Thursday, May 29, 2014

A special night at the Delaware County Veterans Monument

It was starting to spit rain. A nasty, chilly wind made the memory of that gorgeous weekend just a memory.

The truth is, it was pretty miserable.

Then I looked at the man seated to my right.

Suddenly, it didn't seem all that bad.

Last night we took our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' to the new Delaware County Veterans Memorial, out on West Chester Pike in Newtown Square.

No, the conditions were not ideal.

But the company was.

When Barb Zippi first approached me about the idea of doing our show live at the memorial, I had visions of a brilliant, sunny early summer day.

That's not exactly what we got. It didn't matter.

The people I was with, and where we were sitting, quickly made me forget the chill in the air.

Saying Ralph Galati has seen worse conditions is a bit of an understatement.

The 1966 St. James Grad spent 14 months in the 'Hanoi Hilton' as a 'guest' of the North Vietnamese back in 1972.

The Vietnam Vet will be honored with the Freedom Award in November at the annual gala of the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Association, the driving force behind the memorial.

It was our honor to have Galati on our show. A humble, congenial man, Galati talked about one of his fellow POWs. Maybe you've heard of him. He is now referred to Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona. Galati humbly spoke of the tremendous welcome home that he and other POWS received when they finally left North Vietnam and came home to the states, admitting that was not the experience most other grunts who spent time in Nam received. Places like the Delaware County Veterans Memorial are going a long way to ease those ill feelings. Now celebrating its first year, the memorial, which gleams brightly right on the side of busy Route 3 24 hours a day, really is one of the county's gems.

Much of the credit for that goes to Guy Fizzano, the head of the DCVMA, who joined us last night and updated us on the push to sell memorial bricks at the site. They both allow families to honor their loved ones who served the country so well, but also to offset the cost of upkeep at the memorial.

Linda Houldin, longtime Newtown supervisor, told us about the DCMVA's latest education initiative, giving kids a needed view into the veteran experience.

Springfield Police Chief Joe Daly told us about plans for the groups biggest fundraiser, a November dinner at which Galati and others will be awarded the Freedom Medal.

Galati was ably introduced by Dennis Murphy, another member of the association.

If you missed the show last night, you can catch the replay here. I'm the skinny one who is trying not to shiver.

More importantly, please make some time to visit the memorial. It's open 24 hours a day. It lists the name of every Delaware County serviceman to give his life in defense of our country.

Just a few days after Memorial Day, I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be.

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