Al Heidenreich's Veterans' Views column sig

Al Heidenreich’s Veterans’ Views column sig

THANK YOU, thank you and thanks again to all who called, emailed and contacted me in person during my short hiatus as I coped with a minor medical issue.

It was especially gratifying to hear from those who took the time to comment on the column content to tie in many issues of the day and how they directly (and indirectly) affect veterans.

Special thanks to the sharp-eyed who took notice of my not-so-subtle attempts at humor. I will strive to keep the format alive.

Independence Day

A sincere belated Happy Independence Day greeting to all. I hope you survived the fireworks onslaught and traffic nightmares in good shape.

The omission of “the Fourth of July” is intentional as the holiday is “Independence Day” and not the celebration of a date. Case in point: You do not wish someone a “Happy Jan. 1,” do you? Or a “Merry Dec. 25”? Or even a “Happy Nov. 11” or “May 30,” do you?

This event is arguably the most significant in our nation’s history and deserves recognition as such.

The Declaration of Independence is widely accepted as being adopted on July 4 but what date was it actually signed? (Answer later.)

For the Jarheads family

What you missed: If you were not at Henry J. Sweeney American Legion Post 2 on Friday night (July 5) for the charity fundraiser you missed a classic.

The meat raffle raised a whopping $4,777 that will be donated to the families of the Jarheads Motorcycle tragedy victims. Great job by the officers and volunteers of Post 2.

In the 50/50 raffle, one lucky patron walked away with a record jackpot share. (Sorry, IRS — no name and/or amount info available.)

Celebrating Patricia Bryan

I was among those who were fortunate enough to attend the celebration of the life of Patricia “Pat” Cavanaugh Bryan at the same Maple Street venue in Manchester on Saturday, July 6.

“Patrick,” the nickname attributed to her in the Manchester High School Central yearbook (hey, everyone had to go to high school somewhere) was a lifelong resident of the Queen City and a retired nurse of the local VA hospital.

“Retired” does not accurately describe her, as she seemed to spend even more time there as a volunteer.

“A legend” does not fully do justice to the lady who always had a camera in her hand, a twinkle in her eye and a joke to share.

If you look up “volunteer” in the dictionary, I am sure you will find her picture there.

She was an original cast member of the Palace Theatre’s Silver Stars and one of the first to join the Forever Young Chorus, a volunteer group that performed together for more than 15 years at hospitals, nursing and retirement homes, veterans’ facilities, etc.

She was an active member of The American Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary and the Ladies’ Ancient Order of Hibernians and held elected office on both the local and state level, and the list goes on. She will be sadly missed but never forgotten.

Those who attended the celebration of her life will also not soon forget the stories shared. I felt her laughing the loudest! RIP, Patrick.

I cannot believe the number of veterans who are not aware of, or who do not take advantage of, what is available to them through the VA: its pharmacy, job training, medical and funeral assistance, etc. Check it out now; after the fact is usually too late. You owe it to yourself and your family.

The DOI signing date was Aug. 2.

Al Heidenreich is past commander of Henry J. Sweeney American Legion Post 2. Write to Al with your questions and comments at