Today’s news:

Neighbor to Neighbor: Queens Farm Museum to hold Civil War event

As individuals and as a nation, each year on Memorial Day we pause to publicly remember and show appreciation for members of the U.S. armed forces whose lives were sacrificed to preserve our country and our way of life. We should do that every day, at least privately.

We have often heard that “War is hell,” but unless we have actually been a participant, we can only imagine what it is really like. Community Board 13’s May 24 edition of its newsletter, “The Sentinel,” tells us there will be an opportunity to turn back the pages of history to a time before technology recorded every nuance of war.

The War Between the States, the Civil War, was a bitter battle that pitted brother against brother and took a tremendous toll on American life. A re-enactment of that war is scheduled to take place at the Queens County Farm Museum at 73-50 Little Neck Parkway on June 12 and June 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Today T.V. has invaded every battlefield, giving no one privacy in pain and making the reality of war seem to some like a Hollywood production. We did not ask for this war against terrorism; it charged at us out of the sky on a beautiful day and set the course of “them or us.” Have you forgotten? If not, are you preparing to help yourself, those about whom you care and this country?

We should all act on the good advice from the Office of Emergency Management. We should also realize that there is a possibility of another draft. If that does come to pass, the Draft Board will need volunteer appeals judges. What part will you be willing to play?

Having lived through World War II, I can remember that everyone wanted to contribute positively in some way. We need that same esprit de corps again. Remember, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

We still have not completely won the war against crime partly, I think, because so many people have been unwilling to share their knowledge or suspicions of criminal activity with law-enforcement authorities. It is not too late. Please report any kind of suspicious activity and do something to support the brave people who are trying so hard to protect us.

The United Spinal Association, which originally only helped veterans with disabilities, has for some time assisted civilians as well. Talk about spirit! From May 13 to May 16 some of the group’s wheelchair-bound veterans participated in the Jana Hunsaker Memorial Wheelchair Tennis Tournament in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Some of them participate in other sports as well, such as fishing, bowling, etc.

Unfortunately, the bowling alley at our own St. Albans Veterans Administration Hospital has been inaccessible to them due to structural damage. In the April issue of “Orbit,” a publication of the United Spinal Association, which has offices in Jackson Heights, there was an article about a visit to the Edward R. Murrow High School by United Spinal’s assistant for special projects, Victor Calise, to speak to students with disabilities.

That school has 450 students with disabilities, and about 20 percent of them use wheelchairs, according to the article. Calise is a member of several United Spinal wheelchair sports teams himself and was able to add some first-hand interest to a video he showed them that included clips from wheelchair softball, basketball and tennis.

He also spoke with them about his own bicycle injury, his lifestyle and his adaptive sports experience, as well as the Paralympics for skilled athletes with disabilities. That event takes place every four years after the Olympics.

“Calise was a member of the 1998 U.S. Sled Hockey team, which competed in the Nagano, Japan Paralympics,” the “Orbit” article stated. Further information about this subject may be obtained by contacting Mary Kate Carew, assistant public affairs officer, United Spinal Association, c/o Orbit Editor, 75-20 Astoria Blvd., Jackson Heights, N.Y. 11370-1177.

If you would like to participate in a program “Orbit” calls the “Wounded Warrior Backpack Program,” you should go to www.vetsfirst.org or call 800-404-2898 and ask for the membership department, or call John Melia at 540-342-0032.

To contribute to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund for Children of Slain Service People, please write to 22570 Markey Court, Suite 240, Dulles, Va. 20166, or call 800-329-5454.

Let’s all work together to help make this a nicer, safer world. Thank you.

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