by Plamena Pesheva
Five local World War II veterans are preparing for their upcoming trip to the National WWII Memorial in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Sept. 17. The veterans shared their stories on a video that can be watched by clicking here.
The trip, which is free to them, was planned by Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson), Heroes in Transition and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 21.
Some of the veterans who are going on the trip are Norman Berenback, of Brewster; George Merritt, of Somers; and Yorktown’s Frank Tempistilli and Joseph Arena.
“Visiting the World War II Monument means quite a bit to me,” Arena said. “I think being in the army was a real experience and I believe our youth should serve, even for just a term. The discipline you take out of it could be very good for today’s youth.”
Merritt said he thinks people should be patriotic and serve their country.
“We certainly should honor all our veterans no matter what war or military action they have been involved in,” he said. “I am proud that I served and I think everyone that serves should be proud. Visiting the monument means a lot to me. I haven’t been to Washington for years and years. I am very proud of the monument and excited to see it.”
Ball said that about half the money needed for the trip has already been raised, but is urging members of the community to help reach the $5,000 goal before the Sept. 17 trip.
“It is so wonderful to see the community come together to help send these heroes to see the national monument built in their honor,” he said in a statement. “I am proud to announce that so far we have raised $2,200; we are almost half way to our fundraising goal of $5,000. However, we are running out of time and need help in this final push.”
Tempistilli said he thinks about the war every day, every time he looks up to the sky, every time he sees a plane and at night when it gets dark.
“I have never been down to visit the monument and I can’t wait to go see it,” he said.
Ball said the men and women who fought or the nation’s safety and freedom, deserve an opportunity to see the national monument that was created in honor of their service.
Heroes in Transition, a sponsor of the event, is accepting donations to help pay for the busing and food for the veterans. Anyone interested in donating can go to the Heroes in Transition’s website heroesintransition.org and make a donation online.
Checks can also be made payable to Heroes In Transition and sent to 22 Bates Road, Suite 135, Mashpee, MA 02649.
Residents can sponsor an individual WWII veterans’ trip for $100. They can also sponsor anything from a lunch for $25, all the way up to a bus for $1,000. Those who sponsor a veteran will receive a signed thank you letter along with a picture and video from the trip.
Two chartered buses will leave from Sen. Ball’s district office in Brewster and take the veterans to Washington D.C., where they will place a wreath at memorial the in honor of all WWII veterans from the 40th Senate District.
“It is our honor to be able to help these American heroes finally see the WWII memorial and also find peace by being able pay their final respects to their dear friends and fellow military servicemen and women who lost their lives in WWII,” Heroes in Transition President Michael Warshaw said.
Heroes in Transition has been providing assistance to veterans in honor of fallen Marine Captain Eric A. Jones since 2010.
“We deeply appreciate all the efforts of Senator Ball and Heroes in Transition to make this trip possible,” said Eugene Parrotta, Chair of Senator Greg Ball’s Veteran’s Advisory Council, and member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
“We are excited that these WWII veterans will get a chance to see the monument that was built in their honor.”Peter Senatore, of Pound Ridge, is also one of the veterans who will make the trip to Washington D.C. He studied at Brooklyn College for six months before was drafted.
“I am very excited to visit the monument,” he said. “I didn’t have much a part of it, but this monument was built for this generation. This generation, when I look at it, is a generation that was gung-ho and I think we changed the word.”
Berenback said he appreciates what’s being done only for him as a veteran, but all WWII veterans.
“I think it’s important for everyone to know how much we really appreciate this,” he said. (ARTICLE)