"Don't Worry, I'll Take Care of You, Sweetheart" -- Celebrating Veteran's Day at the Lakewood Public Library
It would be foolish to take freedom for granted at the Library - especially in this community where we take pains to exercise our many rights to the fullest extent whenever possible. That’s why we believe that we cannot do enough to honor those who served, in war and peace, to preserve our way of life. In recent years, the country as a whole has paid more attention to the armed forces serving today and we have lionized the “greatest generation” of World War II. But still, there are forgotten wars…Who won the War of 1812 and why? And what exactly was Alan Alda doing in Korea all those years?
Local poet Vladimir Swirynsky is a veteran of the Vietnam War. He's not much concerned with covering himself in glory, but he has been deeply moved by the stories of his fellow vets and their struggles in and out of the service. Finding inspiration at the V.F.W., the author of numerous critically acclaimed books of poetry has set aside his poetic quill to write his first major work of prose - a biography of a Korean War veteran who has proven to be the kind of friend we would all be lucky to have. While history books, with specific purpose, narrow their focus to key battles and top brass, Swirynsky's Take Your Time But Hurry Up tells the story of a single soldier and the thirteen months that changed his life. But it doesn't stop there. Decades follow and life goes on. The service of a soldier doesn't end with the clearing of a battlefield.
Robert Collins is an old man now and not without health problems. But he has the wide smile, deep laugh and beaming pride of a fresh-faced young man eager to serve. He is unstoppable. At the beginning of their friendship, Swirynsky may have had some notion of charitably helping the old man out, but he has since resigned himself to the mutual benefits of brotherhood. Collins might need a wheelchair and tanks of oxygen to get around, but when Swirynsky recently found himself in need, Collins was there. He said, "Don't worry. I'll take care of you, Sweetheart." And Swirynsky knew that everything would be all right.
Both men will be appearing at the Lakewood Public Library on Monday, November 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium to celebrate the service of all veterans. Books will be available for sale and signing. Stories will be shared. Questions will be answered.
Local artist Artur Berg will also be on hand with paintings and sketches of the service from many wars. The Krakow-born immigrant is directly inspired by the courage of America's armed forces and captures this admiration in striking portraits, perfect for the day. Some of his portraits will be on display in the Main Library's second floor gallery during the week leading up to the event.