From: Greg Flotard
To: 'GERALD F MERNA
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2005 4:34 PM
Subject: Impressions of War
Here is a picture of my father on the football team. He is number 9.
From: Jim Merna
To: Gerald F Merna; Greg Flotard
Cc: David Feliciano; Joe Stanaitis
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2005 1:59 AM
Subject: Re: Impressions of War
Just from a quick look at the St. Agnes football team picture, I recognized three guys. In the front row, to the right of No. 9, is Hugh McAvinue; 2nd row, immed. behind No. 9, is Quinn; and top row, 2nd from right, is Murphy. If I'm not mistaken, all three guys were in your class, and at least two of them became Marines (McAvinue, & Murphy). McAvinue's younger brother, John, was in my class, and was killed many years ago in a car accident in the 50's when he drove up to Rockland County to visit me.
From: Gerald F Merna
To: Greg Flotard
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2005 1:30 AM
Subject: Impressions of War
Many thanks. I recall now that your Dad was showing this football team picture around at the reunion. (BTW: were you there)? It's a great photo and I recognize a couple of faces but that's all. If you look at the second row, second from the right I think that is Tom Quinn; in that same row, second from the left is Henry Kononchuk. While I'm not sure, in the top row, last on the right looks like Jack Hennessy. Other faces look familiar, but I can't recall their names. Do you have any idea what year this was?
I'm going to copy Joe Stanaitis and Dave Feliciano on this, and attach a copy of the picture I just cropped and reduced to 75 per cent, to see if they recognize any of the other players; I'd like to use this photo to replace some "stock" shots I used in a story I wrote about the history of St. Agnes. Dave and Joe gave me a couple also, and while I probably can't use them all, (some don't reproduce too well), I'm going to try.
I'm still trying to pick your folks out of the pictures I took; Dot spoke to them and said your Dad was wearing a black shirt, so I may have zeroed in on him. (I'm going to review all that Joe and David took as well). Your Mom said to Dot, "I'll bet you don't know who I am, do you?" and to her surprise Dot knew who she was instantly, and they had a too brief chat. (Dot just told me to tell you to tell your Mom she regrets she didn't have more time to talk with her. Next time for sure...).
On another note, I have been remiss in not writing you before this, because as your Dad probably told you when he asked you to send this picture, we had a great chat on the phone when he called me on Friday (26Aug). He chuckled when I explained my mix-up of names and was both surprised and pleased we had already been exchanging quite a few email notes. I got a quick run down on your family, your Dad is 4 years older than I am, and heard of your two other brothers, Buddy and Raymond. He said when he got out of the Navy in '46 he was literally "adopted" by the House's Kids (it's usually always the other way around for Piermont/Sparkill residents to unofficially adopt House's Kids--Dot's Mom, Dad and Sister adopted all five of my siblings)!
I laughed when he told me Coach Faulk used him as a "ringer" on the team. I told him my brother Jim knew the Flotard Family and your Dad said that was probably his cousins. Dad remembered Jack Hennessy, Lenny O'Sullivan, Ray Drake, Battles, Hunt, and "Jap" Delarosa, and we briefly discussed some of those names. He also asked about Joe Montana (we used to call him Dizzy Gillespie) who was a POW in Korea for three years. I told him just by coincidence as Dot and I were driving down Ferdon Ave. there was Joe on the sidewalk with Cappy who lived next door to us. Saw them too late to react so just waved, as we were already late getting to the reunion.
When we talked about Korea he mentioned he lost his brother Raymond at 20, killed only a short time before he was due home, and I told him of our brother George, who was killed in WWII at 19. When I mentioned the "Welcome Home" parade Piermont gave us in 1953 he was very interested and I promised to send him a copy of the NY Times Magazine section article that covered it. It I can't attach it to this email I'll send it separately, as I have it as part of a chapter in a book I'm writing ("My Book" by GFM), not being written for publication, but to "leave behind." When I resurrect material I've already written I find it opportune and useful to "up date" it before sending it out, otherwise that material sits there in its usual "draft" form waiting for that to be done).
Again, thanks for the picture and give my best to your Dad, I only wish he used email;when I was trying to promote the STAAA WebNews at the picnic and asked how many of the attendees used email, except from those like Joe and Dave I didn't see any other hands go up. A few of us "old timers"are exceptions, but most of our generation shies away from computers.
From: GERALD F MERNA
Sent: Sunday, August 28, 2005 5:18 PM
Subject: Impressions of War
Thought this would be of great interest to you.
