 97% protection from the measles.

Amler added: “Anyone planning to travel overseas with a child six months or older who has not yet received a first dose of MMR should talk with their child’s doctor about getting the vaccine before leaving the U.S. This will provide some protection against measles outbreaks abroad. Your child will still need two doses of MMR at the regular time.”

To check the latest travel notices about measles, go towww.cdc.gov/measles/travelers.html

In New York State, measles immunization is required of children enrolled in schools, daycare and pre-kindergarten. Since August 1990, college students have also been required to demonstrate immunity against measles.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children, as it can lead to pneumonia, brain damage, deafness and death. Others who are at high risk for complications if they get the measles include pregnant women who are not immune, as well as those who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed (when your body can’t fight disease). About one out of four people who get measles will be hospitalized.

Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis (red watery eyes) or runny nose. People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure.

If you think you may have been exposed and have symptoms consistent with measles, contact your health care provider, a local clinic, or a local emergency department before going for care. This will help to prevent others from being exposed.

Health care providers should immediately report all suspect cases of measles in Westchester to the Westchester County Department of Health Communicable Disease Program staff at (914) 813-5180 during regular business hours, or (914) 813-5000 after hours/weekends. For more health information, go towww.westchestergov.com/health.

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WHITE PLAINS WEEK ON THE SNOWY SURPRISE, THE AMAZON SURPRISE, THE COUNTY BUDGET On THE INTERNET–YOUTUBE & whiteplainsweek.com

NOW ON YOUR INTERNET 

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JOHN BAILEY PETER KATZ AND JIM BENEROFE

ON THE WHITE TERROR–THE DAY THE TRI STATE AREA STOOD STILL

 

AMAZON SAYS “LONG ISLAND CITY HERE WE COME

COUNTY EXECUTIVE GEORGE LATIMER TELLS YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HIS NEW COUNTY BUDGET IN 5 MINUTES.

NEW MEDICAL SCHOOL COMING TO MARIST COLLEGE 

THE MILLENIALS SALUTED BY WESTCHESTER COUNTY BUSINESS JOURNAL

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BAILEY KATZ BENEROFE–THE BIG TIME

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Mayor’s Offices Issues Statement on the Snowstorm Response

WPCNR TRAFFICA. From the Mayor’s Office, City of White Plains. November 16, 2018:

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GRIDLOCK GRINDS WHITE PLAINS, GREENBURGH, PELHAM, WESTCHESTER TO A HALT. WET SWIFT FALLING SNOW OF 2 to 3 INCHES CREATES HAVOC: SLOW SLIPPERY CONDITIONS–STAY OFF THE ROADS PERSONS CALLING FROM CELLPHONES SAY. INTERSECTION TRAFFIC DIRECTING WAS NEEDED.

A Snow event arriving as predicted at 3 PM has created road havoc and a very nasty night for travelers in Westchester and White Plains

WPCNR TRAFFICA. From WPCNR Correspondents. November 15, 2018:

Rush hour in Westchester County has turned into a bumper car mess. Traffic is snarled in central White Plains, with motorists reporting that cars are stalled in intersections due to slippery, uncleared, apparently untreated roads creating slippery conditions on even flat roadways.

It has taken one motorist 3 hours to get from Elmsford into White Plains.

The White Plains conditions, usually with the best snow preparations in Westchester, are inexplicable.

WPCNR advises those comtemplating travel in White Plains this evening not to start out.

The experience one caller told WPCNR was that Route 119 (Tarrytown Road) was at a standstill from Exit 5 west bound on I-287 into Main Street in White Plains. From South Lexington to Bank Street nothing was moving. They also reported I-287 was backed up in both directions.

“I am absolutely shocked there were no White Plains Police officers at intersections to keep traffic moving.”

As of 7:45, the motorist said, Mamaroneck Avenue was clear and plows were beginning to come through.  At point they said they stopped to let a car through an intersection, then they could not get their vehicle moving again. They also said the windshield wipers froze to the windshield.

As of 8 PM it appears to be sleeting.

Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Town Supervisor filed this report:

The roads continue to be horrible. School children have been stuck on buses—caught in traffic gridlock for hours.  And, parents are worried about their children. Some residents report that they have been abandoning their cars on roads –walking home.

That’s a mistake. It makes it difficult for our highway crews to clear the roads and cars left in the middle of the road may have to be towed.  Many fender benders.  Just got a call from a resident whose husband has been stuck on the Saw Mill River Parkway for  two hours.

Received an e mail from a woman stuck on an exit from the Henry Hudson Parkway near Pelham.

Lohud.com reports that the “Thursday evening commute is gridlocked all over. “The number of accidents quickly added up and blocked lanes on almost every major interstate and highway.  Traffic is stop and go for miles. All primary roadways in Pelham and surrounding jurisdictions in Westchester County are currently in major gridlock. All highways are either temporarily closed or at a complete standstill, the Pelham Police posted.”

