Pat and Family,
It was with great sadness that we learned of Bill's passing; please accept our heartfelt condolences. We regret we are unable to be with you now, but please know you all are in our minds, hearts, and prayers. Bill is a great man, a pleasure to be around, and we are grateful for the memories he helped create.
God and Peace Be With You All!
Steve, Sydney, & Skylar Gudvangen
A LETTER TO PRIVATE BILL
("Private Bill is Coming Home.") 05 November, 2016
PFC William Vito Giovanniello Company F 2nd Battalion 35th Infantry 25th Infantry Division Hey, Bill: Guess this is the first letter you’ve received since that fateful day of 25 April,1951, when your unit came under attack by units of the Chinese and North Korean armies. You guys held on valiantly at that road block west of Chorw’on to give the rest of your buddies a chance to get out of the area. But you didn’t make it out and were reported as MIA for all these 65 years. There you were, known as X-1219 in that United Nations Military Cemetery in Yang Mun-Ni at Tanoook.
They moved you to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii - a hell of a terrible fate for a 22 year old to endure! In our travels, some of us were there at the "Punch Bowl" and unknowingly passed you by. Finally, Bill, the military forensic lab in Hawaii disinterred you this past May and gave you back your name and identity. It was finally true, "Private Bill is Coming Home." You thought we had forgotten about you. No Bill, you and the tens of thousands of MIAs are never forgotten. We think of you at every meeting, every Memorial Day, every Veterans Day,
every special meeting, every breakfast, and remain always in our hearts. We set a special table for all of you. We fly the POW/MIA flag in front of the Post 24/7 for all to remember. You see, Bill, we think of all of you every day, all the time. We got the word Friday evening from the Commander that our Chief of Police told him, "Private Bill is Coming Home" on Saturday morning. Well, Bill, the word went out quickly by email, by telephone, and by word of mouth that "Private Bill is Coming Home." Say no more. We vowed to serve our country and to honor those who have served. We pledged, "To Preserve and Perpetuate the Memories and Incidents of the Great Wars." We mobilized in a hurry. The word went out - assemble the Honor Guard, assemble the Legion family, wear Class A Uniforms. We reported for duty to serve once again. Well, Bill, Saturday was a beautiful day in the Jersey highlands. The sun was bright and warmed us on this cool, autumn morning. We assembled on a pitched, grassy hillside in front of the entrance to the Army’s premier research and development center. A fitting place for us to honor you.
On the overpass of this busy highway, firefighters from three different departments set up a garrison-sized American flag suspended by the arms of two extended ladders. The flag flew majestically as to say, "Private Bill is Coming Home", and you are now comforted by the very symbol of the land whose constitution we all vowed to preserve and protect. You could not imagine, Bill, the respect people in the passing cars paid to the scene before their eyes - blowing horns, waving, thumbs up and smiles of appreciation. The breeze provided a counter melody with the rustling of the trees dressed in their fall colors of reds, yellows, oranges and earth tones. You could almost hear the falling leaves saying, "Private Bill is coming Home." Bill, we waited patiently for you to pass as you headed home to Port Jervis. The Honor Guard must have moved a half dozen times before finding the right spot on that hill. The Legion family did the same. We were now ready for you. The Chief let us know where you were - "The motorcade is 25 minutes away." "They’re at the Denville-Rockaway border", "They’re passing the mall." Our inner voices were saying, "Private Bill is Coming Home." State Police cruisers led the way with sirens heralding your approaching motorcade. What a sight, Bill. It gave some of us chills knowing what lay ahead. The din of motorcycles deafened the ambient sounds as they led your procession. Rapid commands were given, "Present Arms", ordered the Honor Guard Captain. The flags were lowered and the rifles were brought smartly into position. The Commander then gave the command to the hillside sentinels, "Ready, Salute." Arms sung up and hands placed on the sides of heads. We knew somehow, Bill, that you, too, returned a snappy salute as you passed. Your family followed you in that yellow school bus. And, Bill, you would not believe the number of motorcycles that followed, creating the most deafening roar you could imagine. Before we knew it, you passed us. "Private Bill is Now Going Home" Well. Bill, hope you enjoyed this letter. In some small way we wanted you to know that you are remembered. Some of us have gone through the experience of having a loved, MIA family member. The uncertainty of not knowing what happened permeates our very being throughout our lives. Fortunately for your family members, they now have closure. You now will have
eternal rest next to your brother. Your family will be at peace. You will be in our prayers. "PRIVATE BILL IS NOW HOME!"
For God and Country,
American Legion Post 344
Rockaway Township, NJ
To the entire family of Dolores Kolvenbach:
Our hearts are heavy at this time to learn of the loss of a good friend and a wonderful lady, Dolores. She was always a great friend and I loved her sincere heart and great smile. I pray for great strength for the entire family and know that God is there…speak with Him.
Rich Wilson & Family
I was saddened to hear the news of Brenton’s passing. He will never be forgotten as he lives in my memory from time spent together when I was a young man growing up in Port Jervis. I always enjoyed his visits. It was nice that our family was able to reconnect with him after the death of my parents Martin and Zenobia De Mond.
May Brenton Rest in Peace.
Calvin B. De Mond
4 Spice Bush Lane
Tuxedo Park, NY 10987