By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville
Nov. 10, 2021: I planned on writing Part Two as an extension of last week’s column about news items and up-and-coming projects emanating from Village Hall. However, this morning as I walked toward Village Hall and saw the flags of the armed services flapping majestically in the breeze, I took the sight as a message to speak of our veterans and the celebration of them on November 11.
As background, Armistice Day, so renamed Veterans Day by Congress in 1954, was first celebrated at Buckingham Palace in 1919. Commemorating the cessation of hostilities with Germany, the armistice was signed at 5AM on November 11, 1917 bringing four years of fierce fighting in Europe to an end. (Actual peace negotiations were not finalized “to end the war to end all wars” until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.)
To achieve the armistice, national representatives met in French Commander Ferdinand Foch’s railroad car in the forest of Compiegne, 38 miles north of Paris, chosen for its remote and discreet location.
Upon hearing the news, our country went wild. Lower Manhattan became impassable, church bells tolled and thousands of pounds of confetti were tossed.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson spoke of Armistice Day as a “time of reflection filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in this country’s service and with gratitude for the victory both because of the things from which it freed us and because of the opportunity it had given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the Council of the Nations.”
An act of Congress made it a legal holiday in 1938. Originally commemorating the cessation of World War I, World War II veterans petitioned Congress to expand its significance with all veterans being recognized for their service starting with the 1947 commemorations. President Ford signed a bill in 1976 to have the holiday held in perpetuity on November 11, regardless the day of the week to add to its gravitas.
The holiday is celebrated by every Allied nation with Canada and Australia also celebrating on November 11 under the name Remembrance Day. Also called Remembrance Day in England, it is celebrated on the Sunday closest to the 11th with a televised parade attended by every major political figure and Royal on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
During a Veterans Day speech in 2012, President Obama stated, “It is about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they earned when they come home. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America.”
One could question whether we are meeting this obligation:
-At some veterans hospitals, there is currently a two-year medical consultation delay when diseases have proven to cross medical fields of expertise.
-Unlike our senior citizens who receive a government issued card that entitles them to receive medical care from any participating doctor or hospital, veterans must travel upwards of 100 miles to seek medical treatment.
-Returning veterans are two times more likely to become chronically homeless as their fellow Americans.
-It is estimated 50,000 vets sleep on the street every night.
-After the submission of a required 23-page document, 600,000 veterans are currently waiting for a disability determination.
-The unemployment rate is digits higher for veterans than the national average.
-The rate of post-traumatic stress disease is at 20% for veterans versus 7% for the general population.
Senator Bernie Sanders spoke eloquently of the plight of our 19 million plus veterans. He noted that the cost of war encompasses so much more than the cost of weaponry, salaries and equipment. He stated that the human cost is lasting and virtually incalculable. Traumatic brain injuries and PTSD often lead to unemployment, depression, violence and suicide coupled with the lifelong pain and hardship of children and families and spouses who have lost a loved one and the difficulty of transition and job opportunities even upon a successful return from deployment.
There are many worthwhile charities that supplement the care of our veterans and could so use your support especially at this time of year.
Veterans themselves ask that you check with Charity Navigator, Charity Watch on Guidestar where one can discern not only if the organization is legitimate, but also learn the percentage of your donation that goes directly to veterans vs absorbed in overhead and staff expenses.
As important as the donor route is, a simple thank you is special. As only 325,000 of our 16 million Americans who served in World War II are still with us, a thanks to our “Veteran Veterans” would mean even more.
As a speaker said at a recent veterans’ event I attended, “We don’t know them all but we owe them all.”
Photo by N. Bower
Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.
While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.
Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.
The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.
Village of Bronxville Administrative Offices
Open 9:00am - 4pm excluding holidays and weekends
Bronxville Police Department
Open 24 hours
Bronxville Parking Violations
Open 9:00am - 4pm excluding holidays and weekends
Bronxville Fire Deparment