On Saturday, November 15, 2014, St. John held its Fourth Annual Veterans Night Dinner to honor those from our community who have served their nation in uniform. Approximately 70 guests, including 16 Veterans, enjoyed a delicious made-from-scratch lasagna dinner prepared by Choir Director Linda Lester, Arlene Barber and Christina Ardemis. The Hall was decorated beautifully with patriotism in mind by Helen Manougian, whose table centerpieces contained our American flag.
Korean War veteran Ed Barber introduced a guest whose organization, the Rainbow Girls, will teach us next year not only how properly to fold the flag, but also what each fold of the flag means. They were followed by parishioner Greg Nemet who described the immense suffering of the citizens of the Armenian Republic during World War II, which is known there and throughout the former Soviet Union as “The Great Patriotic War.” Tiny Armenia, with a population of only about 1.2 Million at the time, lost at least 250,000 men and women under arms – about 20 per cent of the overall population. By way of illustration, the United States, with a population of 139 Million, lost about 400,000 of her precious sons and daughters during the war – less than ½ of one per cent of the overall population.
Each year, St. John selects a veteran’s charity to which we make a donation from the dinner proceeds and donations we receive. For 2014, we will help the Chaplaincy Program of the Armenian Church in Armenia. The brave and selfless Chaplains, all of whom are ordained, serve shoulder to shoulder with the soldiers who daily protect the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh from the aggression and murder committed with impunity by Azeri forces. Armenian soldiers have access to few if any benefits during and after their time of service. As explained by Father Mesrob, the Chaplains provide the sacraments, they exemplify unselfish service to the nation, and they provide needed practical help for the families of serving military members.
Anyone wishing to help the Chaplaincy Program should send a check to St. John in any amount, with the words “Chaplaincy Program” in the memo section of the check.
See you at next year’s Veterans Dinner on Saturday, November 14, 2015!