GENERALLY SPEAKING: Memorial Tribute to America’s First POW’s

August 24, 2011 Theodore W. General
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The Society of Old Brooklynites will hold its 103rd MemorialTribute to the Prison Ship Martyrs on Saturday, August 27 at 10a.m. at the base of the 149-foot tall Prison Ship Martyrs Monumentin Fort Greene Park.

The keynote speaker will be distinguished Brooklyn Collegehistory professor Edwin Burrows, a Pulitzer Prize award-winningwriter and the author of The Forgotten Patriots. The actual remainsof 11,500 sailors and soldiers are entombed in a crypt below thistowering monument, making this sacred ground, the largest AmericanRevolutionary burial site in the Tri-State area. These ceremoniesare also in conjunction with the 235th anniversary of the Battle ofBrooklyn (aka the Battle of Long Island), the largest and bloodiestbattle of the American Revolution.

The program will include a maritime piping exercise where thedeceased patriots, America’s first POWs, are piped in spirit aboardthe British prison ships they were incarcerated on and onceassembled, are saluted for their gallantry, refusal to swearallegiance to the Crown, and their ultimate sacrifice. Then Tapswill be rendered, a ship’s bell tolls and these unsung heroes arepiped ashore back to their eternal rest!

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In addition to a wreath laying, Brother Becket Ryan from OurLady of Angels Parish will perform the invocation, and Bay RidgeiteMichael Spinner, an area business leader, will once again emcee theprogram. Helping to coordinate the event will be Marty Maher, asociety member, Coast Guard veteran and chief of staff to theBrooklyn parks commissioner.

With the recent death of Theresa Rosen, the acting president ofthe Society of Old Brooklynites is former New York CityCommissioner Myrtle Whitmore. The event is open to the public andvisitors should enter Fort Greene Park, at DeKalb Avenue and FortGreene Place, across from Brooklyn Tech High School.

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On Saturday, August 20 at 10 a.m., the Michael J. RawleyAmerican Legion Post #1636 and the Brooklyn Irish American ParadeCommittee will hold their annual Maryland 400 Commemoration, at theRawley Post’s rear yard, on Eighth Street just off Third Avenue.The Maryland Militia Unit engaged the British forces at the OldStone House, along the Gowanus Creek and in the vicinity of wherethe present day Rawley Post is located.

During the fierce siege, 400 Maryland soldiers died and manyothers were wounded. General George Washington, viewing the outcomefrom a Brooklyn fort, according to historical documents is quotedas having said, Good God! What brave fellows I must this daylose. Immediately following the ceremonies, the group willassemble and march to the Old Stone House, at Third Street andFifth Avenue where additional remembrances will take place.

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I’m sure we all appreciate the efforts by our local electedofficials to try and save the Ovington, Sunset and Brighton Postalsub-stations, but with the bleak news coming out of Washington fromthe U.S. Postal Service it’s going to be quite a challenge.

The Postal Service recently announced a loss of $8.5 billion in2010, and that the volume of mail has continued to drop for thelast four years. Since the Postal Service is mandated to operate asa self-sustaining, independent federal agency, it is not eligiblefor public funding.

As a result, the service is looking to close thousands of smallpost offices across the country and cut 120,000 jobs. At the sametime, the USPS has been authorizing what they call Approved PostalProviders where postal consumers can purchase stamps and get otherservices. Locally, they include TD Bank, Walgreen’s, CVS, Staples,Ridgewood Savings, Costco and package shipping stores, to name afew.

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A hearty welcome to Bay Ridge, to Reverend David Sibley, the newrector at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 99th Street and FortHamilton Parkway. Also known as the Church of the Generals, it isone of the oldest churches in southwest Brooklyn. The senior churchwarden is Andrew Windsor, a union business manager, and pastpresident of the Bay Ridge Community Council.

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Brooklyn’s Cathedral Club is getting ready for its 2011 GolfClassic on Monday, September 12, at the Battleground Country Clubin Tennent, New Jersey. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., tee offat 8:45 a.m. For reservations, sponsorships and additionalinformation, contact former Cathedral Club president Frank Keatingat 646-591-1206. Michael Perrette is the current clubpresident.

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To reach Ted General via the Internet, his e-mail addressis:

[email protected]


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