Nick’s Airplane, Three Videos. Mon., April 18, 2016

Cottonwood Airport.

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Wiggle

 

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Steering Wheels

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Fireball 7

 

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Hmmmm

 

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Wiggle

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Let’s go

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into the wild blue yonder

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Sounds great

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Moves out real nice

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Hmmmmmm

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Hi Vince Block

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Cottonwood Airport

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Up, Up, and Away

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Lofs of hangers

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That’s Fricke’s Farm in the background, up on Safford Road

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Cottonwood Airport

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More hangers than a laundromat

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Nice and clean

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Vince would be proud

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Pull up a chair and sit a spell

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My car

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I want that in my yard

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Cottonwood Airport moving up, up, and away

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Nick pushing his airplane

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Nick’s plane pushing him

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Nick Parnello

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Blackjack 6

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This plane is even better than I thought. Wow. I want one for myself.

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Thank you, Dominic Iasparro

DATELINE: Dinner at  LZ LINO’S. April 1, 2015. Note: There’s an important message way down at the bottom, after the last picture.

The Vietnam Veterans Supper Club honored Dominic Iasparro at Base Camp Lino’s, otherwise known as Lino’s Italian Restaurant.

He was presented with a plaque and a big plate of lasagna. Thank you for your lifetime of service to our community. That’s Tony Cercelli, Dominic Gasparini, Brian Long, and Tony Bove. Sorry Nick, you got cropped out.

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Members of the Vietnam Veterans Supper Club honored Dominic Iasparro for over 40 years of service to the citizens of Rockford and Winnebago county. Dominic served with honor and distinction as a member of the Rockford police department for 35 years and then joined the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department for another 7 years.

One veteran said, “We only had to serve on the front lines for 13 months, while our friend, Dom, was on the front lines for over 40 years.

That’s Chuck Larson, below, talking with a lady who came over to our table and thanked the veterans for serving our country. Thank you, too.

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That’s Joe Battista one of the owners of Lino’s. Thanks for letting us set up our Base Camp in your great restaurant. What a great place with even greater people.

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Steve Spence, above, shakes hands with a 94 year old veteran of World War II, our finest generation. He was at Lino’s for dinner with his daughter, grandson and other family members.

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94-year-old World War II veteran shakes hands with Tony Bove. This veteran flew planes supporting General George s. Patton. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHere he’s with  his daughter and grandson.

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Dominic and three proud Vietnam veterans.

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Dick Diller, right, author of “Fireflly” which tells many of his experiences as a pilot in Vietnam. He talks with another Vietnam veteran who was also a pilot.

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After we sang the Star Spangled Banner another patron at Lino’s told our waitress that he’d pay for our dinner. Unbelievable, especially on April Fools Day. What a country.

Please join us at the LZ Peace Memorial this Memorial Day at 11:00 a.m.

Over 58,272 American Heroes

Rockford Charter Chapter of VietNow is the host for the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Museum in Loves Park, Illinois. It’s my understanding that Bruce Jacobsen, of VietNow, is the point man on this twice-in-a-lifetime event.

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This is the intersection where E. Riverside splits to the left and continues west while Clifford Ave. splits to the right. I’m sure most locals know where this is. That’s Sand Park on the left. The Wall will be next to Loves Park City Hall.

A caravan of Loves Park police, the Harlem/Roscoe fire department, the Loves Park fire department and tons of motorcycles and cars escorted the Traveling Wall to its 5-day home in Loves Park, Illinois.

Vietnam veteran and VietNow member Dick Martin and his ultra cool Jeep complete with machine gun and whip antenna provided logistical support. As Dick and his Jeep leave you can see our old buddy Darrell Gilgan getting into the action. The guys from VietNow are quite a bunch. Thanks for inviting me to take these pictures. Oh, that’s Steven Franklin standing by somebody’s great 1960 red Chevy Impala.

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SAM_4962 Cropped, The Wall That Heals

Public access will be from Thursday, September 11 through Sunday, September 14, 2014. VietNow’s POW/MIA ceremony will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 12, 2014.  It’s a half-size replica of the Wall in Washington, DC. making it almost 250 long. Over 58,272 names.

While there you can also visit the Gold Star Mothers Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the Veterans Memorial commemorating World War I, World War II, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thanks to Rod Schwandt, USAF

Thanks to Rod Schwandt, USAF

Since you’re in the area you should visit one of the largest and best Vietnam veterans memorials. It’s called the LZ Peace Memorial and is located at 6799 Guilford Road, on the grounds of Midway Village Museum.

