Could you imagine Evan Stavisky driving a tank? Many Queens elected officials support military service, but no one is a real combat vet.
Everyone seems to dance around Memorial and Veterans day, but who really spent there formative years in the military or at an upstate college with beer slides sitting Indian style and smoking pot? A generation ago everyone would have served, nowadays the party machine boasts that Ed Braunstein sat on the Community Board for a year. My how things have changed.
Long ago, military service was a badge of honor for elected officials but today you’ll be hard pressed to find a combat veteran in the Queens Delegation. Dan Halloran comes really close, he completed ROTC training and he was an Eagle Scout, which is like a Green Beret when compared to some of the other guys. Tony Avella honors Veterans every month, much to his credit, and Rory Lancman served in the Army as an officer.
It’s a frightening prospect. Just think about fighting in a hole for 30 days with Bart Haggerty and Vince Tabone right next to you, or picture Eric Ulrich swabbing the poopdecks off of Jamaica Bay. Imagine Tom Ognibene throwing himself on a hand grenade to save Phil Ragusa. Or try storming a hill with Leroy Comrie. Peter Vallone does a 5-mile PT workout in Astoria park every morning, while Private Silverstein thumps his chest and proclaims, “I got me
4 two years on state committee so far.” But, to Matt’s credit, he works for America Works, finding employment for Veterans.
Jerry Iannece talked about being chairman of the Community Board like he’s Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John Duane, a former Assembly Member, was on the record as a conscientious objector. All things considered, the thought of Toby Stavisky as a paratrooper jumping out of a plane into Citi field is disturbing.
Some of the biggest political takedowns were against vets. Frank Padavan is a former Colonel and Serphin Maltese served in the Korean War. Hiram Monserratte and Tony Seminerio were veterans too. I don’t know, but I worked on Elio Forcina’s campaign, and he served in the Marine Corps and I couldn’t imagine him storming anything other than a warehouse of Krispy Kreme donuts with Rob Sperenza taking the flank.
Nonetheless, on this day I honor combat Vets like my Grandfather who stormed the beaches of Normandy with my Uncle Vito. They shared a foxhole and had a dozen confirmed Nazi kills under their belt. They traveled all the way into the beating heart of Europe to slay a dictatorship and came home heroes. Yours truly has always wanted to serve as well, I even signed myself up when I was 17 for the Marines, but the Sarge tore up my paperwork when he found out I’m diabetic.
There are some really great apples in the bunch that take care of vets and this article is not meant to diminish their efforts. Laugh a little.
Some words from my friend Bill reminded me that while no politicians are on the frontlines of war, there are those who support our troops in other noble ways.
“They also serve who only stand and wait….and work, pray and fast for peace, who see to it that those that come back wounded receive the care they deserve, who hire a vet….and who not only today but throughout the year show gratitude to those who fought to keep us free,” he wrote.
A big shout-out to my friend Gary Pace who is in Quantico Bay training for the Marine Corps Reserves as we speak.
If you know of any elected officials from Queens that served in the military email us. Info@queens-politics.com
Happy Veterans Day