Jewish War Veterans of Dallas, TX. Photographed by Anthony Tran, Asia World Media
By Anthony Tran, Asia World Media
“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers” – John F. Kennedy
It was a nippy Sunday morning, when I headed out to attend the Jewish War Veterans (JWV) Auxiliary breakfast meeting, at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas. The invitation came from Alexandra Fincher, Dallas local realtor and President of Alexandra & Associates. As I turned the corner on Central Expressway, to my pleasant surprise, the Jewish Community Center was located right behind Cindi’s N.Y. Delicatessen Restaurant & Bakery. For over the past 25 years, with five locations throughout Dallas, Cindi’s specializes in comfort and Jewish cuisine. Anh Vo is the owner and operator of Cindi’s.
Anh Vo has always been her own person, startlingly independent, with a personal and abiding belief in helping others. Vo is a staunch supporter of the Dallas Jewish community and JWV. For many years, Vo has permitted the use of her restaurants’ perimeter for Jewish War Veterans and Auxiliary members to gather (twice a year, every year) as the group raised funds for red poppies on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Although Thanksgiving is still a ways off, Vo is renowned for donating turkeys, to JWV for Thanksgiving and to the veterans; as well as to the less fortunate, those without a home and shelter. In 2015, Vo (the first Vietnamese/Asian American woman) was honored by the Bnai Zion Foundation and received the Bnai Zion’s Community Service Award, for her dedication and unwavering support to the Jewish community.
The Jewish War Veterans/JWV Auxiliary is an organization where Jewish War Veterans and their wives, come together to share information and perform “Mitzvahs” in the Dallas community, while promoting Jewish and military values.
Some of the major “Mitzvahs” includes:
- Help and support veterans at the local VA hospital in Dallas, Texas
- Provide color guards at military funerals and other Dallas events
- Feed homeless Veterans each Thanksgiving at the local VA hospital
- Place flags and medallions on veteran graves on Veterans Day and Memorial Day
- Support the Dallas Veterans Day Parade
- Provide information and services to area Jewish organizations and schools
Mingling in the crowd, I made a mental note that the veterans were wearing their war uniforms and hats. Sandra Cantor, current President of the Jewish War Veterans/JWV Auxiliary (JWVA) ushered me into the meeting and introduced me, to the former JWVA President Commander, Allan Cantor; and Harriet Gross, writer for the Texas Jewish Post. The President and CEO of the Southwest Jewish Congress (SWJC), Gil Elan, spoke at the meeting – sharing with the JWV group – current Israeli affairs and the state of unrest in the Middle East. Elan is a prolific writer and an acclaimed Middle East analyst providing a weekly commentary titled “This Week In The Middle East.” His expressive views can be found at www.swjc.org.
Former JWVA President Commander, Allan Cantor, and President and CEO of the Southwest Jewish Congress (SWJC), Gil Elan, receiving his Certificate of Appreciation from the Jewish War Veterans/JWV Auxiliary. Photographed by Anthony Tran, Asia World Media
As the meeting ended, it occurred to me that only four months ago, I had previously visited The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA; where I witnessed WWII as seen through the eyes of Jewish men and women who served in America’s Armed Forces (on and off the battlefields) through videos, audios and artifacts/documents, illustrating what it was like to be American – and Jewish – in a time of war. The exhibits were extraordinary at the National WWII Museum and I came away with a feeling of reverence and profound respect for those who served, after my visit.
That day, as I left the JWV meeting, I realized that feeling of veneration came awash over me again, four months later. This time, it dawned on me that for a few hours, I was not interacting with videos, audios or images, but I was actually surrounded by “The Greatest Generation” that ever lived. I am penning this article, as a tribute to the Jewish seniors, to the “Greatest Generation” and heroes, to all who served in our country in time of war, and in all the wars. Thank you for your sacrifice, for sharing the memories of war, its sights and its sounds, its terrors and its triumphs, as it is only “YOU” that can share your experiences and personal accounts of what you went through, for my generation and for future generations.