The Warwick Advertiser
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Warwick historians may one day record that key executives from local government performed official duties in Washington, D.C.
On Tuesday, November 12th, Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton and Mayor Michael Newhard traveled to the nation’s Capitol with members of local veterans organizations and other guests to represent the community at a reception honoring Warwick artist Robert A. Fletcher.
Titled “Remembrance,” an exhibit of 20 of Fletcher’s watercolors, depicting military funeral and other scenes from the Revolution to the recent war in Afghanistan, had been on display in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building during National Veterans Week, Nov. 11- 15.
At the official reception, guest speakers, in addition to the Supervisor and Mayor, included Senator John Warner of Virginia, Congressman Ben Gilman, Lieutenant Colonel James E. Stewart, Sr., New York City Deputy Fire Chief Joe DiBernardo and other honored guests. Officers and members of Warwick’s American Legion Post 214 and VFW Post 4662 participated in the ceremony, along with members of the New York City Fire Department and military organizations. Congresswoman Sue Kelly, who will represent Warwick in the next Congress and Representatives Walter Jones of North Carolina and Russell Wicker of Mississippi also attended the affair.
“What was special to all of us,” said Fletcher, “was that many of the people shown in my work were actually present and in uniform. Everyone was thrilled that they could photograph these lives models next to the paintings.”
The artist referred to the welcomed presence of Warwick’s Stewart family, the subject of his painting, Three Generations, along with other subjects. They included Nicholas P. Lesando, Sr., captured by the artist when he served as Grand Marshal of Warwick’s Memorial Day parade 2001 and Clayton Eurick, shown, in a painting, placing a Flag on a gravesite for Veterans Day. During the ceremonies, these uniformed guests received standing ovations.
A particularly moving event, reported Fletcher, was when Lt. James Ginty, Bandmaster of the New York City Fire Department Parade Band, played Amazing Grace and a selection of patriotic melodies on the bagpipes.
Adding a hometown touch, Warwick’s products of wine, cider and apples were contributed by the Sweetons, Applewood Wineries and Masker, Ochs and Pennings Orchards. A patriotically decorated cake was served to the guests courtesy of American Legion Commander John Woloszczak and his daughter.
The ceremonies concluded with a benediction by Pastor David Lipsey of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Pompton Plains, NJ.
Remembrance is also the titled of a soon-to-be-released book, co-authored with the artist’s son Robert B. Fletcher, of the military paintings along with historic commentary. Many of the selections are from the Warwick area. Remembrance, a tribute to America’s veterans will be sold nationally as well as locally through the American Legion and VFW. A portion of the proceeds from the sales will go to Children’s Miracle Network. Upcoming book signings will be announced in The Warwick Advertiser.