from Neighborhood to 'Nam......and back.

Growing up in a close knit neighborhood during the ‘50s and ‘60s was not unusual, it was the norm. Friendships were long and the bonds were tight. Friends walked to school together; joined scouts together; played sports together; grew up together. They dated and married girls from the neighborhood. . .And, most of them went to war together, not as a group, but as single individuals….and those same friends parted ways for a time. Each moving on to a new phase of their life.

The neighborhood was ‘Kaisertown’, a Polish-American community on the far east side of Buffalo New York. . .the war was Vietnam.

This blog is a collaboration of stories and experiences from this group of men, childhood buddies, all now in their sixties, whose friendships have lasted a lifetime.

These are also recollections from those young men who stayed behind. . ’caretakers’, as you will, of the old neighborhood that was a part of them . . .keeping the memories alive until all returned.


Heroes Grove Objectives:

1.  Engrave Kaisertown’s Fallen Soldier’s names on the 
VIETNAM monument at Heroes Grove. . 
Paul M. Evans, James A. Grzegorek, Robert May, 
and Robert J. Polniak. . .on Memorial Day of  this year.  
Sometime this year, we would like to plant trees to serve as 
living monuments for our Fallen Soldier’s.      
Monument Engraved & COMPLETED: 7.21.13

2.  We need to save the World War II Monument from any more foundation issues.  At present, water il seeping down into the foundation, thawing & freezing, and it looks like it might eventually cause a safety hazard, and the complete loss of the monument.  
Once this happens, it’s probably too late to save it. 

3.  Would like to purchase a Middle East Conflict 
monument for those that served.
Monument Installed & COMPLETED: 10.19.15

4.  Purchase a permanent spot light for our American Flag. 
An electrician would tie the source into the 
dawn & dusk timer of the street lights.   
COMPLETED:  6.17.15

5. Purchase & Install curbs around the monuments so that soil 
doesn’t drain onto the sidewalk.    
COMPLETED:  Summer of 2015

6.  Keep maintaining the Grove area as we have been as long as we possibly can. . .cutting grass, planting flowers, trees, and replacing bushes when needed, and whatever else might become an issue at any particular time.

7.  Placing Christmas lights yearly, replacing stolen lighting as needed.

8. Replacing flags as needed.  We’ve been fortunate to 
receive the flags from our local politicians.

9. Refurbish or purchase new park benches.
COMPLETED:  Summer of 2017

None of these objectives are in any priority listing, 
but priorities do need to be considered.

Most all of us that maintain HEROES GROVE grew up in Kaisertown, maintain a pride that has been with us all of our lives.  The Grove caretakers have been friends for life. We grew up in a special neighborhood, at a special time in history, made special bonds, 
what a great time to be a child and teenager, “the best of times”.  
All of us, as kids, can remember saying to friends
 “we’ll meet at the monument”.

Let us always keep in mind that this Grove isn’t just Pride for us VietNam Vets, but for the WWII, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and 9/11 individuals who lost their lives, 
and it’s been a pride for Kaisertown itself.

We hope that this has given you an incite as to what we are all about.

    Thank You,
      The Veterans and Friends of Heroes Grove

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