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About 60 years ago, First Class Seaman Isadore Feldman was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, loading shells into his ships artillery as fellow servicemen shot at the opposing Japanese ships.
At a small ceremony Monday, City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) honored the 81-year-old Flushing resident and former U.S. Navy seaman for the first time since Feldman left his countrys ranks.
Avella presented Feldman with a proclamation from the City Council, praising his contributions to both the nation and his community.
Although he was originally scheduled to receive the honor at a Memorial Day ceremony with two other veterans, Feldman was hospitalized soon before the event and could not attend.
I feel very honored and privileged because last time I was in the hospital, said Feldman, a 20-year member of the Jewish War Veterans.
Positioned next to his ships guns, Feldman said he dealt with near-deafening blasts every time the vessel saw action, but was still able to feed a gun with more than 100 shells during his ships most important battle.
We were in that battle for quite awhile, but we knocked out quite a lot of Japanese fleet, he recalled.
Feldman volunteered for the Navy in September 1942, preferring the sea to the likelihood of being drafted by the Army.
I volunteered for the Navy because I wanted to get a shower, Feldman said. He signed up just in time, too, since he received his Army draft card the day after he enlisted.
After the war, Feldman, originally from the East Side of Manhattan, returned to New York and his girlfriend Sylvia in November 1945. They were married two months later and have been by each others side for the last 56 years, including the last 47 years in Flushing and the ceremony in Avellas office.
When Feldman returned from the Pacific, he was out of a job. He said the government did not do enough to help him then and does not do enough to help veterans today.
I think (veterans) are not treated the way they should be, he said. When I got out, the government did not do much for me.
Eventually Feldman landed in the printing business and started the Merit Printing Company with a friend. The company went bankrupt after awhile, and in order to support his family, which by that time included two daughters, Feldman found himself working for various corporations during the day and the post office at night.
His work day began early in morning and lasted until midnight, giving him little time to spend with his young daughters.
Sylvia brought up the kids by herself, he said.
Now with his daughters fully grown, Feldman is retired, enjoying the numerous benefits provided to former postal workers, he said.
We need to recognize these people who put their lives on the line for our country, and not just on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, Avella said. Without individuals like Izzy, we wouldnt have the great country we have today.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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