Press-Republican

Opinion

June 9, 2014

Cheers and Jeers: June 9, 2014

JEERS to the freeloaders who attend free, public, often solemn events just for the food.

A former Press-Republican staffer attended a Memorial Day ceremony at a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post and observed a few people arriving after the holiday services were over. It was obvious the tardy attendees knew no one at the post.

They immediately got into line for the free food, heaping their plates generously. After finishing, all of them got takeout containers and filled them to the top.

Being the curious journalist he is, our alumnus followed the freeloaders to the parking lot, where they got into their separate vehicles. He was amazed to see their vehicles weren’t rust buckets, but late-model cars and a truck.

He asked one VFW officer about it and was stunned to learn that it occurs all the time. In fact, the post receives a surprising number of telephone calls before such veterans’ events from people wanting to know what’s on the menu. If it’s not to their taste, they will call other veterans’ posts to make the same inquiry, he was told.

Understandably, there are more people these days who are barely making financial ends meet. But that’s why we have local soup kitchens, food shelves and service agencies.

It’s one thing to attend the memorial services, which are open to all, and show respect to veterans; anyone who does that would be welcome to the food.

But to take advantage of veterans’ groups, which have their own financial issues these days, and others, is the height of gall — or the depth.

CHEERS to Brian and Candy Major, who for 17 years coordinated the Police Athletic League football league in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.

The couple has stepped down to pursue other ventures. Both have virtually put their lives on hold every autumn since 1998.

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