Voices of the People

“Thanks for your recent program (1981) involving the children’s letters to Vietnam vets. In twelve years, no one had ever thanked me for being over there until I read those letters.”

– P.T., Vietnam Combat Veteran (1967-1969)

“We experienced your act of thoughtfulness as a quiet and personal ticker-tape parade of recognition for our father and the other Vietnam veterans who never had one.”

– Children of a Vietnam casualty

“I feel that we heal a little more because we are able to ‘come together’ through you.”

– Marion Haskell, mother of Marine killed in Beirut Terrorist Bombing

“Your work has consistently represented the values of America. Through your caring, imagination and tireless exhaustion, you and your staff have made a statement for all of us. Thank you.”

– The Honorable Bob Dole, U.S. Senator (R-KS), 1968-1996

“For me, after 50 years, you have been my ‘healing miracle.’ Everyone grieves differently, they say, but until we had you, we grieved longer and harder.”

– Susan Curtis, Daughter of WWII casualty

“Without your support and belief in us, I would find it that much harder to move forward into a brighter future with my son.”

– Dona Bainbridge, Wife of victim of Pan Am103

“From time to time this world has been blessed with women of great and personal energies, indomitable courage and relentless spirit who have for reasons known only to them, chosen the ‘path less traveled’ and in doing so, have made the lives of others more rewarding, their burden less and their separate ways easier to follow. I believe that Carmella is one such woman with whom this country has been blessed.”

– Kathleen Ciletta, Mother of USS Stark casualty May 17, 1989

“I wanted to thank you for all the happy memories you gave me when I was a kid. When my father was killed by terrorists in Namibia in 1984, you not only helped to make a terribly difficult time for us a little easier, you made us feel proud of our father, and made us feel that what he was doing was important to the whole world. That made it all a bit more bearable. At a time the world seemed to be at an end, a little brightness crept into our lives through you (Carmella).”

– Molly K. Ehnew, Daughter of State Department Official Killed by a terrorist bomb

“Let me here pay tribute to your effort to the families of those who have helped to mollify their terrible grief and to remind us of the common bond of humanity that unites every mortal being, regardless of nationality, gender, race or creed.”

– Perez de Cuellar, United Nations Secretary General, December 21, 1989

“After meeting other sons and daughters at your tribute to our fathers, it was the first time in 45 years I did not feel alone.”

– Son of WWII casualty at the 1991 WWII Memorial Dedication.

“I recently became aware of your kind expression of care and concern for the surviving spouses and children of soldiers who died during the Persian Gulf Conflict and I want to extend the United States Army’s appreciation for your generous support.
The rose bouquet that your organization donated to each of these families provided them with comfort during their time of sorrow. I know they are grateful for the expression of care and concern you have extended to them.”

– M.P.W. Stone, Secretary of the Army

“Just knowing that there is someone else who has not forgotten makes life a little easier”

– Bill Hansen, Father of USS Stark casualty

“The flag you sent me made me realize the sacrifice my father made for this country. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you very much. You made 1980 the best Christmas I ever had since I lost my father.”

– Gene Smith, Son ofVietnam casualty

“Thank you for providing tickets to attend Pope Paul II’s Mass at Central Park for my Family. My daughter was very thrilled beyond measure of your surprise to arrange for her to receive communion from the Holy Father. You were a principle ingredient to the glue used to piece us back together.”

– Deidre Fortune, Wife of Pan Am flight 103 victim

“I want you to know how deeply I appreciate what you are doing for our children… this was our sixth Christmas without Cliff… this has always been the most difficult time of the year for us. What you have done in sending these mementoes to Colin, showing him that you care about his daddy, contributed to making it a happier Christmas for us. Thank you again for your compassion and concern. You have really touched the heart of this little boy and restored faith in the goodness of mankind to his mother.”

– Carolyn Chushman, Wife of Vietnam MIA

“Memorial and remembrance are so important. Those of us suffer the loss feel no one cares or ever thinks about our loved ones other than those of us in the immediate family and friends. The work you (Carmella) do provides a comfort beyond description. Those of us who are the recipients of your love and concern are blessed and our country is a better place because of the work you do.”

– Deborah Shelton-Harris, Mother of Persain Gulf casualty

“You (Carmella) have done more to boost my children’s morale than anything that has happened in the four years of their dad’s imprisonment. As a mother trying to reach two young men, I wish to thank you for all you’ve done for my children. They never get enough and watch the mailbox avidly and have been very rewarded.”

– Wife of POW in Vietnam

“As a KIA family since 1968, I always had a strange, displaced feeling that my husband’s death was almost an embarrassment. I want my 6-year-old daughter to be able to feel proud of her father, and even though the war was a grisly mistake, that he was a good, brave man. You gave me the help I need to express these feelings to her.”

– Patricia Taylor, wife of Vietnam casualty

“No other person has done more to perpetuate what Arlington National Cemetery stands for than Carmella.”

– Raymond Costanzo, Superintendent, Arlington National Cemetery (1975-1991)

“Carmella, you are the Guardian of Memory.”

– Scarlett Cressel, Daughter of casualty in Vietnam

“… my child and my sister’s child have a secure, stable home life due in part of the emotional support we received from you at the time when it was most needed.”

– Ben Newsom, Son of POW killed in Vietnam

“You have provided the opportunity to meet other families who have had a similar loss. This has given me a dear friend. It has given us the chance to watch each other’s young ones grow. No Greater Love created that venue for us. No other group besides the ‘families’ are able to connect so completely to our losses.”

– Sally Marsh Edwards, Mother of KIA in Gulf War

“Carmella is a cross between Mother Teresa and a drill sergeant.”

– General Charles “Crulak” C. Cerelac, USMC
31st of Marine Corp.