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Saluting Our War Heroes

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Saluting Our War Heroes

Brian Mennes has been a competitor his whole life, whether it was on the athletic fields at Sweet Home High School or on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. Recently promoted to major general and working at the Pentagon, Mennes recalls his father asking him about his college plans in 1983 when he was a junior at Sweet Home. "I went to my guidance counselor, Mr.…

Saluting Our War Heroes

At 17 years old, Ralph A. Woodard requested permission to join the Navy early and fight in World War II. His parents promptly denied his request. "They thought I was too young and didn't want me to go in if I didn't have to," said Woodard, who was a senior at Kensington High School. So he found another way to help in the war effort with fellow students: selling wa…

Saluting Our War Heroes

When Dave Trageser was a teenager, his father had a big job at Bethlehem Steel – assistant superintendent of the coke ovens in Lackawanna. That meant Trageser's dad could afford some of the better things in life. For his son, it meant an education at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. After graduation, he might have even landed a job that would put him on track to becom…

Featured

All five served their country during a time of war. Four came home. One didn’t. And one returned only to battle the demons of war before taking his own life. Ceremonies taking place across the Buffalo region over the long Memorial Day weekend got an early start at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park with a Wall of Honor ceremony on Saturday. …

Local News

A gallery of 11 banners saluting military veterans was posted this week at the North Tonawanda Farmers Market at Robinson Street and Payne Avenue. Mayor Arthur G. Pappas said the Hometown Heroes banners include one honoring Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Timothy G. Serwinowski, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. The American Legion's Sikora Post chose some Wor…

Saluting Our War Heroes

Two decades ago, World War II Army veteran Don Weimer began writing poems about the war. Such verse, the bard says, helped him put his military service in perspective and better understand the trials of his fellow soldiers. One of his poems about a vet who received a "Dear John" letter, Weimer said, represents what sometimes happened when soldiers went off to war: The g…

Erie County

Paul Woods had it tough as a boy growing up in Alabama. He was 7 when his father died in July 1930. A month later, his mother died. "My uncle came to my mother's gravesite and took me to his farm," Woods said of how he came to work on his uncle's 500-acre spread in Sulligent, Ala. As the years passed, Woods said he dreamed of "seeing the other side of the world." …

Local News

After Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Gwendolyn Hawkins-Rutledge received orders that she was headed to the first Gulf War. She had entered the Navy on a whim when she was 18 and never expected that she would have to fight in a war. Complicating matters when she was told to prepare for Operation Desert Storm was the fact that her husband, als…

Saluting Our War Heroes

As far back as Edwin L. Garris can remember, he wanted to be a soldier. Brotherly influence played a role. The youngest of seven children, Garris'  four brothers all served in the military. Determined to follow in their footsteps, he signed up for delayed entry into the Army during his senior year at Kensington High School. "I had two brothers in the Army, one bro…

Saluting Our War Heroes

Nine miles out at sea when an atomic bomb ignited at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, 19-year-old Frank G. Buzzelli watched as the mushroom cloud swelled above the tiny island's lagoon. He and other sailors aboard the Navy's USS Mount McKinley were given sunglasses and told to turn their backs. "They told us to close our eyes, but I still saw a flash of light when …

Saluting Our War Heroes

For Teddy Bucki and other Marines, it was a job just getting onto the beaches to fight the enemy at Iwo Jima. The first challenge occurred with their transfer from the bigger troop ships to the smaller landing crafts tossed about in rough seas. "We were each wearing two backpacks, one hooked to the other, and we had our rifles. We climbed down rope ladders and had to…

Saluting Our War Heroes

At a time when peace, love and flower power were taking root in young people in the 1960s, Daniel M. Perlinger said he was an angry young man. "And that's putting it mildly," the 69-year-old combat Marine added. At 16 years old from South Buffalo, he signed up for the Marine Corps knowing it would be his ticket to Vietnam. He says he did not know much about life at t…

Saluting Our War Heroes

When the Cold War was heating up with fear of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, many Americans had constructed backyard bomb shelters in the hopes of surviving. Bob M. Manke, who grew up in Kenmore, shared those same worries of possible nuclear annihilation, but from a different vantage point. He was at the bottom of the Earth living in bu…

History

A conversation about women's role in military forces will is scheduled for 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Buffalo History Museum. Women from the Niagara Falls International Airport Air Reserve Station, American Gold Star Mothers and Veterans One-stop Center of WNY will share their experiences. Discussion points will include the role of women in active duty, especially…