I was born on May 25, and most of the time my birthday falls during the Memorial Day weekend. That puts things in perspective, and my focus shifts to honoring those who gave their lives serving the country.
I’m happy that Youth Commission members’ idea to create a ‘meeting of generations’ at the Veterans Park worked and holds promise for the future. We were honored to have Mr. Harry Christian, a WWII Merchant Marine veteran, speaking at the ceremony, and showing models of the ships on which he served.
For the Memorial Day event at the Veterans Park, Jon and I prepared a photo display about Rochester’s veterans (above). That’s how we spent my birthday, and it was pretty emotional. Americans by choice, we honor the American veterans. Coming to America as adults, the veterans in our family are far away in time and geography, but we think of them too.
We did honor the heroes today… and my thoughts went to my great grand father, General Eremia Grigorescu (1863-1919), an artillery General during World War I and Romania’s Minister of War (October-November 1918). In 1917 he was the commander of the Romanian armies in the Battle of Mărăşeşti. It was there that he achieved his greatest success, managing to defeat Imperial German troops led by General August von Mackensen. After the battle, Grigorescu was nicknamed the “hero of Mărăşeşti,” and he became a recipient of the Order of Michael the Brave. His victory was praised in the Entente countries, and Yoshihito, the Emperor of Japan, sent him a sword engraved with the words “Pe aci nu se trece” – casually translated as “No one goes through.”
I visited his tomb only once. It is placed in the center of the Mausoleum at Mărăşeşti, surrounded by the remains of 5,073 Romanian soldiers and officers. In the Battle of Mărăşeşti Romania lost over 27,000 men, including 610 officers, while Germany lost over 47,000.