If one subscribes to the notion that misery likes company –it seems like every community is experiencing similar problems.

Lohud pointed out –—“the slip and slide conditions that caused the high number of accidents Thursday evening and turned the highways into parking lots are because of a thin layer of ice under the snow. When the snow came in, it came in intense, and the ground was very cold so it accumulated quickly….the snow that first fell melted, refroze, and created a layer of ice under the snow.”

Another reason for the problems every community in Westchester and the town of Greenburgh are experiencing: the snow came down around rush hour. Many people left work at the same time. If a car is in an accident – there is gridlock on the road.  Causing hours of traffic congestion.

  Many of the roads that have experienced problems (W Hartsdale Ave, Dobbs Ferry Road, Knollwood) are NYS roads. And –the NYS highway crews have not been as visible as we would have liked.

As the evening progresses – road conditions should improve.   I’m staying at the office for a while.  We have all our crews out trying to do the best we can. But, if a truck is stuck in traffic gridlock and can’t move –the highway vehicle can’t do much good for anyone.

Sorry for the inconveniences.   I have been talking with the Deputy Commissioner of Public Works all night and with the Police Chief. We will review what happened. And try to learn from this horrible experience. We will try to do better in the future.

PAUL FEINER

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PEOPLE TO BE HEARD THIS WEEK: DAN WELSH THE WESTCHESTER POWER MAN TALKS THE NEW GREEN ENERGY RATE ON YOU TUBE AND WHITE PLAINS WEEK DOT COM RIGHT NOW!

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45 Government Officials Demand AMTRAK COOPERATION ON WESTCHESTER RAIL ACCESS TO PENN STATION

WPCNR ALL ABOARD. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. November 14, 2018:

In a letter to Amtrak Chairman Anthony R. Coscia, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, joined by 45 leaders in a bi-partisan fashion including Westchester’s House of Representatives delegation and the entire Board of Legislators, requested Amtrak’s cooperation in moving the Penn Station Access project forward.  This would provide a critical rail connection for Westchester to the west side of Manhattan and the East Bronx.

Latimer said: “This project would significantly revitalize our region through its creation of a one-seat ride into Penn Station from Westchester for the first time ever. Not only would this save significant time and money for hard-working commuters, it would also alleviate congestion issues at Grand Central Terminal while providing flexibility to the thousands who commute from the Bronx to Westchester each day.”

This project is long overdue. The existing rail lines already exist and the MTA has even agreed to pick up some of the costs of rebuilding certain portions of the line infrastructure to get this project to the finish line. Amtrak has decided to requested additional fees on top of this commitment, fees it does not collect from other commuter lines.

Currently, MTA Capital Construction (MTACC) has a plan to build four new Metro-North Railroad (MNR) stations in the East Bronx that would also service Westchester commuters by connecting the New Haven Line to Penn Station directly. To move forward with this vital project, Amtrak must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is an agreement that aligns work schedules and scope and allows MTACC reasonable access to Amtrak-owned tracks and right-of-way. MTACC was prepared to bring the contract for preliminary design to its Board in May, but this action has been delayed due to the lack of a negotiated MOU.

The letter, signed by federal, state and local officials, goes on to say “Our continued economic development relies on stronger public transportation options and we encourage Amtrak to be a partner in these ongoing efforts. We are calling on Amtrak to come to an agreement on the MOU and allow work to move forward on the Penn Station Access project. Our offices stand ready to assist in any way possible to ensure MTACC and Amtrak can quickly reach a mutually beneficial agreement.”

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Bronx Borough President: Amazon Must Give Back for All It’s Getting

Bronx Borough President Reuben Diaz on left shown with Westchester County Executive George Latimer on Mr. Latimer’s visit to the Bronx earlier this year. WPCNR PHOTO ARCHIVE

WPCNR TALK OF THE BIG TOWN. From Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.. November 14, 2018:

 

“My office led the effort to bring Amazon to The Bronx. While Amazon will not make our borough their home, we are encouraged that they will come to New York City nonetheless and congratulate our neighbors in Queens.
“Given the level of subsidies the company is receiving, Amazon must do more as part of this agreement to define benefits for its future employees and the community-at-large. As I have always said, companies that receive heavy taxpayer subsidies must do better by their workforce. This was the driving idea behind our push for a ‘living wage’ law in New York City—if you want charity, you must be charitable. Those values are more important today than ever before.
“The company must accept a strong local hiring agreement, and should also respect the rights of their workers to organize and accept a labor peace agreement for their forthcoming Long Island City headquarters. While the proposed benefits for the residents of the Queensbridge Houses are commendable, we should work with Amazon to find additional pathways and opportunities for NYCHA residents from all over the city to work and train with the company. Amazon should also develop a formal agreement with the City of New York to provide direct commitments for employment to CUNY graduates.
“The dedicated infrastructure funding stream agreed to by the city, state and Amazon demonstrates how important it is to develop transportation solutions for our region. We should not only focus on improving existing service, but expanding new services as well.
“As this process continues I look forward to working with my colleagues, Amazon and other stakeholders to review the components of this agreement and develop programs and incentives that benefit residents of all five boroughs,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
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100 Years Ago the War to End All Wars Ended.

