Richard is a vet. He served in Korean and saw front-line action — nasty stuff, actually, the kind of action that, when you try to talk about it, the words get caught in the throat on their way up from the heart and the mind just won’t let you go there again. I know. My dad fought in the thickest part of the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945. My brother Pete came back from Vietnam with nightmares.

You don’t serve on the front of combat and come back the same person. Richard told me about his earlt-1950s Asian experience once. Honoring his confidence, we shall keep the details to ourselves. We can say this much: Harrowing. Absolutely harrowing.

Richard made it back to the states in once piece, bodily, but his combat experience in that frozen battleground messed with his soul. He battled the post-war demons upon his return to a country that never understood what we were doing there. The Korean mission was ill defined, the obectives never clear, and the end game uncertain. In fact, in 2010, the Korean War is still going on, suspended in a perpetual truce between North and South that could erupt again. The war has never ended.

Today, Richard holds his own in gentrified Stockbridge, a resolute survivor, a man who has won the love and respect of a town in a location where he has a prime-time view of life as the la-de-dahs live it in the Cole-Hahn milieu that so much of South County has become for the neveau riche.

The Price is Wrong

Richard got to THE PLANET with something that hit him to the core. He told us of an unanticipated body blow that has upset this proud veteran more than he can say. When we met him, he reached into his wallet and pulled out a piece of folded newsprint. Richard slowly sunfloded the paper, as if he were reverse-engineering a paper sculpture. The unfloded paper showed an ad from the Berkshire Eagle, inviting people to place an Verterans’ Day ad honoring those who answered the call. Fine. All good, except for the price.

Ricahrd’s  problem was with the $27.55 price tag for the ad.

“I couldn’t sleep last night, after I saw this,” Richard said from his perch inside his favorite coffee bar. “This is wrong. The Eagle should be running ads to honor our [veterans] for free, you know, as a public service. But to charge this much or anything. It’s terrible. I’m thinking about all the families who don’t have that kind of money for an ad. What do they do? What are they thinking? Who’s going to help them? They are left out. This is just a gimmick [by the Eagle] to make money off of us [vets]. I was going to write a letter to the editor about this, but they wouldn’t publish it.”

Fighting for The Little Guy

That’s why and upset and demoralized Richard came to THE PLANET. He came to us via an intermediary because he knows we will always take up a fight for the bedraggled Little Guy.

Richard saw things no one should ever see in that frozen hell that was Korea. He was up near the Chosin Reservior near the 38th parallel when a vast influx of North Korean and Chinese troops surrounded a large contingent of G.I.s. There was only one way out. It wasn’t pretty.

As for the Veterans’ Day ad promotion, THE PLANET, as all of you have, has seen these types of newspaper marketing ads for Valentine’s Day, Patriot’s Day, Secretary’s Day, Get a Hickey Day, and every other type of “day” where the marketing and ad department of the paper can score some quick dough. I can understand that, up to the point where guys like Richard draw the line over the tasteless Vetern’s Day promo.

This is Veterans’ Day. Has it become so trivial that we should look for ways to cash in on one of the most fervent and selfless actions a person can undertake? In this age of Twitter, where all is ephemeral, have we become so oblivious of what this enduring day means for the families and loved ones of those who have served, many of whom paying the ultimate price?

A Simple and Honorable solution for the Berkshire Eagle

The solution, of course, is for the Berkshire Eagle to buy a huge amount of community good will and offer small ads — free — to all veterans who want one. If the fear is that the onslaught would create a stampede, we say, fine. Everyone who gets a free ad will buy the paper. Media News Group will make money, and the big boys in Denver will be happy, since that is their prime directive. 

We owe more than we can repay to guys like Richard and all veterans. To put a price of $27.55 for the privilege of honoring a sacred trust smacks of dishonor. THE PLANET holds little hope that his small editorial will sway the policies that are dictated from Denver, Colo., but we do hold hope that by bringing this issue to light, more than one veteran will know there is a place that takes up their cause and cares for them like a buddy in a foxhole. That place is this website.

We thank all who served and who now serve.


  1. Scott Laugenour
    November 6, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    Thanks for passing this on, Dan. I saw the sales pitch in the Berkshire Eagle the other day, too, and it turned me off in a similar manner. (There was also a glaring, bold, large-font typo/misspelling of “Thursday” in it.). I’ll share this with veterans whom I know and I encourage others to do so. We’re becoming marketed to death these days. Too bad so many brilliant minds who are graduating from business schools end up doing this callous stuff.

  2. Bill Sturgeon
    November 6, 2010 at 7:06 am #

    Thanks Dan for bring this issue to your readers attention. So much for we are doing all we can for our veterans. Because of people like you we (the veterans) do feel remebered.


    • danvalenti
      November 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

      Thanks. I feel strongly about this, and I hope we can start something to get the Eagle to back off. Wouldn’t mind a bit if you took my post and ran with it on one of your upcoming segments. We might be able to have an impact.

