Veterans Day 2013 Marks the End and a Beginning


U.S. Army Sgt. Derek McConnell

A harrowing quotation from President Lincoln is emblazoned on the front of the Department of Veterans Affairs building, across H Street from the White House in Washington, D.C.

“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”

On Veterans Day 2013, the U.S. finds itself at a similar crossroads. This is the last such holiday Americans will likely observe during war for the first time in more than 12 years. By November 2014, the government and its military might plans to be in the final throes of withdrawing all combat troops from Afghanistan — perhaps all troops — thus ending America’s longest war in history. President Obama, facing unprecedented public outcry over hawkish policies worldwide, will have fulfilled his campaign promise of ending protracted wars in the Middle East.

As I was preparing what to post on Parsippany Focus for this Veterans Day, Derek McConnell was the first person to come to mind.  Before  I started to write something… I logged into FaceBook and read the first post on my timeline from Amy R. Van Varick, so I am decided to reprint her thoughts:

This Veteran’s Day’s shout out has to reach Heaven this year to Derek McConnell. Through his life and struggles he became my daughter’s role model, teaching her to achieve what may not be easily attained with bravery and a sense of bratty humor. Derek had a profound influence on her that cannot be explained in life and even in death. Each day she wears a purple heart pendant with his name on it. At an age where pop stars are idolized by the pre-teen girls, she chooses Derek…and is proud to have adopted his mother and my friend, Siobhan Mary Fuller as her “honorary Aunt”. Although I highly doubt you are resting, Derek…be at peace and thank you for your service and, although unintended, your profound positive affect on my little girl.

Further, thanks to all the veterans for your service … my father, grandfather, great uncles, “brother” Pulkit Desai, Michael Fuller (Derek’s brother), and his uncle, Brian V. Maglio,  and all who served our country.

RIP Derek McConnell, and Krystina Dressler you are one amazing young woman.

Derek McConnell and Krystina Dressler