Yonkers Desires to Change Casimir Pulaski
Crossway to Vietnam Veterans Highway
Dishonoring One To Honor Others Forsakes Our Ethical Compass, Soils Our Intent, and Reveals Life Lost In Battle Has Been Extinguished In Vain
By Hezi Aris (Yonkers Tribune)
City of Yonkers – Public Notice – Resolution No. 19 – 2015 – “Vietnam Veterans Way”
Public Hearing on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, at 7:30pm, in the City Council Chambers, 40 South Broadway, Yonkers, New York
The Deal is Done; Even Before the Public Has Been Given an Opportunity to Present Their Perspective. Commemoration on Saturday, March 28, 2015 @ 11am
March 23, 2015 UPDATE 9:52am: Yonkers Communications Director Chrintina Gilmartin writes, “Pulaski Crossway is designated by New York State. The City can designate it Vietnam Veterans Way as a City street.”
Albany Legislation Regarding The Pulaski Crossway Dated 1977 Herein
A Public Notice, calling on the public to weigh in on a resolution that “all the portion of the city road system, beginning at the intersection of Yonkers Avenue and Midland Avenue, and continuing in a generally easterly direction on Yonkers Avenue and terminating at the City of Mount Vernon border shall be designated and known as the ‘Vietnam Veterans Way’” has come into question.
New York State Senator John Flynn, representing the 35th District, back in 1977 proposed, and the New York State Legislature approved, the designation of ‘The Pulaski Crossway’ in a subordinate designation along Yonkers Avenue. The proposal is to be brought up at a Public Hearing this Tuesday would have a section of Yonkers Avenue renamed ‘Vietnam Veteran’s Way’. The very proposal conjures up many concerns. The legality and the protocol followed is questioned. Perhaps more importantly is how flippant we have become in bestowing honor among the fallen who have sacrificed their live and on being desirous to bestow honor upon others by negating the honor bestowed upon the first.
The takeaway is agonizingly clear. Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice can be dismissed at any time for not being worthy of remembrance by those who survived horrors too gruesome to admit to ourselves, much less to others, despite being recognized to have honored a nation and its Founding Father George Washington in the creation of these United States.
The fallen, when felled, are silenced. Those who survive war, relive that gruesomeness monotony of the horrors they endured. They do so often in silence and solitude. Some will seemingly adjust to the civility of society, while others cannot. Even those judged well-adjusted cannot reclaim their past; the battlefield has taught them more than they would ever have hoped to know. They cannot expunge the memories of their days at war.
While we take sweet comfort in believing we will be remembered for our contribution to having kept this nation free and strong from harm’s way, it seems incongruous that our service will be erased by the stroke of a pen. We trust in knowing we were worthy to serve when our nation called. Not seeking glory, we do not fathom that our lives will be forsaken by another. Who among us is so Almighty that they may decide to acknowledge one over another. Have we not given enough? Is life deficient in value to satisfy our sacrifice? What more can anyone expect? Is giving one’s life not enough?
We accept that those who love us will remember us for our effort in serving our nation demand of us; our cause. We stepped into battle because we were asked to do so. Many of us believed it was appropriate and right to fight for the freedoms we would come to know, believing them to be our inalienable rights. We also knew that rights demand we step up. And so, many did just that.
Our collective and selective amnesia today speaks ill of our convenient forgetfulness and seemingly hollow pronouncements that not one of us will die in vain.
If it is appropriate to remember those who recently died in battle, is it not also appropriate to remember those who fought to bring our ideals to life by unshackling the chains that imprisoned us before we could win our independence of body, mind, spirit and nationhood?
Who among us can judge those who are worthy of remembrance and those that will be cast aside because we know little of their contribution to this nation and the people who inhabited our lands from sea to shining sea?
Must the fallen take another hit? Is it their fault that we had not mde the time to remember them even after we were told this proposed effort is an egregious, debauched, and not well vetted ?
Do we not dishonor ourselves, as well as those we claim to remember, by choosing to forget those we assert we need not remember?
Condoning passage of Resolution No. 19-2015 serves only those who choose to talk the talk, but not those who have the righteousness to walk the walk. Are we too feeble of mind? Are there none among us who appreciate what is right and what is not?
Can we at least admit to our disingenuousness? If we wish to collectively convey a different demeanor, perhaps we can maintain our honor of Casimir Pulaski from the days that stretch to the American Revolution and the men and women of more recent years whom we may remember personally or by being told of their legacy.
Is our present thinking, coddled by political correctness, so skewed that we dishonor one in favor of others? Are we indeed honoring people who gave their all or are we pandering to “fuzzy feelings” that insinuate themselves into the political discourse to garnish favor among some of our citizenry. Would we be so callous were the “hero” of a different nationality? Would we dare dishonor those of Irish, Italian, Hispanic, African-American, Native American, or any people today, as we have collectively, in protest or in silence, besmirched many in the past and some even to this day? Are we so ignorant that we do not recognize the wrongs of the past? When will we stand tall and true to make corrections for our future sake? Will we continue to forsake our fallen in vain in order to extol those who have spilled their blood in more recent years? Is one valid and the other invalid. Are we “doing the right thing” for us, collectively, or are we pandering for attention to satisfy ourselves because we have the power to do so? When has our conduct revealed our propensity to be nothing more than exhibitionist? How much attention will we gain by overriding our past?