IMPRESSIONS OF WAR: Local man paints tribute to Korean War vets
Published in the Ocean County Observer 08/14/05
By LOIS A. KAPLAN
Special to the Times-Beacon
A painting titled "Chow Line" depicts the Korean War in 1950.
TOMS RIVER - "A Tribute to the Forgotten Soldiers of the Forgotten War," an art exhibit of about 30 paintings depicting war scenes by Korean War veteran Francis J. McGinley of Toms River and sponsored by the Rockland County, N.Y. chapter of Korean War Veterans, will open Wednesday in Wesley Hills, N.Y.
McGinley is a nationally known artist who has won many awards for his paintings of historic American military battles. Wesley Hills' mayor, Robert Frankl is a former chapter president of Korean War Veterans Rockland County.
"We lost close to 40,000 Americans in 37 months in the Korean War," Frankl said recently. "That's a lot of kids to die. For those of us who have served in the Army, there's a bond."
The Rockland County chapter was to conduct a public memorial service honoring the 27 soldiers from that county who died in the Korean War.
McGinley's paintings are his interpretations of eyewitness accounts given to him by those who fought in Korea.
"I used what they described of the battle scenes, photos and other information about the scene to put a painting together," he said. He added that he hoped the paintings would touch veterans and bring more public attention to what is often called "the forgotten war."
He added that "Retreat Hell," a painting that depicts Marines walking around their abandoned trucks at the Chosin Reservoir, moved many veterans at his 1996 exhibit at the Korean War Memorial, Washington, D.C.
"It brought a lot of tears," the painter added.
He also noted that many people today remember World War II and Vietnam but forget about the Korean War and those who served during that time.
McGinley was born and raised in the East Harlem section of New York City and began painting early in life. His first-grade teacher predicted he might someday become a painter, and his interest in art continued throughout his years at New York City's Commerce High School and the New York School of Art and Advertising, and also during his private instruction from illustrators Raymond Carter and Charles Miller.
Today, residents of the Jersey Shore area, where McGinley has lived since 1971, can see his work at the Ocean County Courthouse and Historical Museum, the Dover Township Municipal Building, the Lakehurst Naval Air Station and the Joshua Huddy Pub, and also at public libraries in Dover and Berkeley.
Of all his own paintings, McGinley's personal favorite is one of the Vanderbilt Bridge, on the Hudson River near Hyde Park, N.Y., which was selected in 1988 as one of that year's top 100 American paintings by Arts For The Park, a prestigious organization dedicated to encouraging American artists. He has since won two other awards from the same group.
In 1987, McGinley presented a one-man show at the Monmouth County Library, Freehold, depicting events in World War II's European Theater. The exhibit was used as a background display for a lecture given by David Eisenhower on his book about his grandfather, President Dwight D. Eisenhowwer.
McGinley has also been a finalist in competitions sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Professional Artists League, and the Ocean County Historical Society, and has himself served as a judge at several New Jersey art shows.
Now 76 years old and retired since 1996 from his longtime day job as a consultant to the president of Mon-Oc Federal Credit, he is now a full-time artist whose works in oils, watercolors, acrylics, pen and ink, and pencil reflect his interest in history, religion, the military and sports.
For many years, McGinley's studio was in his garage. It is now in a room in his home, where he spends at least 25 to 30 hours a week creating works of art.
His current objectives, he says, are to complete a number of paintings commissioned by the U.S. Air Force and to do a number of sports paintings, including some of the Lakewood BlueClaws baseball team, which already displays his work at its headquarters.
Looking back, McGinley has vivid recollections of the two years he spent in the U.S. Army, stationed in California during the Korean War, during which time he witnessed the testing of atomic bombs at Desert Rock, Nev.
His postwar banking career included speaking to community groups on behalf of the bank and helping, through his artistic talents, to raise $550,000 for service organizations throughout New Jersey.
McGinley has been married for 42 years to his wife, Jane, with whom he has four children and two grandchildren, both of whom excell in the arts. Allison, 10, who was featured last year in a BlueClaws poster with Buster, the BlueClaws mascot, loves to read and likes to illustrate her own stories with drawings. Andrew, 5, has already won a blue ribbon for a ceramic bunny.
Published on August 14, 2005, in the Ocean County Observer
By LOIS A. KAPLAN
Gerald F. Jerry) Merna
1stLt USMC (Ret.)