His military duty is very well defined. He served as a gunner aboard a B-24 Liberator, flying many successful missions. He survived the war, not to mention a serious illness in 1985 that nearly took his life. He had been told by a radiologist that he had an 85 percent blockage of his right carotid artery.
He presented that Cher painting to the hospital that performed the life-saving surgery.
The guitars he crafts are fashioned after an Antonio Torres model, a famous guitar-maker in the mid-1800s. He’s passed the talent on to twin grandsons who are perpetuating the art. The entire family is musically-oriented.
Ask him about his favorite idols and he’ll tell you Stradivari, who lived to age 94 making violins, and Leonardo Da Vinci, artist extraordinaire, for “all his talent and insight.”
The Veterans Day poem symbolizes a moment in time meant to be cherished and appreciated by all those who served this country in the name of freedom. He titles it “The Irony of Veterans Day Celebration.”
“While giving thanks to those who perished to serve
How shall one who lived receive thanks for having served?
For ‘tis strange to hear all grateful beings
And I with survival guilt, receiving thanks for serving
Having lived with trials and mounting fears
Only to have survived the cruelties of war
While wonderful young soldiers thrust into hell
In the prime of their lives, subjected to the death knell
So ‘tis I that gives thanks for having survived
And wish to beg you, allow me to contrive
Though your grateful thanks and celebration are nice
Allow me to convey your thanks to those
Who have paid the ultimate price
Thank you for your thoughts
And God bless all you precious souls.’’
Writer and photographer Tom Vartebedian is retired from The Haverhill Gazette. He contributes this regular column.