A snowy 100th Veterans Day in Brighton and the Battle of the Bulge

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Brighton Veterans Memorial 11/11/19 [Photo: David Kramer]

Jim Vogel outside the Brookside Elementary on Election Day and at the Brighton Little League Parade. From Why I voted for Adam Bello and a trip down Talker political memory lane, 2015 - 2019

Jim Vogel outside the Brookside Elementary on Election Day and at the Brighton Little League Parade. From Why I voted for Adam Bello and a trip down Talker political memory lane, 2015 – 2019

Today, on a snowy celebration of the 100th Veterans Day, much of the program was dedicated to a Remembrance of Colonel James R. Vogel USMR and Member of the Brighton Town Board who worked tireless to move the Memorial and its majestic Eagle from a vision into a reality.

Congressman Joe Morelle [Photo: David Kramer]

Congressman Joe Morelle and Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle [Photo: David Kramer]

Congressman Joe Morelle praised Jim’s persistence. Joe told his staff that when Jim came to help the people of Brighton, just save time and give him what he wants.

Adam Bello [From his website]

Monroe County Clerk and Monroe County Executive-elect Adam Bello and Bill Moehle [From Bello’s County Clerk’s facebook page]

Monroe County Clerk and Monroe County Executive-elect Adam Bello recounted how Jim had a saying for everything. Once, Jim told Adam that a task force Adam managed “worked harder than a one armed paper hanger.” To this day, Adam is not sure what that means, but he guessed the task force worked really hard.

Adam and Joe Morelle. See Why I voted for Adam Bello and a trip down Talker political memory lane, 2015 - 2019

Adam and Joe Morelle.

With snow covering the streets and a winter storm warning in effect, initially I hesitated attending the ceremony.  Nonetheless, I pulled the winter clothes out of the closet and marched over to the Eagle.  I wanted to remember Jim, but I also went for the memory of long time Brightonian Tom Hope, a World War Two veteran.

Photo of Tom during his Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. with his son Vince. Honor Flight® Rochester Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue December 2014

Tom Hope (right) during his Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. with his son Vince. Honor Flight® Rochester Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue December 2014

I met Tom at the Jewish Community Center maybe ten years ago. In his late 80s, Tom was still swimming at least three days a week.  In the locker room, Tom told me of his experiences in the Battle of the Bulge. Tom vividly described the bitter cold and deep snow in the Ardennes. The men shivered the night away in foxholes only awakening to a day’s fighting in sometimes blizzard conditions.

Crosses mark the graves of American and German soldiers killed early in the Battle of the Bulge. See The Bulge and Rochester seventy-four years later

Crosses mark the graves of American and German soldiers killed early in the Battle of the Bulge. From The Battle of the Bulge: World War II (Time Life Books, 1979)

Tom also explained the Veterans Memorial project. Like Jim, Tom was instrumental in making the site happen. Tom suggested I attend one of the project’s planning meetings.  As Jim outlined the vision of the project, I sensed the final product would be something special. And it is.

If Tom Hope could fight for freedom through a blizzard in the Belgium woods, I could make to the Memorial through an afternoon snowfall.

Spine, front and left from The Battle of the Bulge: World War II (Time Life Books, 1979) by William K. Goolrick and Ogden Tanner. Photo: George Silk for LIFE. Caption: “The body of an American soldier killed during the Battle of the Bulge is carried from a snowy Ardennes field by German prisoners. The six week battle — the biggest in Western Europe during the Second World War — claimed more than 180,000 American and German casualties.” From The Bulge and Rochester seventy-four years later

Spine, back and front covers from The Battle of the Bulge: World War II (Time Life Books, 1979) by William K. Goolrick and Ogden Tanner. Photo: George Silk for LIFE. Caption: “The body of an American soldier killed during the Battle of the Bulge is carried from a snowy Ardennes field by German prisoners. The six week battle — the biggest in Western Europe during the Second World War — claimed more than 180,000 American and German casualties.” [Scanned courtesy of the Brighton Memorial Library] From The Bulge and Rochester seventy-four years later

SEE ALSO The Bulge and Rochester seventy-four years later

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Ontario Beach Park – Battle of the Bulge Memorial, Charlotte, NY, December 16th, 2018; (left) Dean Tucker [Photo: David Kramer]; (right) David Kramer [Photo: Dean Tucker]

SEE ALSO Veterans Day in Brighton

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Four Brighton High School graduates killed in Vietnam. The Walk on Honor at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park. 11/09/18. [Photo: David Kramer]

See also on another Brighton, Edward R. Crone Jr. who also fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Crone was captured and died in a German hospital shortly before the war ended. He became the model for Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.

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(left) Edward R. Crone Jr., Brighton High School Crossroads yearbook, 1941. Held at and scanned courtesy of Brighton Memorial Library; (right) Crone’s gravesite in Mt. Hope Cemetery, 12/15/18 [Photo: David Kramer]