This is Steve Lee's dad. Steve was killed in 1968 in Vietnam.

This is Steve Lee’s dad. Steve was killed in 1968 in Vietnam.

I always park at Central Christian Church and walk up a little hill where you’ll come across a Huey helicopter that’s a veteran of Vietnam and then walk down the hill where you’ll see a V-shaped monument honoring those Winnebago county veterans who were killed in Vietnam.

VietNow Color Guard at Auburn graduate, John Candiotta's funeral in 2013.

VietNow Color Guard at Auburn graduate, John Candiotta’s funeral in 2013.

Above is the VietNow Color Guard at the funeral of our friend, John Candiotta, a Navy veteran and 1964 Auburn graduate.

LZ Peace is a sight that’ll make you cry and smile at the same time. You’ll cry for the sacrifices made. You’ll smile when you see what veterans can do with support of their community.

Joe and Richard Hoffman.

Joe and Richard Hoffman.

It took Nick Parnello, Tony Bove and the members of the Vietnam Veterans Honor Society over twenty years to get it this far, and one of these days I’ll post all their names. Also there’s more work being done on the memorial to those veterans who died from the effects of Agent Orange. Come on out and see for yourself.

Memorial Day 2013 at LZ Peace Memorial

Memorial Day 2013 at LZ Peace Memorial

It should be an interesting week in Rockford and Loves Park. Thanks for stopping by and please visit these memorials to real American heroes.

You did good, Sheriff

It was a special night for retiring Winnebago county Sheriff Dick Meyers. He was the guest of honor at a dinner at LZ Lino’s, otherwise known as Lino’s Restaurant. About 23 members of the Vietnam Veterans Honor Society presented the Sheriff with a cake, a hat, a bag of Vet-Chips and a beautiful plaque thanking him for his long support.

Here’s what Nick Parnello, the President of the Vietnam Veterans Honor Society, had to say about Sheriff Meyers, “In over twenty years he has always been a friend to his brother veterans and helped to honor those veterans from Winnebago county.

The night was so exciting that one of the guys fell out of his chair.

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Dan hits the deck on floor, P8064690 Cropped

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All and all it was a great night. Honoring Dick Meyers who’s been deputy sheriff since 1967. Wow, that’s 47 years of public service. Plus he’s been sheriff of Winnebago County since Noah was a pup.

A long time. A good man. A Navy veteran. A outstanding career in law enforcement and public service.

And a great friend and supporter of the Vietnam Veterans Honor Society.

Thanks for everything and we hope you enjoy your retirement.

 

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Fallen Flags Ceremony

It’s Flag Day in America.

This is what you missed if you weren’t at LZ Peace Memorial for the second annual Flag Retirement Ceremony. The first one was held on Veterans Day of 2013.

The pictures are not in order and there’s a good reason for that.

To see more go to LZ Peace Memorial website. You can also see the videos there.

Thanks again to all those who took the time to show they care.
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Flag Day. June 14, 2014

Flag Retirement Ceremony at LZ Peace Memorial

In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date; Congress adopted “the American continental army” after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775. Thanks to Wikipedia for this information.

The public is invited to attend a flag retirement ceremony on Flag Day, Saturday, June 14, 2014, at 9:00 a.m., at the LZ Peace Memorial located at 6799 Guilford Road, on the grounds of Midway Village Museum. The story below is from the Veterans Day 2013 when a flag retirement ceremony was held.

The purpose of the flag retirement ceremony is to take old American flags that are beyond repair and burn them in an honorable and dignified manner.

Veterans Day 2013 was a beautiful day indeed.  The grey skies turned to rain. The rain turned to sleet. The sleet turned to snow.  American flags were retired and turned to red embers and buried in the ground. The clicking noises you hear on the videos are from sleet hitting my Osco umbrella. Yes, real men carry umbrellas but the camera still got wet and blurry. And they all sang. . . . Yankee Doodle forgot to turn on his camera. Paul Logli, Boy Scouts and the Flag God Bless Our Veterans and the United States of America Ceremoniously retiring American flags Don Allen, USMC, playing Taps And then it was over.

Joey Falzone. Thanks for the Memories

Remember those old TV shows with the spooky music, where a roll of the dice or a chance meeting determined the fate of the world.

What if Curly, Larry and Moe never met? No Three Stooges. What if Jackie hadn’t met JFK, no Camelot. What if you’d have turned left instead of right? You’d have never met your future spouse.

