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VFW Auxiliary decorates veterans' memorial in Walnutport park

  • Faith and Robert Ohl placed flags in the military holders. They are the Poppy queen and king.
    Faith and Robert Ohl placed flags in the military holders. They are the Poppy queen and king.
Published June 05. 2012 05:01PM

The Ladies Auxiliary to R. W. Fritzinger VFW Post 7215, Walnutport, decorated with flags and flowers the veterans' memorial in the park.

Large trees wore ribbons and flower pots and a wreath were placed in front of the memorial.

Faith and Robert Ohl, the Poppy queen and king, placed flags in the military holders.

The United States and Missing in Action flags were replaced by new ones.

Chaplain Sue Bortz said a prayer for the military: "Preserve them from danger upon the sea, land and in the air from the violence of the enemy that they may safeguard our country."

The Auxiliary had guests in the persons of Simon Jr. and Sr. Bandzi, the second and third generation of a military family.

Joseph Bandzi was in the cavalry during World War I when horses were still in use and the Kaiser led the German people.

Simon Bandzi Sr. was in the Army. He was trained as a medic and participated in the invasion of Normandy at Omaha Beach and later the Battle of the Bulge.

He traveled with Gen. George Patton's troops all the way to Berlin.

He said during the landing he had to help pull men out of the water because the tide was coming in. He only had 50 morphine tablets and could have used many times that number because so many people got hurt.

The Germans captured a lot of soldiers and took their uniforms to disguise themselves.

The Germans were on the cliffs and shot downward. The Allies could not communicate with the ships that were bringing men over from England because they were using different frequencies.

Bandzi also worked with an anti-aircraft unit.

Simon still has his Eisenhower jacket with some of the patches he received each time he transferred to a new unit.

"We called Eisenhower a groundhog because his headquarters was underground," said Simon.

Simon Bandzi Jr. went to boot camp at Fort Jackson, S.C. and then on to school at Fort Monmouth, N.J., where he became a member of the Army Signal Corps. He was an E5 Specialist in Vietnam. His deployment was to be one year but he was asked to extend because he was familiar with the area, a useful quality for people in communications. There were only 28 in his unit and they camped in the mountains because the height gave better radio contact.

He said he saw Bob Hope and escorted Gypsy Rose Lee when she came to visit the troops.

Simon's brother, Steven Bandzi, was stationed in California with the Marines and was shipped to Grenada.

Carol Resh, a Gold Star mother, is part of the Wreaths Across America organization. She said people left Maine Dec. 15 to take wreaths to Arlington last year. 90,000 wreaths were placed. The goal is to have 325,000 wreaths worldwide.

Resh added her son Mark's name to those whose graves are to be decorated. She said there are 2,500 veterans' graves at Cedar Hill Memorial Park on Airport Road. Each wreath costs $15. The local group hopes to raise $30,000. The VFW Auxiliary held a fundraiser for Wreaths Across America. It's second purpose is to honor and teach about veterans.

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