Friday, May 22, 2015

Honoring and Remembering This Memorial Day

Memorial Day is upon us and as we fire up those grills or hop in our cars to visit friends and family, Pete and I also want to let you know that The National Hotel will be closed on Monday, May 25th, in honor of all our men and women who sacrificed so much for our freedom. We hope that you will enjoy the long weekend and join us as we take a moment to pay tribute to so many who have died in service to their country.

Our little town has an annual celebration in honor of these men and women, with a parade starting at 10 a.m. Each year, the streets fill with people waving flags, cheering on the veterans marching down the road, and enjoying a parade filled with nostalgia. The end is as meaningful as the beginning, with a low-flying plane dropping flowers above the Frenchtown cemetery.

As we collect our thoughts on the importance of carving time to pay homage to these fallen veterans, Pete and I thought it best to close The Rathskeller Pub (a.k.a. The Rat) this Monday, and we hope you'll understand. We'll reopen for Monday Madness the following week and we hope to see you then. We thank you for your understanding.

May has just been an incredible month of communal cooperation. From patrons stopping by to make
donations for our Nepal Earthquake Relief fundraiser, to even the Frenchtown Business and Professional Association (FBPA) donating to this cause. I'm happy to report that the funds were sent to Nepal, and that the National Hotel matched the gifts collected with its own contribution. I can only thank the two individuals, Lulu Rana-Gupta and Neeru Khadka, who were the genesis for this small grassroots fundraiser, because Neeru is on the ground in Nepal doing all she can to organize, distribute aid, and impact change. Concurrently, our other dear and long-time friend, Lulu, is based locally in NJ and is doing all she can to encourage and motivate friends and businesses to also raise money to send to Nepal and help those in need. And best of all, every single dollar contributed was sent overseas.

This tragedy brought me right back to the 2010 8.8-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Chile. The human suffering was immense, My cousin, Rolando Ara, and his wife, Fran made their way south to the devastated areas, and together, a doctor and a psychologist, respectively, they raised funds, and distributed aid and first-hand assistance, making a difference in a very personal and significant way. And what about right here, locally? 

How about all the good work that the Frenchtown Angels, including Dawn from Country Chic, Frenchtown Police Chief, Al Kurilka, Officer Paul Murphy from our Frenchtown Police Department, and so many other volunteers, did after SuperStorm Sandy left absolute devastation south of us? Even we at The National Hotel tried to help with those efforts, as well as blocking off some rooms so that our community members whose homes were affected and had no water, could use our facilities and have hot showers. There are countless tales of selfless souls in our area who took in neighbors who lost power and who provided car trips to school for children who had no access to school bus transport with roads blocked or homes damaged during that difficult time. Our vibrant community showed that we care about that single solitary individual and we will do what we can to help him/her, even through personal sacrifice.

It is an honor to live in this community, to be a part of the fabric of Frenchtown, and Pete and I are always grateful that we have been embraced and included. There really is no better place in which to live!

On June 8th, Frenchtown is also holding a blood drive and we hope to see you there. On our end, we have our weekly Saturday Night Live Music series tomorrow, featuring Marc McManus, and Alan Wilcockson on Sunday, May 24th, part of our Sunday Musical Afternoon series. We hope you'll join us this weekend for our weekend Additions to the Menu, some music, and some much deserved pampering by our staff. It's going to be a great weekend together!! Don't forget about the rest of the week's programming, including our weekly Wednesday Karaoke Night, Thursday Open Mic Night, and more!

Please continue to send us your comments via email or on this blog. We look forward to seeing you soon at The National Hotel. Thank you for your continued patronage.

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