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RI Veterans: Did you know? 28-07-22 – Veterans Day event – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

Photo: Veterans Benefits Administration

Did you know Rhode Island is the only state to celebrate the state holiday, V-J Day or Victory Day?

Did you know Victory Day is a state holiday in Rhode Island, observed on the second Monday in August. It commemorates the end of the second World War when Japan’s surrender was announced on August 14th, 1945. 

Did you know in Rhode Island an estimated 50,000 veterans live in Rhode Island and an estimated 2,000 are World War II veterans?

Do you know a living World War II veteran available for a FREE Italian dinner and homemade dessert on August 8, 2022? If yes, please contact him or her to invite them for a special dinner to honor them (see article for details and point of contact)

The Italian American War Veterans of the United States, Inc., and the War Tribute Car Cruise committee are hosting a FREE dinner for local World War II veterans and their guest at Perella’s Ristorante, 311 Metacom Ave, Warren RI, on Monday August 8, 2022, from 3:00 to 6:00pm.

“Sadly, daily we are losing our World War II veterans, and want to ensure they are not forgotten on a special day the state of Rhode Island celebrates their service to the United States,” said Linda D’Andrea Peck, U.S Army Veteran, Veteran Service Officer for the Town of Burrillville, Rhode Island. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to be one of the veteran waitresses for the dinner.”

The veterans and their guests will have a choice of main entree dishes: Cianci’s award winning lasagna. Perella’s veal and peas, and veal or chicken parmigiana. Main entrees will be served with Perrella’s homemade pasta. Homemade desserts will be made by retired LTC Patricia Ryan, Combat Desert Storm veteran, and member of the Rhode Island National Guard for over 20 years.

“When John brainstormed the idea to do a special dinner for World War II veterans on Victory Day and asked me to be one of the chefs, I immediately told him yes,” said Ryan.

Ryan is known for her homemade desserts, and she will be featuring homemade tiramisu, cannolis, grapenut pudding, and any other special order dessert from World War II. 

VETTIP – If you are a World War II veteran and guest, and the dessert is not mentioned above, you must order the special dessert of your choice no later than August 5, 2022. Confirmation could be by contacting the Italian American War Veterans of US, Inc. by phone, (401)677-9838 or email itamri4vets@gmail.com.

“I’m looking forward to the dinner and camaraderie. Maybe I will be connected with other World War II veterans who served in the U.S Coast Guard during World War II,” said Louis Dolce Sn., 98 year-old veterans residing at the Rhode Island Veterans home in Bristol RI.

Dolce served during WWII from 1940 to 1943 on a U.S. Coast Guard escort ship during the Second World War. His duties included tours in the seas along North Africa. During one of the escorts Dolce was a crew member, U.S Navy ships being escorted came under attack by German planes. One of the ships in the convoy was sunk by the Germans.

Dolce is a regular at Perella’s Ristorante and owner Louie Perella always ensures Dolce is treated like a VIP while dining at the restaurant. 

The dinners will be served by members of leadership of Rhode Island veteran organizations. Two state commanders, Tiger Patrick, VFW and John A. Cianci, Italian American War Veterans have confirmed their attendance. Other veteran organizations’ leaders have been invited and are expected to be in attendance.

According to website thecentersquare – https://www.thecentersquare.com – in Rhode Island, 49,471 residents, or 5.8% of the 18 and older population, are military veterans — the eighth smallest share among states. Of all veterans in the state, 13.7% served after Sept. 11th, 2001, 39.3% served during the Vietnam War era, and 4.5% are veterans of WWII.

V-J or Victory Day recognizes the ways Americans served, honors those who fell, and recognizes the victory they achieved to restore freedom and end tyranny around the globe.

Victory Day. Victory Day was established in Rhode Island by lawmakers in the spring of 1948, three years after World War II ended when the General Assembly passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Richard Windsor, a long-serving East Providence Republican.

New York observed V-J Day a few times in the late 1940s, and in 1949, Arkansas adopted a new state holiday – “World War II Memorial Day”. Arkansas dropped this holiday in 1955, leaving Rhode Island as the only state that marks the end of World War II with a legal holiday.

