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From the Mayor: Memorial Day Speech 2011 PDF Print Email

marvinandgirlscoutbower

Editor's Note:  In lieu of Mayor Marvin's weekly column, below is the Memorial Day address she gave on Monday morning, May 30, to the community gathered 'round the flagpole in front of the Bronxville School.

Good morning and God Bless America!

Today is the 89th Village Memorial Day parade and commemoration and I am so pleased on behalf of the entire Village to honor Arthur Miller, World War II veteran and lifelong Village resident, as our grand marshal.

I want to tell you a little about Art.

Art interrupted his education at Duke University to serve our country as a bombardier on the B-17 so-called American Flying Fortress.

Assigned to the Eighth Air Force 486th Wing, Art flew 30 combat missions over Germany targeting factories and fuel deposits. Art's plane always encountered resistance and on one mission, a piece of flak landed in Art's lap, a souvenir he owns proudly to this day.

There were always holes in the fuselage of his plane on their return to base and Art credits the power above with keeping him safe.

By war's end, Art's decorations and citations included the Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the World War II Victory Medal. And, at a USO show in Hollywood, he even got to meet Bette Davis and was in Times Square to celebrate VE Day.

Post service, Art graduated from Duke and came home to Bronxville for good raising his three daughters here with his late wife, Nancy Van Wyck Miller. Just as Art Miller served his country with distinction, he has given years of valuable service to our Village serving on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce, the Community Fund, his church--The Reformed Church--and as president of our Rotary Club.

Thank you Art for serving our country and our village with valor, humility, and dedication. Art, you truly are a hero among us.

To learn more about Art's service and the other heroes among us, I encourage you to visit the special Bronxville Veterans Memorial display which is exhibited just behind me inside the school until 2 o'clock today. Thanks to the efforts of Village residents Jane Staunton and Cindi Callahan, this moving tribute honors local men and women who have served our country, recounts many of their stories of heroism, and recognizes the over 1,500 Villagers on the Scroll of Honor who have proudly served our country.

I want to dedicate this year's Memorial Day commemoration to Art and to all his fellow World War II veterans who served so bravely and who are leaving us much too quickly.

Sixteen million Americans answered the call to serve in World War II and a staggering 400,000 gave their lives. It was the defining moment of the 20th century and the ultimate symbol of moral strength and national unity.

We tend to forget that when this country entered World War II, our nation was suffering from a decade of economic depression, we were not a rich country, and our military was only the 17th largest in the world. Yet our country was never more united, and at the height of the war, we had ships in every ocean and armies on five continents.

As was said about the men and women of World War II--the Greatest Generation--uncommon valor was a common virtue. They were not warriors by nature, just lovers of freedom and their country.

Most of them were modest sons of a great country and many of us are very proud to call them dad.

Yet they truly saved our country and quite literally the freedom of mankind and then came home and rebuilt the United States into the superpower it is today. Thank you, thank you World War II veterans. Thanks to your example, the rest of us are quite aware that to be born free is an accident, to live free is a privilege, and to die free is a responsibility.

Thank you all for being here today and may God continue to shower down his love and blessings on our great nature.

 

 
Max McGrath: Memorial Day--A Day of Thanks With Many Memories PDF Print Email

mcgrathcaricuture

June 1, 2011:  This will be my fifth Memorial Day tribute to the village's men and women who serve this country with honor and sacrifice.

I cannot write one more time about how I decorated my youthful bike to ride down Pondfield on the way to the after-march picnic.  It would do a disservice to these brave souls.

The freedoms that we take for granted are a gift to all of us as a result of their service.  I am honored to stand on the sidelines as these Americans march before us.  They don't march to honor themselves, but to honor those who rest in the Elysian Fields scattered over too many consecrated peaceful plots world over.

So it is much more important that we hear from those who served.

My reflections on being a vet during the height of the Vietnam War are varied.  I tried very hard to avoid being drafted, but, thanks to my own stupidity, I missed the college deferment tests.  Uncle Sam started to come after me the summer before my senior year in college.  Luckily, the local draft board in Yonkers felt sorry for me because I didn't claim I was medically unfit to serve.  I only asked to be allowed to play football and finish my senior year.

