I would like to publicly acknowledge VFW Commander Glen Flora and his staff, Joe Kennedy and my lifelong friend, Mark Giannullo, for sharing their war experiences so profoundly during my students’ recent visit to the Post. They have created an educational gem on Ninth Street in Bayonne. After visiting on my own, I suggested this as an optional interview skills activity.
The museum, which faces Ninth Street in a brown building with an American flag outside, is only open on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The students learned a valuable lesson about sacrifice and patriotism. I have often spoken of my own mother’s service. The students located her picture with her twin brother, Hubert Sharkey, on his P.T. boat, being honored by Eleanor Roosevelt. Now, the students understand.
The individual 8 x 10 portraits of the service men and women from Bayonne are spectacular. We knew many of the faces. During the visit, Glen and his staff dressed the students in helmets and actually showed them how to hold rifles. World War II wheelchair-bound visitors spoke about the horror of war and their deep sense of national pride. All veterans graciously answered questions and became visibly moved while remembering their war buddies. The father of one of my students actually joined the Post during his visit. He is a Vietnam Vet who will now be afforded a place to talk to other veterans and gain legal and medical advice. Additionally, his son joined the Marines recently. I urge all citizens to view this wonderful exhibit. Families have donated pictures, uniforms, medals, love letters, telegrams, weapons, and army food – military-issued artifacts that one only sees in the movies. The veterans spent hours just talking and showing the students each and every corner of that museum. The boys recorded their visit and held the rest of the class mesmerized on Monday.
Thank you again, Commander Glen Flora and staff, for your creativity, your hard work, your time, and most of all, for sacrificing your lives. I hope that our BHS students returning from Iraq will seek and find solace in these three wonderful men at the war museum on Ninth Street.
DONNA HURLEY ZERVOULIS
Daughter of 2nd Lt. Ann Sharkey Hurley, WWII Army Nursing Corps.