2008-05-22 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

With Memorial Day observed on Monday, we asked islander Lt. Col. Andy Croft to share with us his thoughts about the holiday.

"As our nation prepares to celebrate its 140th Memorial Day, some may wonder what the day means to an active-duty service member. As a father and Air Force officer, Memorial Day strikes me in two poignant ways every year. One is the flying of the American flag in remembrance of the 631,625 service members who have given their lives since the Revolutionary War and the emotions tied to that flag. The other is the desire to instill in our younger generation and children the understanding of sacrifice made by others in the defense of our country and its ideals.

"The placement of 260,000 flags over the graves at Arlington and in local communities has a special meaning for veterans and current active duty soldiers, sailors and airmen. The flag invokes feelings of pride, sorrow, hope and determination. Pride for what our nation has accomplished, sorrow for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, hope for our future and determination to continue to protect our country. Facing the flag during our anthem, taps or retreat offers the opportunity to reflect silently what it means to be an American, both as a civilian and a member of the armed forces.

"If ever given the opportunity, visit the American Cemetery at Normandy. It truly brings home the feeling of Memorial Day. Set on high ground at Omaha Beach, the perfectly manicured grounds with over 9,000 marble crosses and Stars of David stand in absolute perfect order on the site of the bloodiest battle of the D-Day invasions. Even today, one can imagine American troops coming ashore under fire from German defenders on the cliffs overlooking Omaha beach. Sacrifice in the purest sense.

"So we try to instill these lessons in our children. We start small, with lessons on our own history and the flying of our own flag. We explain why friends' fathers go to Iraq and Afghanistan, and what really happened to our country on 9/11. One of our best friends returned from Iraq last night, our children celebrated his safe return and I hope understand the sacrifice that other families are making right now. These small lessons will help our future generations understand what Memorial Day stands for, as the veterans of our current wars join those who sacrificed so much over the last 233 years."

Lt. Col. Croft is an Air Force officer currently attending the Naval War College. Thanks, Andy, and Godspeed!

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Last week's poser was either too easy or too tough. Barbara- Ann Macintosh was the only one to reply. Is you is or is you ain't my baby, the way you been acting lately makes me doubt.

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Does anyone still have a ruptured duck?

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If you love animals and your pet has a very special place in your heart, please consider spending one hour, supporting the proposed Jamestown Animal Shelter. On Tuesday evening, May 27, from 6 to 7 p.m., the Jamestown Town Council will hold a public workshop on the need for an animal shelter in Jamestown. Councilwomen Barbara Szepatowski says that since 2004, talks between Paws and Claws staff and the Town have resulted in an "on again - off again" plan. "With the Teen Center a huge success, the new Town Hall open, and the Highway Barn and Landfill Closure settled, now seems like the opportune time to get this project back on track and open."

Ms. McGuirl's eighth grade students will be present their senior project on the shelter, Paws and Claws will provide information on the number of animals they have cared for since 2000 and also the number fostered and re-homed due to a death in the family, the owner's moving, a lack of interest in their pet; or too busy a schedule.

"The 'Friends of the Jamestown Animal Shelter,' the non-profit generously incorporated by Attorney Emily Chamberlain, will be the overseer for the project," Barbara said. The Animal Shelter is proposed to be built and run with no taxpayer dollars, all private funding and grant money.

It is the hope of the "Friends of the Jamestown Animal Shelter" that the project will partner with the Jamestown Conservation Commission, the Conanicut Island Raptor Program, the Rhode Island Wildlife Rehabilitators, the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study, and the Jamestown Humane Society to build a Nature Center where all types of animals, birds, fish and habitat can be assisted, explored and respected.

On a personal note, Barbara sadly reports that "Ronnie," her beloved pit bull has died. "Without him I would never have gotten involved with the teens, the animals, Cal Ripken Baseball, and politics. I owe him a lot, well not for the politics, but for everything else." He was 13 years old and a 103-pound barrel of goofy love. 'Ron' was also a miracle child, surviving mast cell cancer for the last 2 1/2 years with no complications until the last two days.

