Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

Jewish War Veterans to Hold Memorial Service at Arlington National Cemetery for British Zionist War

Winter 2004

The Jewish War Veterans of the USA (Paul Bernstein, National Commander) and JWV Department of the District of Columbia (Jack McFadden, Department Commander) will be holding a memorial service on Sunday, April 25, 2004, 2 p.m., at Arlington National Cemetery's Memorial Amphitheatre to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the death of British Major General Orde Charles Wingate, a fervent Zionist and a famed World War II military leader. Orde Wingate was a seminal figure in modern non-conventional military warfare as the leader of the British-Indian Chindits in Burma during World War II and, earlier, as the leader of the British-Ethiopian Gideon Force in the pre-Pearl Harbor days of the war when Britain stood alone against Hitler. He was, and remains, a hero to the Jewish community for his fervent support of Israel's independence and for his creation of the Special Night Forces that fought against Arab terrorism in pre-independence Palestine in the late 1930's. Moshe Dayan and Yigal Allon, among others, have credited Wingate with being the spiritual father of the IDF. It was Wingate's ambition to lead the Israeli army in its fight for independence but he died in a plane crash during World War II while leading his Chindit commandos against the Japanese. Wingate is buried in a joint grave at Arlington National Cemetery with the other members of his American and British air crew that crashed in Burma in March 1944. Prime Minister Winston Churchill hailed Orde Wingate as "a man of genius who might well have become also a man of destiny." Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers stated, "At a time when many uncertainties face our world, it is important to recognize the value of unity and the sacrifices required to ensure global peace. Orde Wingate symbolizes that bond and commitment." Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich noted that, "Orde Wingate was not an American by birth, but like the men and women of the American military he spent his lifetime fighting for peace and justice throughout the world." Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) declared that Wingate's "vision continues to guide us today." For over thirty years, the Jewish War Veterans have honored General Wingate at Arlington National Cemetery. U.S. Naval Academy Chaplain Joel Newman has tentatively agreed to officiate at this year's service and PNC Robert M. Zweiman, National JWV Chairman, will serve as master of ceremonies. Organizers expect that more than 1,000 people will be attending the memorial. A total of 180 Jewish, labor, and American and British veterans organizations are supporting this event, including the Jewish Federations of Greater Washington, Baltimore, and Richmond, the United Jewish Communities, the American Jewish Congress, Hadassah, B'nai B'rith, the African American Women's Clergy Association, the Communications Workers of America, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Legion the VFW, the (British) Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, and the Chindits Old Comrades Association. Among the confirmed participants are Ethiopian Ambassador Kassahun Ayele, Prime Minister Sein Win of the National Coalition Government Union of Burma (Burma's democratic opposition), British Army Colonel Michael Hill (representing the British Embassy), former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, Lt. Gen. Robert Magnus (USMC), and Communications Workers of America President Morton Bahr. Invitations have gone out to senior American political and military leaders as well as to Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon and other prominent individuals. Approximately 60 Jewish youth groups will be participating in the ceremony, as well as 14 non-Jewish youth groups. The Howard University Choir and three Jewish choirs will be performing at the memorial.

 

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