If today, we can relegate the likes of Pulaski to the scrapheap, are we assured those so deserving and known to us today will not meet the same fate when politics will insinuate itself into an equation to which it should not be permitted to tread.
There are solutions to this dilemma of our making. Central Avenue is one of the most travelled thoroughfares in Yonkers. Relegating a section to the heroes who fell in defense of the Nation when so called, would embellish rather than detract from our intention to honor, as opposed to honor some, as we dishonor others and ourselves, by our lack of collective sensitivity. Tuckahoe Road is equally an honorable venue for those who fell for the red, white and blue.
The Sage referred to as Hillel the Righteous, would after 40 years at his birthplace in Babylon move to Jerusalem during the time of King Herod and the Roman Emperor Augustus, likely spanning the time from 30 before the Common Era to 10 of the Common Era. He is popularly known as the author of two sayings worthy of reflection on this very issue:
“If I am not for myself who is for me? And being for my own self, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”
“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah (Bible); the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”
Casimir Pulaski was born on March 6, 1745, in the manor house of the Pulaski family in Warsaw, Poland. He gained a reputation on the battlefield in various arenas in Europe. Pulaski was recruited by the Marquis de Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin (whom he met in spring 1777) for service in the American Revolutionary War.
Franklin was impressed by Pulaski, and wrote of him: “Count Pulaski of Poland, an officer famous throughout Europe for his bravery and conduct in defense of the liberties of his country against the three great invading powers of Russia, Austria and Prussia … may be highly useful to our service.” He subsequently recommended that General George Washington accept Pulaski as a volunteer in the Continental Army cavalry and said that Pulaski “was renowned throughout Europe for the courage and bravery he displayed in defense of his country’s freedom.” Pulaski departed France in June, arriving near Boston, on July 23, 1777. After his arrival, Pulaski wrote to Washington, “I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.
His first military engagement against the British occurred on September 11, 1777, at the Battle of Brandywine. When the Continental Army troops began to yield, he reconnoitered with Washington’s bodyguard of about 30 men, and reported that the enemy were endeavoring to cut off the line of retreat. Washington ordered him to collect, as many as possible, the scattered troops who came his way, and employ them according to his discretion to secure the retreat of the army. His subsequent charge averted a disastrous defeat of the Continental Army cavalry, earning him fame in America and saved the life of George Washington. As a result, on September 15, 1777, on the orders of Congress, Washington made Pulaski a brigadier general in the Continental Army cavalry.
Pulaski joined forces with General Lachlan McIntosh with French assistance in the battle for Savannah, George were he was wounded. Pulaski was carried from the field of battle and taken aboard the privateer merchant brigantine Wasp, where he died two days later, having never regained consciousness. His death, perceived by American Patriot supporters as heroic, further boosted his reputation in America.
He has been remembered as a hero who fought for independence and freedom both in Poland and in the United States. Numerous places and events are named in his honor, and he is commemorated by many works of art. Pulaski is one of only eight people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship.
Albany Legislation Regarding The Pulaski Crossway Dated 1977
Nepperhan arterial, with that portion beginning at a connection to South Broadway thence continuing to the connection of the Pulaski Crossway designated as a portion of the Pulaski Crossway in the vicinity of Nepperhan Avenue, thence continuing northerly on or in the vicinity of Nepperhan Avenue, and new location to Saw Mill River Road in the vicinity of Tuckahoe Road, including a connection to Roberts Avenue, thence northerly on or in the vicinity of Saw Mill River Road to the northerly city line, state highway one thousand one hundred sixty-seven. Approximate length 4.1 miles.
Pulaski Crossway arterial, from a point on the Nepperhan arterial to be determined by the Commissioner of Transportation, thence generally easterly on or in the vicinity of Yonkers Avenue and new location to the east city line connecting to an arterial highway in Mt. Vernon. Approximate length 3.0 miles.
Central Park Avenue arterial, from a point on Pulaski Crossway arterial to be determined by the Commissioner of Transportation, thence generally northerly on or in the vicinity of Central Park Avenue to state highway five thousand two hundred thirty-one. Approximate length 5.1 miles.
Tuckahoe Road arterial, from a point on the Nepperhan arterial, to be determined by the Commissioner of Transportation, thence easterly on or in the vicinity of Tuckahoe Road to a point on Central Park Avenue arterial, to be determined by the Commissioner of Transportation. Approximate length 1.7 miles.
Riverdale arterial, beginning at the New York City-Yonkers city line, in the vicinity of Riverdale Avenue, thence on or in the vicinity of Riverdale Avenue to the vicinity of Main Street, including a connection to the Nepperhan arterial. Approximate length 1.7 miles.
Reprinted with permission from Hezi Aris (Yonkers Tribune)