A Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas,
he lived all alone,
in a one bedroom house made of
plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney
with presents to give,
and to see just who
in this home did live.

I looked all about,
a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents,
not even a tree.

No stocking by mantle,
just boots filled with sand,
on the wall hung pictures
of far distant lands.

With medals and badges,
awards of all kinds,
a sober thought
came through my mind.

For this house was different,
it was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a soldier,
once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping,
silent, alone,
curled up on the floor
in this one bedroom home.

The face was so gentle,
the room in such disorder,
not how I pictured
a United States soldier.

Was this the hero
of whom I’d just read?
curled up on a poncho,
the floor for a bed?

I realized the families
that I saw this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers
who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world,
the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate
a bright Christmas day.

They all enjoyed freedom
each month of the year,
because of the soldiers,
like the one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder
how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas eve
in a land far from home.

The very thought
brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees
and started to cry.

The soldier awakened
and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry,
this life is my choice;

I fight for freedom,
I don’t ask for more,
my life is my God,
my country, my corps.”

The soldier rolled over
and drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it,
I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours,
so silent and still
and we both shivered
from the cold night’s chill.

I didn’t want to leave
on that cold, dark, night,
this guardian of honor
so willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over,
with a voice soft and pure,
whispered, “Carry on Santa,
it’s Christmas day, all is secure.”

One look at my watch,
and I knew he was right.
“Merry Christmas my friend,
and to all a good night.”

Happy 242nd Birthday to the Marine Corps

Marine Corps SealOn November 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia passed a resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” for service as landing forces with the fleet. This resolution established the Continental Marines and marked the birth date of the United States Marine Corps. Serving on land and at sea, these first Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations, including their first amphibious raid into the Bahamas in March 1776, under the command of Captain (later Major) Samuel Nicholas.

The first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines, Nicholas remained the senior Marine officer throughout the American Revolution and is considered to be the first Marine Commandant. The Treaty of Paris in April 1783 brought an end to the Revolutionary War and as the last of the Navy’s ships were sold, the Continental Navy and Marines went out of existence.

Following the Revolutionary War, increasing conflict with Revolutionary France led to the formal re-establishment of the Marine Corps on 11 July 1798. Marines saw action in the quasi-war with France, landed in Santo Domingo, and took part in many operations against the Barbary pirates along the “Shores of Tripoli”.

Since then, Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States, and in most cases were the first service members to fight. To date, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores.

Today, there are more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve Marines, organized into three divisions stationed at Camp Lejeune, Camp Pendleton and Okinawa, Japan. Each division has one or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere on short notice. Marines expeditionary units are self-sufficient, with their own tanks, artillery, and air forces. The motto of the service is Semper Fidelis, meaning “Always Faithful” in Latin.

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Veterans Day Ceremony

ARPALER member and Past Monroe County American Legion Commander Joe Marhatta is inviting all members to participate and honor our military veterans on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2017 at the Rochester Community War Memorial.

At 9:30AM there will be an Ecumenical service conducted bt the American Legion Chaplains.

At 11:00AM the American Legion and several Veterans organizations will lay wreaths in honor of all veterans. A proper rifle salute will be rendered by the Monroe County American Legion Honor Guard.

So many of our members are veterans and you are encouraged to attend and honor all who have served.

Commemorate the Death of Local Vietnam War Hero

A special ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Major Donald W. Holleder, a local Vietnam War hero, will be held at 6 pm on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017, at the Holleder U.S. Army Reserve Center (515 Ridge Road, Webster).

The public is cordially invited and encouraged to attend. Reservations are not required.

Click here for more details.

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Discounts for First Responders, Active & Retired military

The following dealerships offer discounts:

  • Bob Johnson Chevrolet: $750 Hometown Heroes (Educators, Law Enforcement, Fire Fighters, Paramedics and former Military) Bonus Cash
  • In the north country, FX Caprara: $500 rebate for active & retired military.

Please contact the dealership for more details.

Covering the Troops

Retired civilian administrator from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Detective Bureau, Ms. Judy Trost reports that three of her knitting groups at the Greece Senior Center, the Beatrice Place and the Greece United Methodist Church recently donated 35 handmade blankets to the Rochester Veterans Outreach Center with the assistance of retired MCSO Commander, Mike Radler. Eight of these blankets were red, white and blue… The best colors ever!

Not the first time that these nice ladies have accomplished this most heartwarming work, these items will be given to our veterans to help to keep them warm. The groups have made over 200 blankets over the last three years which have been donated to various Veterans groups to include the NYS Veterans Home in Batavia. Yarn used for these items has been donated as well by an anonymous store.

The most recent event, Operation Stand Down, occurred in March.

Smith Warren American Legion to Host Turkey Party

The Smith Warren American Legion Post 367 (61 Main Street, Scottsville) invites you to their Annual Turkey Party on Friday, November 18th, at 7:00 PM.

You will have the opportunity to obtain tickets to win :

10-12 Lbs Turkeys, Dinner Baskets of Food, Baby Back Ribs, New York Strip Loins, Pork Loins, Surf and Turf (2 NY strip steaks & 2 Lobster Tails), 10 lb boxes of Shrimp, Semi Boneless Hams (not spiral cut), 25 Scratch off lottery tickets on tree, 2nd chance of tickets for door prize.

Thanks for your support.

Senator Nozzolio Announces Legislation Providing Expanded Pension Credit for Veterans

Good news for New York State veterans!

After passing the Legislature three times, and being vetoed twice, I am happy to announce the veterans buy back bill has finally been signed into law.

The new law allows all honorably discharged service members with five years of existing public pension credit to purchase three years of credit for their military service. Previously, state law only allowed World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War vets to purchase pension credits.

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