When granted my request, I tried to get into the Air Force flight school and, while I qualified, the schools were filled up. They kept postponing my entrance, and the Army finally said enough and drafted me in Nov of '67.

I spent two years in Aberdeen, Md., as an Army pay clerk watching thousands of young men being trained before being sent off to war.  During that time, we had many returning Vietnam vets who were assigned to our barracks waiting their discharge.  Most did not want to talk about their war experiences.  However, I have vivid memories of these brave men waking up screaming in the middle of the night with their horrid nightmares.

While I am now proud to say that I am a veteran and know it helped shape me as a young man, the '60s were entirely different from today.  Most of the country was against the war.  The military and vets were not respected as brave heroes as they are today.

The draft put a different spin on the military; most tried to avoid it, and the smart and educated, for the most part, did.  But there were others who volunteered or went into the ROTC.  We lost some great friends like Bogus and Biff who would have gone on to do great things had their lives not been cut short.  Among my classmates, Denny Davis ('63), Army, Vietnam era, and Jim "Sarge" Leary, Army, combat decorated, 7th Air Cavalry, Vietnam, served their country well.  So did John D. Doerr, 1st Lt. Army Quartermaster Corps, Vietnam.

Was it worth it?  This is the underlying question for all conflicts where our own young people are sent to put their lives on the line.  The Memorial Days we experienced back in those days were a respectful mixture of melancholy and nostalgia.  Parades on Pondfield Road and on main streets throughout the country mourned lives lost and victories won ... all swept into a unified theme of having saved our country and the free world.  The question was answered by the fact that we had no choice.

The situation is very different now.  With an all-volunteer Army, the sacrifices are made by a relatively small demographic.  They have been recycled over and over into multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The attendant loss of life, physical and mental injury, and the collateral damage to families and loved ones are confined to a relatively small cohort.

"Never in the field of human conduct was so much owed by so many to so few."  Those words from Winston Churchill in WWII certainly ring true today, although the terrain involved hardly qualifies as "free world" criteria; the question remains, "is it worth it?"

A number of years ago, Patty, our two daughters, and I went to The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia to celebrate our anniversary.  I gave Patty a large bouquet of flowers for our room.  Upon returning to D.C., I went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and placed the flowers at the bottom of the "V" of the wall. Although a simple act, it was a powerful moment for me.

To those who served, thank you for my freedoms; I will never be able to repay you for your sacrifices.

Max

 

 
Despite Rain, Memorial Day Parade and Events Still On Go: See Schedule of Events PDF Print Email

capmemorialdaywarner

May 30, 2011:  According to Mayor Mary Marvin, who called MyhometownBronxville at 8:30 am today (Memorial Day), the parade is still on and will begin at 9:00 am as planned.

PTA co-chair Leeann Leahy also confirmed that they will be holding the PTA events after the parade.

Monday, May 30

Memorial Day Parade:  The Memorial Day Parade starts at 9:00 am sharp on Monday, May 30, beginning on the west side of the railroad tracks and parading down Pondfield Road to the front of the Bronxville School where Mayor Mary Marvin will give a Memorial Day address and veterans of all wars will be honored.

Carnival Games on School Field:  After the traditional Memorial Day parade, carnival games will commence behind the school on the elementary school playground and the football field.  There will be burgers by the Boy Scouts available for lunch.

Bronxville Veterans Memorial Exhibit:  The exhibit is open to the public on Saturday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and Monday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm inside the school.  For four years The Bronxville Veterans Memorial Exhibit has been displayed at The Bronxville Women's Club.  With its being brought into the school, kids and grown-ups alike can come to see firsthand what Memorial Day is really about

 
Get Ready for Memorial Day Weekend: See Schedule of Events PDF Print Email

capmemorialdaywarner

According to Mayor Mary Marvin, who called MyhometownBronxville at 8:30 am today (Memorial Day), the parade is still on and will begin at 9:00 am as planned.  PTA Co-chair Leeann Leahy, also confirmed that they will be holding the PTA events after the parade. 

