To the Editor:
I had the good fortune of meeting Jackie George, Esquire, tour coordinator, as well as Glen Flora, commander and founder of the Joyce-Herbert V.F.W. Post 226 Veterans Museum, located at 16 West Ninth Street, some time ago. During our discussions, I was invited to visit the Veterans’ Museum, which they and Senior Vice Commander and curator Joseph Kennedy began in 2006. I was told that the museum contained artifacts from all the wars the United States’ military had participated in, so that individuals such as myself could enjoy the freedoms of life, liberty, equality, justice and peace in the U.S.
At that time, I told them I had a photograph of my wonderful and beloved father, Michael Ottilio, an MP (military police) in World War II, which I treasured. Commander Flora stated that if I provided the photograph, my father’s photograph would be placed in the museum. I thanked him and planned on seeing the museum soon.
Finally, on July 17, I traveled to Bayonne and discovered that I had underestimated the enormous treasures and contents of the museum. Every inch of the museum provided a history of various wars, military battles, uniforms, bullets, original peace documents signed, for example, by General MacArthur. Little did I know that Commander Flora had a gift of explaining each artifact in such explicit detail that I felt that I was present at the war, and knew each and every soldier that either gave their life and/or was honored at the museum. I also learned that Ms. George devoted her time to scheduling student, youth and community groups, and also taught about the great sacrifices of our soldiers.
As I was listening to the stories of our veterans’ great sacrifices, I walked past a glass showcase and at eye level, I was shaken to see my father’s photograph, labeled “Michael Ottilio, World War II, Military Police.”
This letter is written with sincere appreciation for honoring the best father in the world. Visit and/or donate any military memorabilia or money, as upon seeing the museum, you will be convinced of all the blessings that we have in the United States of America. Museum hours are Saturdays from 12 to 4 p.m.
Thank you Pop, and God bless America.
If anyone who served with my father would like to contact me, my phone number is (201) 816-1187.
CATHERINE OTTILIO-MAGGIO, ESQ.