Tag Archives: VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399

Roundup: Flags, Trash, Blood …

Westport just celebrated our annual, wonderful. warm and welcoming jUNe Day.

So let’s start the week with a jUNe Day complaint.

A reader sends this photo —

— and writes:

“I noticed that the Russian flag is flying on the bridge — next to the American flag.

“Shouldn’t that flag come done while we are boycotting and protesting Russia’s invasion of sovereign Ukraine? Additionally, the Russian flag is right at the center of the bridge, next to the American flag — certainly a special spot. Can the town change the flags to reflect the current state of affairs?”

Well!

I’ve always been told the flags fly in alphabetical order. Right now, 193 countries are members of the UN. I did not count the flags this year. Besides, I’m no flags-of-the-world expert, so I can’t answer whether they are in alphabetical order or not.

(I would have contacted the Department of Public Works, which sets up and removes the flags each year, but they were closed for the weekend.)

My next thought: Maybe Russia still goes by its former name — the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. That would, amazingly, put it smack next to the United States.

I checked the UN website. Nope: It’s “Russian Federation.”

Then I wondered if the DPW simply uses the same list year after year. The wheels of municipal government grind slowly, but I can’t imagine they’d use a list from the last century without anyone noticing.

Finally, I wondered: What are those other flags next to Russia?

The one on its right seems to be Romania  — which, alphabetically, comes right before Russia.

The one on the left — interrupted by the US — appears to be Rwanda. Bingo!

Perhaps the American flag is placed smack in the middle of the bridge because, hey, this is our country — and Russia just happens, ironically, to be where it is by the luck of the alphabet.

At any rate, there’s no reason to remove the Russian flag, even if the country is an international pariah.

This was jUNe Day, after all.

хорошего дня!

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But wait!

The photo above was taken yesterday, during the reproductive rights rally.

The day before, Joel Treisman took a video of the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. It showed a different arrangement of flags flanking ours:

What’s going on?

Sounds like a case for Interpol!

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A flag kerfuffle and looming constitutional crisis notwithstanding, this was a perfect weekend for a walk at the beach.

My path took me along Bradley Street. I spotted this subtle — but hopefully strong — reminder to dog owners: Their lawn is not a canine crapper.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

I also noticed an astonishing amount of trash left on the tables outside the Hook’d concession stand, under the brick pavilion roof, and on South Beach.

How difficult is it to take your trash 5 steps to the nearby receptacle?

Westporters love to say, “This is our beach.”

Let’s treat it that way!

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The need for blood is constant.

Kick off the holiday weekend by doing something for others. VFW Post 399 hosts its 24th straight monthly Red Cross blood drive this Friday (July 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 465 Riverside Avenue).

Click here for an appointment.

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Cheese Fries & Froot Loops” — the true, moving and humorous one-man show written and performed by Weston native Chris Fuller about his attempt to make it to the PGA Tour while struggling with bipolar mental illness — debuted at Fairfield Theater Company last month.

It led to an invitation to perform at the United Solo Theater Festival in New York this fall.

First though, Fuller plans 2 shows here, to benefit the Artists Collective of Westport: July 23 and 24, 8 p.m. at the Westport Woman’s Club.

The suggestion donation is $15 a tickets, and includes complimentary wine and cheese.. Funds raised will help provide art supplies and activities to those in need. For reservations, email aspetuck@optonline.net or call 203-349-8786

Fuller — son of famed author John G. Fuller and playwright Elizabeth Fuller — will give away copies of his book “Goodnight, Golf!” after an on-stage putting contest during the show.

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Dennis Poster died at home, surrounded by his family. on Friday. He was 82.

The Syracuse native, and Syracuse University graduate ran specialist books on the New York Mercantile Exchange and American Stock Exchange. He later managed D.B. Poster Associates, working from Connecticut to be closer to his family.

He was on the Executive Committee of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Dean Council, was emeritus chair of the JHE Foundation, and served on the boards of The Hole in the Wall Gang Fund, Save our Strays and The Compass Fund. He was also a trustee for The Aronson Family Foundation, which supports education, the arts, healthcare, and animal rescue charities.

Dennis loved golf, Pepe’s Pizza, DQ Blizzards, blackjack, backgammon, Shark Tank, watching CNBC, his cat Shadow, feeding the surrounding wildlife by his home, and most importantly, his family.

He had a near 50-year Father’s Day tradition of mini-golfing with his daughters, and then his grandchildren. He played semi-pro golf, and often joined pro-am golf tournaments with friends. He once shot a 66 at Winged Foot.

Dennis had a big heart, a warm soul and was fiercely loyal to his family and friends. We will miss his contagious chuckle, generosity, sage advice and especially his love.

