Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We Must Learn From Their Era's Example

By Joseph Kellard

Occasionally an unusual, even incredible story falls onto a journalist's lap. It happened to me in 2003, when I was a reporter for the Oceanside-Island Park Herald. After Ed Hynes read my article on Nat Glanz, these two fellow World War II prisoners of war decided to reunite.

It's incredible that they had met for just 10 minutes in a Nazi prison camp nearly six decades before, yet Hynes remembered Glanz from certain details in my article about his war experiences. Incredibly, they had both lived in Oceanside all those years, and even belonged to the same veterans organization, but never knew about each other until after my story appeared in the Herald.

That story still makes me reflect on my seven-plus years as a reporter, writing about people from many walks of life, and how among all of them, I’ve come to learn about and respect no group of individuals more than war veterans. Growing up, I'd never attended Memorial Day or Veterans Day ceremonies. But after hearing the vets and their supporters speak while I reported on those events, particularly after Sept. 11, 2001, I began to understand their significance more deeply. And no vets are more significant to me than those who fought in World War II.

They were called on to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan, two evil regimes bent on America’s destruction. With the fall of both regimes at American hands — especially the decimation of two Japanese cities with atomic bombs — our leaders set an example to the equally evil Soviet regime (a parasitic "ally"), which sought world-wide Communist rule, that it too could meet with our nation’s unprecedented military might and will to use it.

This is why men such as Hynes and Glanz — who fought at the Battle of the Bulge, were imprisoned together in a Nazi camp, and witnessed the tragedies of war-torn Europe — should be admired and endlessly thanked. They put their lives on the line so that they, their loved ones and all of us can enjoy the freedoms that have made America the most advanced, prosperous and greatest nation in history — a status earned thanks to our forefathers’ original and core ideal that each individual has an inalienable right to his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

When I watched as Hynes and Glanz embraced and exchanged war stories at their first meeting in sixty years, I realized how special it was for me to be among two members of a rapidly shrinking fraternity who fought in history’s most significant war. I still think about how vets like them are ordinary men, but are nonetheless extraordinary in what they helped accomplish. In short, they fought to preserve the only ultimate hope for mankind and civilization: the United States of America.

Today, I am also reminded of how we are in the midst of a new war (well, actually a war whose origins can be traced to the Iranian theocrats who took Americans hostage in 1979), one in which we face an enemy of Islamic radicals who are as evil, and in certain respects more dangerous, than their Nazi and Communist predecessors. They seethe with hatred for America’s ideals and her outstanding success, and they seek not merely to conquer, but to annihilate us infidels and our way of life, and would certainly do so if given the chance.

Hynes and Glanz embody an era of Americans who righteously and confidently faced down, fought and destroyed those earlier threats to this great nation. Let's hope the lessons of their lives, and the moral certainty with which they and their leaders’ fought World War II, are not lost on us today. Those lessons and, more importantly, their implementation in action are our only hope.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Finally, A House He Can Call His Own

Architect builds California-style home in Long Beach

By Joseph Kellard

At around 9 a.m. on Mother’s Day, guests arrived at the Henrys’ residence on East Walnut Avenue. The group of four didn’t even know Kathy Henry, mother of four, or her husband Matt.

But the Henrys are used to having uninvited guests. This quartet was the latest group to stop by to get a closer look at their new, five-bedroom California-style home, still under construction at the corner of East Walnut and Roosevelt Boulevard.

"This should be in Architectural Digest," one woman half-joked as she greeted Matt where the backyard L-shaped pool wraps under the house.Passers-by and friends alike have told the Henrys that their flat-roofed, sand-colored home seems more suited to the beach or the Hollywood Hills than this neighborhood of older homes, some 1930s Spanish-style — like the one the Henrys tore down to build their new one.

"We get that all the time," said Matt, 39, standing in his yard, which was crammed with ladders, scaffolding, wheelbarrows and a large green dumpster. "Some people stop and talk and ask what kind of home is it. Others say thank you. They tell me, ‘I want to see it when it’s done.’ People just show up. It’s really been exciting."

Henry, a general contractor trained as an architect and a lifelong Long Beach resident, owns HKH Construction, a design company that focuses on residential remodeling. But he has never built his own home, which, he says, has been much more daunting and nerve-racking than building houses for others. But it has also brought him closer to his growing family.

"He waited a long time to do this," said Matt’s wife, Kathy, 41, who is six months pregnant. "When someone mentions the house, I say it’s all Matt. He’s had the ideas for years and they’re his drawings.

We’ve been in the house over 10 years, and we’ve waited a long time to do it. So it’s a testament to his patience and hard work."

In 2002, Matt drew up the plans for the house while coloring with his children. He was inspired by books on Richard Neutra, a prominent architect of the 1940s who was famous for his California moderns. "He did a modern style with a natural feel," Henry explained.

