I attended 2 of the myriad events in Middletown on Thursday night (June 11.)
At 5:30 p.m., the Middlesex County Historical Society celebrated the introduction of Attorney Deborah Shapiro as its new Executive Director. There was a good-sized crowd (65 at its height) and Deb delivered a gracious speech about her love of the subject of history and how much she enjoys working in the General Mansfield House, the people she meets and all the amazing artifacts she comes in contact with. MCHS Board President Bill Ryczek spoke about the launch of the Society's Capital and Endowment campaign. A lovely spread of finger foods, cheese, fruit and desserts along with a nice selection of wines was enjoyed by the group. For more information about the MCHS, stop down to 151 Main Street - it's quite impressive.
Afterwards, I walked up to Congregation Adath Israel where the Veterans Memorial Theatre Organization presented "American Warriors: Scenes from Plays about 20th Century Wars." Many of the actors in the troupe have never participated in organized theater activities but all acquitted themselves admirably. The works chosen ranged from humorous to shocking to very serious to Ron Winter's recollections of his time in Vietnam and, especially, his boot-camp instructor and the leader of the his helicopter group. (His talk came from his book "Master of the Art: A Fighting Marine's Memoir of Vietnam." ) Most effective was the opening piece, a selection from Major Andrew Olmstead, the letter he left behind in case of his death while he was serving in Iraq (the Major was a victim of sniper fire.)
The organizers stressed that the pieces were neither anti- or pro-war and truly the work was apolitical. What was important is the majority of the selections exposed the audience to the different conditions our men and women face as soldiers, not only as they spend time in foreign lands and war zones but back here at home.
You can find out more about the Company by going to www.vetstheatre.org.