From the Mayor: Thank You Veterans for Your Service

Photo by N. Bower

By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville

Nov. 15, 2023: I was going to write this week’s column about legislation pending in Albany that might have consequences to the Village budget and Village procedures.

Instead, I took my Sunday morning walk past Village Hall and saw those majestic flags of all our armed services shining in the sun and flapping in the breeze, and I thought I simply must talk about all those who served under those flags. I took my viewing as a message to discuss the meaning of Veterans Day and its origins.

Armistice Day in Europe, and so named Veterans Day by Congress in 1954, was first celebrated at Buckingham Palace in 1919, commemorating the cessation of conflict 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 35 miles north of Paris so 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.

President Wilson spoke of Armistice Day, “As a time for reflection filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who served our country.” I believe his quote was quite prescient and deserves to be remembered on November 11th, if not every day.

In 1938, an act of Congress made Veterans Day a legal holiday. Originally just commemorating the secession 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 then signed a bill in 1976 to have the holiday held in perpetuity on November 11, regardless of the day of the week to add to its gravitas.

To put it in perspective, over 41 million Americans throughout history have served in our armed forces.

Currently 1.3 million serve in our all-volunteer divisions. Of the 16 million veterans of World War II, only 119,550 are alive today and we lose 131 of them daily.

Over 2.7 million men and women served in Vietnam, 58,000 losing their lives.

Of the 6.8 million veterans who served in Korea, 1 million are alive in 2023 and 7000 still remain unaccounted for.

In 1980, 18% of our fellow countrymen were Veterans and as of 2022, it is 6%.

To translate these numbers into real people, these veterans were your predecessors in the Village, neighbors, paperboys, school mates, and you might possibly live in the house of a hero.

For example, Charlie Flammer, Princeton class of 1941 and B -25 bomber pilot, lost an engine and then maneuvered his plane so that his entire crew could get out while he went down with the plane. Charlie is still considered MIA but if you stop by Christ Church one day, you will see a full-size stained-glass window dedicated to Charlie.

Douglas Van Buskurk, 26 Prescott Avenue, was galvanized by the heroics of Village resident Eddie Rickenbacker, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor, having shot down 25 enemy planes and logged 300 combat flying hours, the most in World War I. 

Douglas joined the RAF in 1939 as his only opportunity to take a side against Hitler. While he was fighting in the European theater, his mom was managing Womraths Bookstore and his dad was on the Village Housing Commission. Doug was shot down during a night bombing raid in 1941 and there is a plaque in his honor in the Reformed Church.

Mike Ranson, Bronxville High, Colby College graduate, lost his life in 1968 just two months after arriving in Vietnam. He was a respected platoon leader, and the eldest of six Bronxville sons.

Ed Keebler, Bronxville School, Deerfield Academy and Princeton, was a marine gunship pilot who kept enemy fire trained on him so an air ambulance could medevac the injured out of the jungle. He was shot down by the North Vietnamese and he is laid to rest in Arlington.

These gentlemen are heroes but so is everyone who answered the call just as heroic because when asked, they stood up.

During a Veterans Day speech in 2012, President Obama said it’s not about just Veterans Day but, “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.”

-One might question whether we are meeting this obligation. At some veterans hospitals, there is currently a two-year medical consultation wait when diseases have proven to cross medical fields of expertise.

-Unlike our senior citizens, who I count among, who receive a government issued card that entitles them to receive medical care from any participating doctor or hospital, veterans must travel in many cases upwards of 100 miles to seek medical treatment.

-Returning veterans are two times more likely to become chronically homeless as their fellow Americans and it is estimated 50,000 veterans sleep on our streets every night.

-After the submission of a required 23-page document, 600,000 veterans are currently waiting for disability determination.

-The rate of post-traumatic stress disease is at 20% for veterans versus 7% for the general population.

There are currently 19 million veterans in our country today. Many of them could certainly use our help. By looking up on Charity Navigator or Charity Watch, you can find out which organizations get the money directly to our veterans.

As an important as a monetary donation is, a simple thank you for your service is also incredibly meaningful.

As it has been said, “We don’t know them all, but we owe them all.”



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Bronxville Overview

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.

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