For myself, getting my tribute for the World War II veterans on the front page, was a big deal. I was to learn that some of the people of my old hometown did not really appreciate the tribute at all.
To Honor World War II Veterans
By Richard Mabey Jr.
The journey to truth can be a painful path at times. For myself, I was to experience a certain pain and hurt, after I accomplished a major achievement back in March of 2004. My tribute to the World War II veterans was placed on the front page of the prestigious Life and Leisure regional weekly newspaper. But, alas, not everyone in my old hometown was happy about my milestone.
As a background note, Life and Leisure is one of the single best regional weekly newspapers in all of New Jersey. It has a circulation of well over 55,000 copies, for each printing. It is circulated in 13 towns, which is a huge chunk of northeast New Jersey. These are the towns that it reaches out to: Bloomingdale, Butler, Fairfield, Kinnelon, Lincoln Park, Montville, Pequannock, Pompton Plains, Pompton Lakes, Riverdale, Smoke Rise, Towaco and Wayne. Quite a circulation, to say the least.
A close up of the banner of page one of Life and Leisure newspaper shows the many towns where this great weekly regional newspaper is circulated.
To my surprise, my tribute article for the World War II veterans ended up bringing a certain amount of emotional hurt to me. I just didn’t see it coming. I remember this so very well. I was standing at the deli, at the grocery store in Lincoln Park. I was waiting for my number to be called. When an old friend came around the corner and saw me. I smiled and said hello. Right away I could tell this old friend was upset with me.
It cannot be denied, the men and women who fought in World War II are a special breed.
Well, long story short, this old friend read me the riot act for focusing on World War II veterans in my tribute article. He let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I should have written a tribute article that honored all of the veterans of the good old U S of A.
To honor the veterans of World War II, does not mean one is dishonoring the veterans of other wars.
I tried to explain to my friend that it was not my purpose to ignore our other veterans. I then further explained that it just seemed that we were losing so many of our World War II veterans, that it only seemed right and proper to play tribute to their selfless service. My friend left me with this question, “yea, yea, and you thought it would be okay to snub all the other American vets?” Before I could reply, my old friend walked away, pushing his grocery cart.
The bravery of the World War II veterans must never be forgotten.
Sadly, my old friend was not the only person of my old hometown who criticized my tribute article. When all the dust was settled, a lot of criticism was thrown at me about my article playing tribute to the World War II vets. But, such is life.
There are times when we need to question where we are in life.
I began to question and wonder if perhaps the time had come to say goodbye to my dear old Mayberry. Things were changing and rapidly. The farms and woods were disappearing right before everyone’s eyes. Condominiums and big mansion homes were popping up all over. The feel of the town was changing. And, alas, the people of my old Mayberry were not quite as kind as I once remembered them being.
The emptiness of the lonely feeling can leave one’s heart center feeling so hollow.
There was a certain loneliness and sadness to this realization. It hit me hard. To write an article playing tribute to the World War II veterans should not have resulted in as much harsh criticism. Sadly, the majority of that criticism was coming from people I knew and respected, from my old hometown.
Life ain’t always fair. People can be cruel. But truly, with all this progress that is supposed to be so great, what price is it costing the American small town? Perhaps, sadly, hearts are growing a bit colder. Perhaps, words spoken to one another are not as kind as they once were, from a time gone by? Perhaps, we are too quick to criticize others in this modern era? Perhaps, all of this progress, is not necessarily always the best thing.