Letter to the Editor: A veteran’s thanks

As a former lieutenant, USNR from the Vietnam era, I would like to commend you for your “My Take” (Your Niskayuna, Nov. 7-13 edition) photos and comments of thanks and acknowledgements from people, particularly young people, to veterans and active duty personnel as we approach Veterans Day.

Forty-five years ago, returning veterans received abuse as if they determined national foreign policy for an unpopular and useless war. Hopefully, that never happens again!

The second reason for writing is to tell about the World War II veteran whose burial flag hangs in the Niskayuna pool area. His name was Patrick McErleon, Sergeant, US Army. He was born a Catholic in Derry, Northern Ireland, about 1905. Seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity, like millions before and after him, he immigrated in his early twenties to a wonderful country which afforded him both, the United States of America.

Life in America was not easy for unskilled immigrants in the late 1920s and the Depression exacerbated the daily tribulations throughout the 1930s. Soon war broke out in Europe and America was drawn in as a consequence of the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Patrick McErleon, a quiet, peace loving man, joined the army of his adopted country and served in Europe until peace was restored. Following the war, he returned home, rejoined his wife — my aunt — and lived out his life as an honest, hard-working citizen.

There wasn’t much glory in the life of my godfather but I am sure he is very happy knowing that the flag that draped his casket is the focal point for young Americans including his grandnephew Greg (Niskayuna ’06) pledging allegiance to the country we love and were willing to sacrifice for.

— Thomas J. Donohue

About the Author

Rebecca Isenhart
Rebecca Isenhart is the reporter/writer for Your Niskayuna, presented by the Daily Gazette of Schenectady.