Rhode Island’s continuation of this holiday is said to have been reinforced due to the high number of veterans who retired to the state. Indeed, residents of the state suffered a higher proportion of war deaths than nearly any other state. It is also a state with strong union representation, so once a holiday made it onto the state list it is difficult to drop it.

In 1990, the state General Assembly sought to clarify the meaning of the holiday and passed a resolution affirming that, though the holiday would continue, it was “not a day to express satisfaction in the destruction and death caused by nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

“I recall when a few leaders of the state wanted to change the Victory Day holiday name to Governor’s Bay Day, ” said John Cianci, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran.” Cianci recalled the effort failed by a united effort by thousands of Rhode Island veterans and residents to ensure Rhode Island leaders did not pass any bill or legislation to change the name.

While Rhode Island may be the only US state to observe the end of the war, in Europe, a holiday to mark the end of World War II is commonplace. The war in Europe ended late in the evening of May 8th, 1945. This means countries like France and the Czech Republic observe Victory Day on 8th May, while countries further east, particularly those who were part of the Soviet Union celebrate Victory Day on May 9th.

If you know a living World War II veteran who will not be able to attend the dinner, ensure to make August 14, 2022 is a special day for him or her. The freedoms we enjoy today exist because of them, members of the Greatest Generation. 

If you are a World War II veteran and or planning on attending with a World War II veteran as a guest, please RSVP no later than August 5, 2022 by calling (401) 677-9838 or via email itamri4vets@gmail.com. in the RSVP, communicate your dinner time of 4pm or 5pm, and the main entree of your choice.

RI Veterans: Did you know?” Sponsor – Precision Home Lending

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EVENTS

Monday, August 1, 2022 , 900-11a.m Federal Hill Coffee House sponsored by the Italian American War Veterans of the Us, Inc. The coffee house is at ROMA  Ristorante, 310 Atwells Ave, Providence RI.  All veterans and their guest are welcomed. 

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RESOURCES

Below are all of the groups the Providence Vet Center is currently offering.  As this list changes, I will provide updates. Please send me any questions that you may have, thank you for your time!

*** All Vet Center Groups require that the Veteran be enrolled with the Vet Center prior to attending. To check eligibility or for questions, please contact the Vet Center at (401) 739-0167 or reach out to our Veteran Outreach Program Specialist (VOPS) via email at Justyn.Charon@va.gov ***

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Group (PTSD) – 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (Group is only active September through May)

Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and Vietnam Veterans PTSD Group – 2nd and 4th  Wednesday of the month from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Vietnam Veteran PTSD Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Art Expression Group – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) Group – Every Wednesday from 11:00 – 12:00 p.m.

Stress Management– Every Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Low Impact Walking Group – Every Tuesday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Guitar 4 Veterans – Every Wednesday from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Monday Mindfulness Group – Every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Yoga Group – Every Friday from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Moral Injury Group – Every Friday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Modern Warrior Support Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 2:30 – 4:00 pm.

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Restaurants

Applebee’s – Military Discount … With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2028

Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty . Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain.  Last verified 07/31/2028 (PS I had breakfast there on Saturday).

Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021

99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID

Retailers

Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021

Bass Pro Shops –  Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source).

BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021

Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount “Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items. Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, ID.me.

ID.me is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe.

GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through ID.me

Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer.

Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type.

Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY!  We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 15% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at select locations listed below:

Tioque Ave, Coventry RI – Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI – Park Ave, Cranston RI

Michaels – offers a 15% off military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get –

1.    Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account.

2.    Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly.

3.    Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout.

O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21.

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If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward to  itamri4vets@gmail.com:  the business’s name , location, and military and veteran discount offered.

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, itamri4vets@gmail.com, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)

To read all columns in this series go to: https://rinewstoday.com/john-a-cianci/

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.

1 Comment

  1. LORA Wandras on July 28, 2022 at 11:12 am

    The Ocean State Pops Orchestra
    Is performing a FREE Patriotic Concert
    with Patriotic Music honoring Veterans for Victory Day Week-end on Saturday,
    August 6, 2022 at 6:00 PM at the North Kingstown Town Beach Band Shell,
    10 Beach Street, Wickford, RI. An outdoor concert, bring chairs.

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