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Hopatcong Residents on Mission to Honor Soldiers

Four Vietnam Vets march in three parades.

It was a mission close to Mike Rahill Sr.'s heart.

Rahill, a Vietnam War veteran and Hopatcong resident, and three friends spent the weekend honoring military servicemen for Memorial Day. The foursome hit the borough's parade Saturday before attending Blairstown's Sunday and Roxbury's Monday.

"It means a lot," said Rahill, 64, who brought his 1970 Jeep Kaiser M35A—known in military parlance as a deuce and a half—to each parade.

Rahill, Jeffrey Wojciechowski, 62, of Hopatocong; Frank Malone, 61, of Lake Hopatcong; and Frank Arminio, 65, of Lake Hopatcong; are part of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 327, which meets in Kenvil once a month. Rahill said the members of VVA don't discuss the war during meetings.

"No, we don't go back," Rahill said. "We don't talk about it. At something like [a parade], we'll talk about it. But we don't rehash everything."

Instead, Rahill said, the members talk about who they're going to help next. Rahill said the members travel once a month to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Lyons to bring former soldiers meals. They also make donations, Rahill said.

"If one of our members need help with oil or something, we'll put together money for that," he said.

Rahill said that Vietnam veterans live by the phrase: "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."

Hopatcong Councilman Mike Francis said Vietnam vets deserve more respect.

"It was a bad war. A controversial war," Francis said. "And those folks who went out there and gave up their lives and limbs never got the proper recognition. They came home not as heroes. They came home as villains and that was just because of the way our society had become.

"Still, they went out there and made the ultimate sacrifice, and it's about time we started recognizing that. It's never too late."

Leon Hoffacker June 01, 2011 at 10:31 PM
31 May 2011 10:02 PM Quote Reply Alert We The "Patriot Guard Riders" have been asked to stand and escort Cpl. Paul "Buddy" Miller to his well deserved place of rest.  The request I received was:      "I am a funeral director at the Lever-Lakeside Funeral Home in Landing, NJ (Roxbury Twp. - Morris County).  On May 25, 2011 my father in law passed away and my facility will be handling his funeral.  He was a Purple Heart recipient in the USMC serving in Vietnam from 1966-68.  He also LOVED riding his Harley Davidson Road King.  I was hoping for some direction from you for an escort for his funeral procession on Friday June 3, 2011.      Respectfully,                   Michael J. Cinotti After speaking to Mike. He assured me that there will be a police escort, so anyone wishing to escort will have no trouble following the police. Friday, 3 June:  9:00am flag line at: Leber-Lakeside Funeral Home 150 Landing Road Landing, NJ 07850 10:00am service followed by escort to:  Stanhope Union Cemetery Junction of Love Lane & Continental Dr N Stanhope, NJ
Leon Hoffacker June 01, 2011 at 10:40 PM
Correction. I, Leon is not the relative to Buddy. I believe it is Mr. Sinotti. Comment was copied from the PGR site & edited. Please visit this site now & often. Patriot Guard Riders.com

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