"I honestly can say that dog dramatically changed my life. As a result, I want to finally make the Animal Shelter a reality, and do it for all the animals and people who need a little something extra added to their lives. Right now we are fostering a 17-year-old cat for a woman and her two kids who are in a domestic violence shelter where they are moved every night to protect them. We will have no contact with them until they are safely relocated. She was extremely relieved to know that her pet will be safe until she is safe. The amount of trust that goes into a program like this is incredible and so are the people we have met. We also have just placed the fourth of five cats from the December 2007 'foreclosure'. This sad situation is becoming more of a reality across the country.

"So I hope we can fill the room on the 27th and show the Town Council that we can do it and what an addition it will be to the town. It's only an hour of your time. Wear a yellow scarf, dress, or headband to show our positive, sunny outlook. If anyone has questions they can call me on my cell phone at 354-9200."

Let's have a big turnout for the animals.

WOOF!

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Congratulations to islander Peter Liberati who is a partner in the new highly acclaimed restaurant and catering service Everyday Gourmet at 677 Thames St. in Newport's old Fifth Ward.

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Dorrie Linn, the buyer for the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Gift Shop, says there's a full array of lighthouse-themed goods for the many visitors the BLMA anticipates will come through the doors opening for the season, beginning Saturday, May 24. The museum will be open Monday, Memorial Day, too, as well as the following three weekends before opening for the daily schedule, 10 to 4, from June 16 to Labor Day. There is no admittance fee, but donations are encouraged.

"All donations, and proceeds from items purchased, help build funds for the long list of restoration and repair projects BLMA President George Warner says are critical to preserving the historic buildings. The all-volunteer cleaning crew did such a nice job dusting, cleaning, wiping, vacuuming, polishing, and arranging things that the place looks great. George says you don't see the cracks in the plaster walls right away, but they are becoming more apparent," Dorrie said.

The BLMA aims to fix them all, and also, eventually, expand the museum space so that the fuller story of the light's fascinating past can be shared with visitors. Meanwhile, Dorrie said there's a nice supply of pirate-themed T-shirts, jewelry, and shark tooth pendants. For the kids, there are books, note cards, quality clothing with the image of the Beavertail Lighthouse emblazoned on them plus many other neat items. Visitors can learn all about the lights, horns, whistles, and sirens of the navigational aids used down through the years in and around the lighthouse in BLMA board member Varoujan Karentz's book, "Beavertail Light Station." Varoujan is donating all proceeds from the sale of his book to the BLMA.

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Once again, Boy Scout Troop 1's Pasta Supper Saturday at St. Matthew's was a resounding success.

Bringing it all to you were the kitchen staff; Michael Brendlinger, kitchen team leader, Kyle Wright, Nathaniel Hopkins, Grandson Tom and Dylan Walsh: pasta help outside, Jim Perry and Nick Fay; waiter staff, team leaders Daniel Bailey and Hayden Maclean, Vaughn Nelson-Lee, Josh Nolan, Cameron Toppa and Sam DiGasper; first shift, first-year scouts Paul Zavislak, Ian Archibald, Milo DiGasper, Finn Dwyer, John Waddington and Truman Christie; second shift first year scouts Mason Kelly, Ryan Geib, Mike Pratt, Zachary Neronha, Jim Lowell and Owen Bartline; dessert staff, Eric Archibald, team leader, and Chris Waterman; additional backup, Brian Volpe, Drew Matley and John Chase.

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...............or its lovely promise won't come true.

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The items are rolling in for the live and silent auctions to be held at the 2nd annual Jamestown PTO's Golf Tournament.

Karen Raffanelli reports that donations to date include Red Sox tickets, dinner party for eight from chef Kevin Gaudreau, one week summer camp from Talent Factory, two tickets to a Neil Diamond concert Aug. 23 at Fenway Park, two season passes for the Newport Gulls, and two hours of housecleaning.

The tournament will be played on June 14 at the Jamestown Country Club.

FORE!

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The PTO and Jamestown school on Lawn Avenue are in need of "gently used" tennis rackets for the schools upcoming tennis club. If you've retired from the courts or gave up trying, consider donating your racket and dropping it off at the school.

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A Snapple cap moment: Honeybees are the only insects that create a form of food for humans.

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Memorial Day will be observed on Monday. Please fly your flag.

*** Be True!

*** You can e-mail us at jtnwalrus@ hotmail.com.

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