Joe Falzone, left, and Nick Parnello. Two of the co-founders of VietNow.

Joey Falzone, left, and Nick Parnello

Or what if Joey Falzone hadn’t met Nick Parnello on some hill in some distant place?  There’d be no VietNow. No Vietnam Veterans Honor Society. No Supper Club at Base Camp: Maria’s. No LZ Peace Memorial. No help for thousands of Vietnam veterans battling PTSD and Agent Orange.

But luck and fate intervened and Joey and Nick met on a hill in Pleiku, Vietnam and the rest is history. Of course Joey and Nick didn’t do it all by themselves, but it was that chance meeting that started many things and changed many lives.

Joey Falzone, one of the founders of VietNow, the Vietnam veterans organization, died January 7, 2014 at his home in Cherry Valley, Illinois. Joey was 68 years old and was a Vietnam veteran having served in the Army. He was awarded the Purple Heart when he was wounded protecting U.S. helicopters that were under attack by the Viet Cong.

For over two years he battled health problems caused by exposure to Agent Orange while serving in the Vietnam War.

Joey was born May 5, 1945 the son of Joe and Norma Falzone. He attended Boylan High School and in 1964 married Patricia Kelly.

Legend has it that in 1969 Joe Falzone and Nick Parnello met on a hill near Pleiku, Vietnam and vowed to meet for dinner if and when they ever made it back home.”  Well, they did get back and this chance meeting of two soldiers from Rockford led to the formation of the VietNow veterans organization.

Old photo of the founders of Vietnow

Joey Falzone, second from left

Vietnow grew from the charter chapter in Rockford, Illinois to over 40 chapters around the country.

Nick Parnello, Rich Sanders (president of Vietnow National, and Joey Falzone at 2011 Vietnow National Convention

Nick Parnello, Rich Sanders (president of VietNow National, and Joey Falzone at 2011 Vietnow National Convention

The Vietnam Veterans Honor Society is responsible for creating the LZ Peace Memorial at Midway Village Museuem in Rockford, Illinois.

Dorothy Boyer, Gold Star Mother; Joey, Nick at Vietnow Convention 2011

Dorothy Boyer, Gold Star Mother; Joey, Nick at VietNow Convention 2011

Think about this for a minute.  If those two soldiers hadn’t met on that hill in Pleiku almost 50 years ago you wouldn’t be reading this because none of it would have happened.

VietNow wouldn’t have been created. The Heuy at LZ Peace Memorial would be somewhere else, and God only knows where.

In 1984 Bob Hope was here for the Rockford Pro/Am Golf Tournament and was the main entertainer for the Pro/Am at the MetroCentre.

For over 30 years Bob Hope entertained American troops overseas and he spent several Christmases in Vietnam. In 1965 Bob Hope did 22 shows and visited 5 hospitals in Vietnam.

When they found out Bob Hope was coming to town members of VietNow met with him at the MetroCentre. Rumor has it they even sang a song or two. It was truly a night to remember.

Now almost 30 years later Nick Parnello and Joey sing a tribute to Bob Hope and their memories of Vietnam. This was at the 2011 VietNow Convention in Lake Geneva.

The world’s a better place because of a young soldier named Joey Falzone.

Joey, Darell Gilgan (VietNow officer) and Michelle Baugh. She was 3 months old in 1968 when her father, Richard Githens, was killed in Vietnam.

Joey, Darell Gilgan (VietNow officer) and Michelle Baugh. She was 3 months old in 1968 when her father, Richard Githens, was killed in Vietnam.

Thanks for your service, thanks for your friendship, and thanks for everything you’ve done to help your fellow Vietnam veteran brothers.

Link to WIFR tv station story with a video.

Link to Rockford Register Star obituary on Legacy.com

Link to Fitzgerald Funeral guestbook.

Link to VietNow story on www.vietnow.com

Bob Hope in Vietnam.

So, Joey, it’s not good bye, but “See you later.” because one day, in the blink of an eye, we’ll all meet again, on some hill, in some distant place.

Base Camp: Maria’s, “You Did Good.”

The Vietnam Veterans Honor Society was airlifted from Base Camp: Maria’s on December 4, 2013. They’ve been stationed there for almost 40 years and the only reason they’re leaving is because Base Camp: Maria’s is scheduled for a base closing at the end of this year

There’s a link at the bottom of the page for all the pictures taken at this memorable night at Maria’s

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