When he began mulling the details of a design, Henry, a graduate of New York Institute of Technology, brought sand from the beach to match a stucco exterior to give the house the appearance of emerging from the sands.

Although the house is modern, he explained, he and Kathy are striving to give the interior a natural but old feel. They hope to achieve this effect not only with the architecture, but also with the materials they’ve chosen: stone-like tiles in the bathrooms instead of porcelain, and walk-in closets on the second floor with sliding doors made of wenge, a dark-grained wood that contrasts with the blond maple floors.

Henry also designed parts of the exterior to integrate with the interior. Each projected, block-shaped section outside the house is paneled in rustic cedar, which in one area will extend onto a broad white wall in the living room.

"Exterior walls pulling in aren’t characteristic of modern design, which has more of a streamlined, sanitary look, whereas the cedar kind of warms it up," Henry said, citing the influence of architect Richard Meier for these touches.

The high-ceilinged living room will have a staircase and a balcony, and a large picture window looks south down Roosevelt Boulevard toward the ocean. A triple-sided fireplace divides the living room and the family room.

In the basement, Henry plans a kids’ playroom that may double as his office, and a staircase will spiral up three floors. The master bedroom has a three-level ceiling ranging from eight to 10 feet high, and the master bath has a special feature: shower heads in the ceiling that project water like rain.

For Matt, the most difficult part of the project was making this house different than anything he’s built before. "When you’re in the industry for 20-something years and you work on enough houses, you kind of get into this track where you don’t want to do what you did at someone else’s place," said Henry, who worked for architect Mike Burkhold, an NYIT professor, in Seacliff and developer Alexander Wolf & Son in Manhattan before starting HKH Construction in 1998.

"At every turn I was stifling myself by saying, ‘you can’t do that because you did that at so-and-so’s house,’" Henry continued. "But that’s silly because there are always going to be some similarities between the houses you build. And what I’ve done for other people has been beautiful, so why not celebrate that and take advantage of that a little bit?"

Henry periodically took his plans to the city’s building department and architect committee to find out what exactly city code permitted. He had to ensure that his home fit the character and style of the neighborhood — including the Congregation Beth Shalom building, which abuts his property and also has a flat roof and square structure.

"In the end, taking up the property and doing this house like we did, for me it’s a love, and I’m inspired by my wife and kids," said Henry, whose family is living temporarily in a home in East Atlantic Beach until mid-summer, when they hope to move into their new digs. "But more than anything, it’s also almost a love or trust and confidence in Long Beach. It’s the town as well, and I wouldn’t make this investment if it weren’t that."

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Introducing My Journalism Blog

I've created a new blog devoted strictly to my favorite articles that I wrote at work for the Herald newspapers here on Long Island.

The few articles I've posted so far were all written and published over the past couple of years, most of them within the last few months. If some seem familiar, that's probably because you've already read them here on this blog.


~ Joseph Kellard

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Commentary Rewrites My Letter on Iran

By Joseph Kellard

I’d like to report that Commentary magazine published my letter about Iran in the May issue. But they cut and rewrote the original so significantly, that not a single sentence is as I wrote it, and it only hints at my main point.

Anyway, the Norman Podhoretz essay on Iran that I replied to can be read here:

My letter and all the others published in response to the essay can be found here:

And below is the published version of my letter, followed by the original.

To the Editor:

Norman Podhoretz argues that the United States should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, but would this be sufficient? The mullahs might simply reconstitute their nuclear program, or they might attempt a spectacular terrorist attack on our troops in the region or on American soil. Only if an effort were made to topple the regime would a bombing campaign be worthwhile.

To the Editor:

The problem with Norman Podhoretz’s essay “Stopping Iran: Why the Case for Military Action Still Stands” (February 2008) is that it is too timid.

In the debate over gun control in this nation, some Americans who uphold the Second Amendment properly point out that guns don’t kill people, people do. And that also holds true for nuclear weapons — it’s not the weapons per se that are the danger, but the people who possess them. Podhoretz’s essay is premised on the false alternative of whether or not the United States should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. This is a false option because even if the administration or another did bomb those targets, the “people” -- that is, the American-hating Islamic fanatics that rule Iran -- would nevertheless live another day to rebuild those facilities, or import nuclear capabilities from other dictatorial regimes that threaten us and other free people.

The case for bombing Iran is unquestionable, given the war its regime has waged on America for nearly 30 years (including in Iraq and Afghanistan today). The only question to rationally debate is to what extent our so-called leaders need to bomb the ruling mullahs and ayatollahs, their nuclear facilities and their mosques and schools that preach “death to America.” Only when we use devastating force against them will their threat to America be eliminated.