Dennis is survived by his wife, Joan of 57 years; daughters Meredith and Cindy (David) of Westport; grandchildren Hannah, Lillie, Matthew, Max, Jack and Sam; brother Greg and sister Wendy.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and Let’s Win Pancreatic Cancer.

Dennis Poster

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It took 4 years of nursing — inside her house, and on her deck — but Wendy Levy finally got her passionflower to bloom.

What a colorful way to start our “Westport … Naturally” week!

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … today is National Orange Blossom Day. How will you celebrate?

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Tom Feeley And Mike Brody’s Memorial Day Tale

As Memorial Day approaches, longtime Westporter Tom Feeley writes:

It was 1945. The war in Germany was almost over. But SFC Mike Brody and the POWs did not know it.

Fast forward to 1973. I moved from San Francisco to Westport. As a Vietnam veteran, I joined VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 VFW. I walked in the Memorial Day parade, attended the solemn Veterans Day ceremony, and made a bunch of new WWII NCO friends with CIBs, even a Silver Star.

My left shoulder had the Third Infantry Division Patch from 1/15 INF CAN DO, so I was real good with the WWII guys. I also led Audie Murphy’s platoon.

Junior Bieling

Westport veteran and Silver Star awardee Junior Bieling usually wore a coat over his uniform to hide his medal, out of modesty. He owned JR’s Hot Dog Stand.

I busted his chops: “You should be very proud. If an enlisted man earns a Silver Star, he really earned it.”

“Not too many officers would say that,” he replied.

On Fridays if I went in for a dog, I left smashed on his vodka screwdrivers. “Tom, the booze is on the house, but ya gotta pay for the dogs!”

There was also a burly Tech SFC Mike Brody, with ribbons and a CIB. He was from Brooklyn. I’m from Queens, with Brooklyn friends, so we became buddies. We ran into each other at the beach occasionally, and chatted.

He was almost 6 feet tall, built like a tanker. He had a contagious smile and a very quick wit.

The three of us hung out in the VFW bar after ceremonies or meetings. Those guys knew everyone.

Fast forward again, to 2000. I owned a boutique real estate firm. I had sold a beautiful modern home in Weston to inventor genius Bob Soloff and his wife Carol, also from Brooklyn. They held a beautiful catered open house for friends after the sale.

To my surprise, SFC Mike Brody showed up. We were a few hours into drinking when I asked Carol, ”Where do you know this guy Mike from?“

“He’s my little Jewish buddy from Brooklyn!” she said.

“What? Mike? Brody is a Jewish name?!”

In Jackson Heights you were Irish Catholic, Italian or Jewish, with a sprinkling of Protestants. We busted the Jews’ yarmulkes on Saturday, and they busted our Sunday ties or knickers.

Mike turned to Carol. “You’ve asked me about the war many times. I’ve had enough to drink that I’ll finally share my story with you and Tom.”

He continued:

“We were laying field radio wire, got encircled, captured and put in a concentration camp. I was a platoon sergeant, so I had some freedom to move about and interact with guards. who randomly asked to see my dog tags.

World War II prisoner of war camp, in Germany.

“Months later a new slender guard showed up. He was quite different, because he didn’t walk his post bored. He was alert and interested in what was going on behind the fence.

“I saw him a lot, and tried to be nice. He asked me where I was from. When I said Brooklyn, his eyes lit up. He called me ‘Brooklyn!’ from then on.

“One day he was looking for me. He pointed to the far corner of the camp, for me to go there. With a corner post and a lamp pole, it was hidden from the guard towers. He put his index finger to his lips and in perfect English said, ‘Not a word! Give me your dog tags. Return here tomorrow after breakfast. Not a word!'”

“I figured with no tags, I was dead. The next day we met. He returned one tag on the long chain — missing the long chain. He said ‘tank treads,’ and disappeared.

Some dog tags identified soldiers as Jewish with an “H,” for “Hebrew.”

“The next day, everyone was lined up for dog tags. ‘Jews over here!’ The tag the guard had returned was badly scuffed and twisted, like it was run over by a tank. The ‘JUD’ in the lower right corner had been mangled off.

“All the Jews were separated, and never seen again.”

Mike later learned that the guard was an American college student. He had been visiting his grandparents when he was conscripted and placed in a concentration camp, where he could spy with his bilingual skills.

Mike freed the guard by telling rescuers that the kid was an American citizen, and that he had saved Mike’s life.

That’s just one out of countless stories that our veterans can tell. As they gather for tomorrow’s Memorial Day parade and ceremony — and meet at places like the VFW, to share memories, socialize and enjoy their lives — let’s not forget every man and woman who has served our country.

All gave some. Some gave all.