  3. H Heine
    November 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Dan thank you. Its an outrage that veterans and their families should have to pay for this. People will argue that its a choice, but on veterans day, there should be no way these brave men and women should have to choose between paying 27.55 (dont you just love the 55) or not being honored.

  4. richard h carlotta
    November 6, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    what would the fish-wrap paper charge to print a photo of a FLAG DRAPED COFFIN or REMAINS in a BODY BAG?

  5. richard h carlotta
    November 6, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    correction: my outfit, 29th Inf Reg, based in Okinawa sent 3rd Battalion to Hadong—1st to Anui—both were decimated–3rd, 313 KIA, 100 captured/executed out of 600—1st, about the same number of casualties–both were called massacres—survivors were transferred to other units–29th disbanded—later reformed at Ft Benning, Ga. “and that’s all I got to say about that” Forrest Gump”

  6. J Hunt
    November 7, 2010 at 7:41 am #

    Thank you all for serving this great country. You make me proud to be an American! Dan, thanks so much for sticking your nose out there on behalf of the great men and women who work to protect the Constitution of the United States of America.

  7. Ron Kitterman
    November 7, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    Thanks for the post Dan. This is one of those issues that cuts to the bone. We too often forget the very freedoms we enjoy and the sacrafices made by those that gave service to our country. ” You don’t have to wear a patch on your arm to have honor ” from a Few Good Men. We can all do our part, but profit motive $27.50 wow let me get out my checkbook. The Denver team is reachin high on that one.

  8. Captain Obvious
    November 8, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    Valenti is using this faux-outrage to bash the Gazette’s competition (as if the Gazette could be considered competition).

    Thank you to the Eagle for making it easy (and darn cheap!) to publicly thank our Veterans. It is not just something they deserve, but would appreciate.

    Valenti is trying to prevent people from thanking Veterans by guilting them and/or threatening the buyer’s of the ads with some sort of undeserved bashing.

    Shame on you, Dan Valenti. Shame on you!

    • danvalenti
      November 8, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

      I would like to tell you your hyperbole is true, but honesty prevents me from such a tall fib. The outrage is real. Talk to the vets, the men and women for whom I am speaking and fighting.

  9. Joe
    November 9, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    Captain obvious,
    I have nothing but disdain for you if you chose to defend the eagle on this money making adventure. I do not know Dan Valenti’s motivations and I do not care about those motivations. I tend to think his outrage is real, and in any case thank him for bringing the Eagle’s indefensible actions to light.

    • danvalenti
      November 9, 2010 at 11:20 am #

      I can tell you my motivation has been simply to bring light to what I agree is an injustice to are veterans. I have deep love for those who have served. It’s as simple as that. My critics often use these types of attacks on me, since they can’t win on the facts or even the interpretation of facts.

      • Captain Obvious
        November 10, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

        Facts? All of Valenti’s writings are based on opinion, speculation, rumor, and/or innuendo. Facts are a rarity in Valenti’s scribblings.

        Let’s get past Valenti’s obvious selective choice of using so-called “facts” and let me ask Valenti & company this: is it just the Berkshire Eagle who you consider evil for paying homage to our veterans, or do you also find fault with those who care enough about the veterans in their lives to purchase a public tribute?

        • danvalenti
          November 10, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

          My reporting and commentary are factually based, opinion driven. Captain, your comment about “selective” displays a profound ignorance of the writing process. News is made and reported by human beings; selectivity is inevitable. The point is Truth, not so-called objectivity. As to your questions, they conveniently avoid the points I’ve raised in the name of veterans. You have used the amateur’s argumentative ploy: dodge the issue and introduce irrelevancy. Sorry, my good friend, but I shall have to give you F on this exercise.

  10. richard h carlotta
    November 16, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Dan, I sincerely appreciate the fact you brought the issue of the $27.55 charge the “fish wrap” paper requested to place a photo of a VETERAN in a “special issue of their “news” paper.I have discussed this with several local VETERANS who praised your article.They all agree the current CIC, Berkshire Eagle and most of the Media are not in concert with our brave Servicemen and Women who are serving and protecting our country.In the event of the next World War, possibly with China, it is doubtful the left wing-liberals will change their views.But I am certain there will be Patriots to answer the call to serve and protect the UNITED STATES OF AMERICAN. Dick Carlotta 29th Inf Reg RA11167399.

  11. richard h carlotta
    November 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY U.S.MARINES! 235 years! that’s older than most of us…

  12. Emmanuel Kampmann
    November 26, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Give SK 10 Nukes ( they probably already have operational control) and let them duke it out…..China will do NOTHING….NK has never been anything but a a Burr up their Butts, costing them Money, Lives and Trouble…..China won’t lose a Penny in Exports over N.K. Just worthless non-working Bums that drain China’s resources

  13. Nolan Sugai
    November 27, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    South Korea…United States here, since our wimpy president doesn’t know how to behave (or lead for that matter) in this situation, you have the “green light” to beat North Korea and Kim Dung Il into submission. If you need relief supplies…let us know!