Schedule of Events for Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 27

Bake Sale:  Events kick off on Friday, May 27, with a school-wide bake sale (aka The Cup Cake Café) in the early morning for middle school and high school and then back again at 3:00 pm on Hayes Field for all schools.  From the simplest sugar cookie to the elaborate pies and cakes, all goods are donated by Bronxville families.  Always a sellout and a big fund-raiser for the PTA, the goods are delectable.  No one needs to be told there are some serious bakers in this town.  The traditional dollar raffle for kids is also on Friday.

Annual Scavenger Hunt for Kids K thr 5:  Pick up your  Clues booklets at the Bronxville Public Library between Monday, May 23, and Saturday, May 28.

Friday Evening Cocktail Parties:  New this year are Friday evening cocktail parties, which will be hosted by Bronxville residents in their homes.  After the parties, folks can come down to the school and dance the night away with Gorilla Jamb, the "Dad" band.  They will perform in the school gym; kind of like reliving one's prom, only less pomp and circumstance.  Julie Meade, current Bronxville School PTA president, has been integrally involved in this and every other aspect of the Memorial Day festivities.  All proceeds from the parties will benefit the PTA.


Saturday, May 28

James E. Kearny Run for Fun:  If Bronxville residents are into baking and dancing, they are even more than obsessed with running.  Nowhere is this more evident than The James E. Kearny Run For Fun.  Traditionally held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, the race starts at 9:00 am at the Pondfield Road flagpole and finishes whenever one can, back at the school.  Registration begins at 8:00 am.  This is a race is for all ages.

The Dog Show:  The Dog Show will start shortly after the race at 11:00 am on the elementary school blacktop.  While you're there, refuel with hot dogs and other edibles at the Hot Doggy Café.

Used Book Fair:  Located in the multipurpose room of the elementary school, the fair will be held on Saturday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and Monday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Evening Community PicnicLeann Leahy says Saturday evening's activities are all about community and family.  This year's Community Picnic, traditionally held on Hayes Field, will include some old-fashioned games for kids and a cakewalk.  All are welcome to bring a blanket, a picnic dinner, and friends.

Monday, May 30

Memorial Day Parade:  The Memorial Day Parade starts at 9:00 am sharp on Monday, May 30, beginning on the west side of the railroad tracks and parading down Pondfield Road to the front of the Bronxville School where Mayor Mary Marvin will give a Memorial Day address and veterans of all wars will be honored.

Carnival Games on School Field:  After the traditional Memorial Day parade, carnival games will commence behind the school on the elementary school playground and the football field.  There will be burgers by the Boy Scouts available for lunch.

Bronxville Veterans Memorial Exhibit:  The exhibit is open to the public on Saturday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and Monday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm inside the school.  For four years The Bronxville Veterans Memorial has been displayed at The Bronxville Women's Club.  With its being brought into the school, kids and grown-ups alike can come to see firsthand what Memorial Day is really about.

Sponsors Who Are Making It Possible

Of course, this could not all be done without the many sponsors who pitch in to help.

Top of the list is People's United Bank, which, although new to Bronxville, had no problem jumping in and showing its community spirit by sponsoring the Monday carnival games.

The PTA is so happy that Bronxville-Ley is continuing its tradition of sponsoring Memorial Day weekend events.  And can anyone say "dog show"?  As sponsors of the dog show and café, Canine Companies and Topps Bakery, with cookies shaped like doggie bones, certainly can.

In addition, the ever-popular proprietors at Dobbs & Bishop have come through with a supply of nibbles for the cocktail parties, with Station Plaza Wines sponsoring the beverage area.  Memorial Day in Bronxville truly is a community effort.

For more information on the PTA-sponsored Memorial Day events, go to www.bxvmemorialday.com

Pictured here:  Cap with logo of 50th Memorial Day celebration.

Photo by A. Warner

 

 
From Different Roots, Village Justices George Mayer and George McKinnis Share Common Concerns and Values PDF Print Email

mayermckinnisbower

Editor's Note:  This is the second of two articles about the Bronxville Justice Court.

May 25, 2011:  The two judges who share the duties of the Bronxville Justice Court could not have come from more different backgrounds.  Chief Justice George McKinnis was born and raised in Oklahoma, began law practice in Kansas, and after touching base with a well-known New York law firm, traveled the world on exotic legal matters.  Justice George Mayer was raised in the Bronx, served as a prosecuting attorney in high-profile criminal cases in Manhattan, operated restaurants, and became a founder of Bronxville High School's ski team.

