Tonawanda News

November 9, 2013

TUCKER: Remembering Our Veterans

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — alute to Veterans

A number of schools and service organizations email their newsletters to the community desk and it’s a great way to keep up on what’s happening around town.

With Veterans Day on Monday, the note from Colleen Politowski, principal at St. Francis of Assisi School in Tonawanda, in the school’s newsletter really hit the spot.

Here’s part of her message: “Veterans Day has always been an important day in my military family. Sometimes it is easy to forget that men and women are fighting for freedom everyday, because it is not something that we see with our own eyes. ... All too often, we are brought back to reality because a soldier is brought home after making the ultimate sacrifice. My husband recently flew back from Georgia on a business trip. Before everyone disembarked from the plane, the pilot asked the passengers to wait until the family of a fallen soldier could get off the plane and join the honor guard as the soldier’s remains were ceremoniously transferred to the awaiting hearse. Once the family stood and left, some people got off, but the majority of the plane’s passengers waited until the soldier was transferred. Not a word was spoken by any passenger. It was a silent reflection — a sad reminder of the price our Veteran’s pay.”

Veterans Day

The annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Renaissance Bridge is at 11 a.m., Monday. The ceremony, ends with a wreath cast into the canal, a poignant reminder of all the heros we have. And to get into the spirit of the day, enjoy the American Legion Band Veterans Day concert at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Riviera Theatre. A truly rousing tribute to those who have, and still are, serving the nation.

Kudos to the North Tonawanda mayor and the recreation department for hosting a Veterans Day breakfast for all veterans on Monday at the North Tonawanda Senior Center.

And in the City of Tonawanda on Monday, the Tonawanda Free Methodist Church will host a Veterans Day spaghetti dinner 5 to 8 p.m., free to all veterans.

Special prayer

The following prayer was recited at the recent Erie-Niagara Sunrise Exchange Club meeting and bears repeating.

“Oh God, our heavenly Father, we come to you today to honor and thank the Veterans for the price that many paid. How can we repay them for the sacrifice they made? Many came home crippled and some went to their grave.

They built a marble monument in town the other day, they put it on the village green in permanent display. It’s a grand and noble symbol raised by a grateful land, but I remember a simpler one of steel, and wood and sand.

In war I walked with my rifle, the man in front went down. I saw how the bullets hit him and slammed him to the ground. I covered him with a poncho and then, to be sure he’d be found, I took his rifle and bayonet and jabbed it into the ground.

There wasn’t much more I could do, my tribute seemed a trifle. So I took a battered helmet and placed it on the rifle. Years have passed since that fateful night, and now I read his name, carved on a marble monument enshrined on a wall of fame.

Yet that helmet on a rifle was a much more fitting shrine. For the rifle was my brother’s, and the helmet there was mine. He was one of the many sacrificed in war, yet we enjoy the freedoms he was fighting for.

Please God, hold the Veteran in the palm of your great hand. Grant us peace, bring our soldiers home with love from a grateful land.”

Hard to believe

Beverly Loxterman, recent candidate for North Tonawanda alderman, sent an email about her experiences walking door to door in the recent campaign. She found a significant number of single females and young mothers who are not registered to vote. She had voter registration forms and asked if they would like to register.

“The usual response was ‘No, my vote doesn’t make a difference.’ Then sometimes I would say something like, ‘Don’t you want to have a say in your children’s future?’ They’d say ‘No, there’s nothing I can do about that, they’ll have to deal with it like I am dealing with.’”

What an awful, but true comment.

Sad note

Frankie “Don” Fronczak died this past week, a veteran from the Korean Conflict and a dedicated American Legion member. Some will recall his Village Inn Bar on Oliver Street, but most will recall the joy and fun he spread when he entertained, singing in the style of Frank Sinatra, at DeGraff Hospital, Canal Fest and other venues. He was tireless in his efforts to help others and he’ll be missed. 

Fun fact

If you vote by absentee ballot but die before the election, your vote still counts.

Contact community editor BarbaraTucker at 693-1000,ext. 4110 or email