By PNC Edwin Goldwasser
This year, Veterans Day had special meaning for me inasmuch as my wife, Iris, is the President of our Jewish War Veterans National Ladies Auxiliary, and it brought back memories of my days as National Commander – where I attended official functions on behalf of JWV. The one problem we faced this year was Veterans Day occurred on our Sabbath, and we therefore could not attend the official events at Arlington. The question then came about as to what we could do to make the day more meaningful?
It was decided to have Shabbat services in our chapel Saturday morning along with other events planned in our building, the Museum of American Jewish Military History, throughout the day for the local Jewish Community’s participation. Rabbi Bruce Kahn, a retired Navy Chaplain, officiated one of the most meaningful services for JWV that I can say I have ever attended. We had just about 22 people participated – some from the local area together with some of our members and Auxiliary members. The service concluded with a lively discussion on that day’s Torah portion, “What price are we willing to pay for our land?” As veterans on this Veterans Day, this subject was extremely meaningful and provoked much thought.
Our JWV/JWVA members then proceeded to the Vietnam Memorial Wall to attend the ceremonies and presentation of wreaths. Our group consisted of our National Commander Paul Warner and his wife, Norma; National President of our Ladies Auxiliary Iris Goldwasser; PNC Michael Berman; PNP Rita Panitz; PNP Elaine Bernstein; NED Herbert Rosenbleeth and his wife, Francine; and our in-house staff photographer, Christy Turner. The program ended with all the organizations placing wreaths – ours by National Commander Warner and PNC Berman, a Vietnam veteran. Some other organizations in attendance were the American Legion, DAV, AmVets, VFW and Military Order of the Purple Heart to name a few.
After that ceremony, we all proceeded to the Korean War Memorial to pay homage to the veterans of the Forgotten War. A service was conducted at this Memorial, which is just across the reflecting pond from the Vietnam Wall. Prior to the placing of wreaths, young Korean ladies in traditional dress each placed a white rose on the names of the many countries that participated in the Korean War, which as a Korean Veteran myself, I found very moving. At this memorial, the National Commander and the National Auxiliary President together placed our wreath in front of the wall.
Although the temperatures were extremely cold and it was difficult to be outside for long periods of time, Veterans Day was truly a very heart warming experience. We were there to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and it was a very moving ceremony. We were grateful to be included in the proceedings and proud of our Commander, JWVA President and all who participated as a part of JWV/JWVA.
Volume 71. Number 4. Winter 2017