Veterans Enjoy Festivities as they Pay Tribute to One of their Own

May 3, 2019

 

courtesy of Glenn Della-Monica and Ilona Reinitzer

Despite foreboding weather early in the day, Saturday the 27th turned out to be a festive and enjoyable day for more than 30 veterans and their families.  Over 70 people turned out for the third annual Hudson VFW Post 5791 Veterans Appreciation Picnic.

The Hudson Fish and Game Club graciously donated its grounds for the event, and, by 1 p.m., the grove was filled with the savory smells of hamburgers and hot dogs grilling. As the picnickers sat down to the lunch honoring all of the veterans present, Post Commander Christina Madden made an important announcement.  A proclamation from Governor Chris Sununu had been received by the Hudson Post honoring a special guest, Sergeant Major Julius Reinitzer.

As a teenager, he was taken prisoner by the Nazis during World War II to work in a labor camp outside of Auschwitz.  After escaping from the Germans, he joined the Czech underground resistance.  When the communist government took over Czechoslovakia Julius was forced to flee into Germany or face imprisonment by the communist government for helping his twin brother escape into Germany.  He then began working for an espionage agency for the United States where he was given several different missions.  During one of these missions, Julius returned to Czechoslovakia where was shot and captured by the Czech border police.  He spent the next several years in prison and labor camps.

After escaping from two different labor camps, Julius made it back to Germany where he joined the Army.  He relocating to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and became a member of first Special Forces (Green Berets) unit established in June 1952 and was the last remaining member from this group when he retired 30 years later in 1982.  He also served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War.

Before Commander Madden read the Governor’s Citation, the assembled group was treated to the presentation of the colors by members of the Alvirne High School JROTC, followed by the singing of the national anthem by Julius’ own granddaughter, Sierra.  After the citation was read, the veterans, many highly decorated themselves, gave Julius a thunderous round of applause.  Julius stayed at a table signing his book, “The Nine Lives of Julius” written by his daughter Ilona, regaling all who came to visit him with tales of his exploits.

Julius had another surprise a bit later when Commander Madden announced that Chris Scott from Senator Jean Shaheen’s office had arrived with another commendation for him. Chris read the commendation to everyone’s enjoyment.

In addition, many children and grandchildren of the veterans were enthralled by three special vehicles on display in the parking lot.  The Hudson Fire Department sent a crew along with the town’s newest fire truck and an ambulance.  One five year old saw the huge crew cab of the fire engine and was convinced it was a bus until his 9 year old brother pointed to the wording on the door as he spelled out F-I-R-E.  His younger brother broke out in a huge smile and ran to examine the truck and its high- tech controls and fittings.

Also on the grounds was a Hudson school bus with its driver, a military veteran.  A message board outside the bus reminded all that the bus company is currently hiring school bus drivers.

The smaller children played a few games including a ball toss game where candy was the prize (everyone who played won).  The end of the picnic was a treat of a different sort for some of the attendees. A dozen people, from eight years old to a veteran in his seventies, walked to the outdoor range where they were all treated to a well-supervised plinking session.  Air rifles and .22 caliber rimfire rifles were provided, and several children and adults fired a rifle for the first time.  One of the first-timer adults amazed himself by shooting 10 shots into a two-inch circle.

The picnic organizers all expressed their gratitude to the Hudson Fish and Game Club for the use of the property again this year.  The weather was a bit chilly, but only a few sprinkles marred the otherwise festive day.  The VFW state recruiters also reported that four new VFW members were recruited, including one Vietnam Vet who had been procrastinating — for the last 42 years! It was a great day celebrating all veterans.