Justice McKinnis presides over two evening sessions of court twice a month; Justice Mayer, over nine morning sessions twice a month.  Both of them share a concern for fairness on decisions about such civil matters as landlord-tenant squabbles and criminal violations from simple traffic offenses to assault and drug use.

Justice Mayer has a rich background qualifying him to evaluate criminal cases.  For 13 years he was assistant district attorney in Bronx County.  At one time he was the lead attorney in a federal trial of 44 defendants charged with drug offenses--the largest trial of its kind before the legendary "Pizza Connection" trial.  He worked in the district attorney's racketeering bureau handling cases of official corruption and wiretapping.  Later he served in the homicide bureau.  For several years he was prosecutor for the Village of Bronxville, handling investigation and prosecution of traffic, code, and parking offenses.

"Crime in the suburbs can be especially disruptive to families," Mayer remarks.  "Even one day in jail is a serious matter, and often a dangerous place."  Offenders, who have a lot to lose, may be inclined to accept a sentence that does not result in prison.  Therefore, he sometimes works as a go-between with district attorneys to craft penalties that are short of incarceration.  "Most of the time, the DA will make an offer acceptable to defendants," he notes.

Justice McKinnis, too, is sensitive to the need for alternatives to harsh penalties, especially in teenage cases.  Local drunken behavior, he notes, is abetted by some bars in Mount Vernon and Larchmont that freely accept fake identity cards and may even permit parties in bars.  In aggravated cases of alcohol abuse by young people, he steers them to a tough alcohol treatment center that is "run like a Marine boot camp."  Their parents have to pay for this.  Another group is sent to a facility in White Plains.  In all such cases, the justice insists that parents appear in his court.

Once, while vacationing with his family in Hilton Head, South Carolina, Justice McKinnis was asked by a local judge for advice on dealing with a group of Bronxville students who were arrested for rowdy behavior.  They had been jailed, clothed in striped uniforms, and doused with disinfectant.  Justice McKinnis advised sentences of community service.  The local judge would not accept church-related midnight runs, but he did agree that the youths could be required to work on Bronxville garbage trucks at 4:00 am daily!

Justice McKinnis obtained his law degree at the University of Michigan.  While a young lawyer in Kansas ("I was bored to tears"), Justice McKinnis was offered a job with a New York law firm.  The firm needed a lawyer with polite, soft-spoken manners common to the South or Southwest to deal with wealthy elderly clients.  He was hired after two hours during which he "sir'd" office boys and "mam'd" secretaries.  "I was hired to be a paid schmoozer," he recalls.  He was then hired by an Anglo-American merchant bank to work in Nassau, Bahamas.  He had to be a bachelor because of political unrest on the island.  The job involved travel throughout the world.  "I had the time of my life," he recalls.  Returning to New York, he did international work for ITT Corporation.

Justice Mayer was educated at the University of Denver and New York Law School.  Before his legal career, he worked in a noted family restaurant in the Bronx (Mayer's), and while he was in law school, he opened his own restaurant, Geordie's, on Third Avenue in Manhattan.

Both justices maintain private practices and have been active in community affairs in addition to their court service.  Justice McKinnis is president of the Bronxville Beautification Committee and former president of the Bronxville Working Gardeners; he was volunteer village counsel for three mayoral terms and counsel to the Zoning Board of Appeals; and he was former president, and is currently assistant governor, of the Rotary Club of Bronxville.

Justice Mayer has been president of the Bronxville Parents Teachers Association, chairman of the Bronxville Memorial Day Committee, and coach of Eastchester soccer and Bronxville baseball, and he is co-founder of the Bronxville School ski team and family ski trip.  The latter has drawn as many as 215 parents and children to slopes in Colorado, Austria, and elsewhere.

One of the justices' most pleasant duties is marrying people. "That empowers me to give 'life sentences,' " Justice McKinnis quips.  That task is on the upswing as more couples choose civil instead of religious ceremonies.  Justice McKinnis presided over 50 last year.

Pictured here:  Justice George McKinnis (L) and Justice George Mayer during a swearing-in ceremony while Mayor Mary Marvin in the background looks on.

Photo by N. Bower

 
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