WPCNR STARS AND STRIPES. By John F. Bailey. November 11, 2018:

It is the 11th day of the 11th month, and it is 1918. Armistice Day  100 years after the day when World War I “The Great War to end all Wars” officially ended.

Sadly, the way “The Great War” ended and subsequent reparations penalties on Germany, was the beginning of a century of war:  the Spanish Civil War,  World War II, the Holocaust, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the 6-Day War,  the first Iraq War, the Afghanistan War that never ends, and of course the war on immigrants and refugees.

I wrote the piece that follows in 2013 that delivers some of the feelings of about this ironic day.

WPCNR STARS AND STRIPES. By John F. Bailey. November 12, 2013:

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I attended the Veterans Day Ceremony in White Plains Rural Cemetery Monday.  I met Ross Marsico,(above) the 90 year old  veteran of World War II who fought with the Third Army in France, Belgium and Germany. He was wounded by shrapnel, spent 45 days in a hospital THEN returned to active duty.

Mr. Marsico returned to the USA and spent 30 years as an active policeman in Harrison. He was honored as the 2013 Veteran’s Day Honoree

Mr. Marsico is a native of White Plains, just turned 90 yesterday, is an outstanding person to have the honor to meet. When he was asked questions how he felt about being  honored, he said he just represented all the other veterans and every day people who had served, that it was not about him. Then he teared up.

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Veterans day makes you tear up.

Chaplain Bob Donnelly of American Legion Post 135 in the invocation observed that the gathering was there to honor persons who had written a “blank check to the United States of America, good for everything including their life in service to their country.”

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Adele Zucker(above , Past President of Jewish War Veterans Ladies Auxiliary, said  Veterans day was to honor the veterans who came back and have contributed so much to their hometowns in addition to their military service. 

Chaplain Bob Donnelly noted that when he returned from the Vietnam war he was spat upon by a woman in an airport and called a baby killer, and observed today’s veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan  conflicts are much more respected.

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Then came brief  inspiration remarks by the Mayor, Tom Roach, who proclaimed Monday Veteran’s Day in White Plains  and U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Jason Freeland(below)

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Sergeant Freeland, in his most recent tour, was responsible for training Afghan army and police recruits. He is now head of recruiting for the Marines in White Plains. He mentioned how honored he was to be among the veterans attending, and how it was their and those like them who service that make it possible for him and today’s servicemen and women to perform and live up to the veterans’ example. This  truth was echoed again how you serve matters and it is an inspiration to those who come after you.

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Mayor Roach with Commandant Jack Collins of American Legion Post 135  places the Mayor’s Veteran’s Day Board Wreath at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

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The Home Defense Wreathis placed by members of the White Plains Police and Fire Department

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Dennis Jones, left, places the White Plains Historical Society Wreath. Joan Steere , Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed the final commemorative wreath.

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The White Plains Middle School Band played Anchors Aweigh, The Caissons Go Rolling Along, The Marines Hymn, Semper Fidelis (Coast Guard), and Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder (Air Force).

Crisp. Inspiring, evoking the rich traditions and pride and sacrifice of the American armed forces.

As the gathering left, the tent was folded, and the crowd drifted away, until another Memorial Day another Veterans Day.

I remained and watched the tombstones of the Revolutionary War Dead…names no longer readable on the stones, they still spoke as one.

Cemeteries like the White Plains Rural Cemetery inspire by the testimony of the simple stones, the tiny flags denoting veterans and the stones too of every day people of long ago who lived well. As I read their stones I wonder what their lives were like their thoughts, their actions in that long ago time.

Cemeteries are not places of regret, but, instead inspiration to ignite in us, with their  memories, to continue to work on our own lives and live up to the examples of persons like the veterans still with us and those who have departed.060

Rifle Salute to the Departed Veterans by American Legion Post #135, was followed by Taps, played by Bob Freis

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The veterans are getting older.

James Dwyer of American Legion Post 135 was scheduled  to read Flanders Field. He could not  due to illness according to Commander Jack Collins. This is the touching poem penned in World War I, Mr. Dywer would have read. He could not, so I will publish it for him.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, 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 field

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