“Hello!” WELCOME to my website! I hope you find it interesting and enjoyable!
To start you off on your journey of “American Serb History 101” with Baba Mim, what could be more appropriate than viewing the video above of Aliquippa, PA, USA’s very talented tenor, George Milosh, singing his incredible solo,
“Oce Nas” (The Lord’s Prayer) in our beloved
St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, PA 15001, which celebrated its 103th Anniversary on August 2, 2017.
(Ervin Dyer, Post-Gazette Staff Writer. “Chronicler pulls together photos of Serbian life and times in U.S.” Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 20 Jul 2001, pp. C1-C2.)
St. Sava is to the Serbs what St. Patrick is to the Irish
This site is dedicated to those who voluntarily desire to learn more about the wonderful American Serbian Orthodox heritage, responsibly empowering them to go on and pass their knowledge on to others. It celebrates, shares and sustains the vitality of the Serbs (artistry/empathy/inventiveness/big-picture thinking, the American principle of self-determination) for present and future generations. It promotes the continuity of a culture that has enriched America not only with material wealth, but more importantly, good values. Respect. Honor. Integrity. Importance of Education are but a few.
Fr. Dragomir Tuba and the children of St. Archangel Michael parish on St. Sava’s Day (Jan.27), Akron, OH , turning the Slavski Kolach, which they celebrated Sunday, January 31, 2010. Fr. Tuba and his family are now in the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Phoexnix, Arizona.
This site highlights the special American/Serb abilities of Innovation, Communication skills,
Thriving in a multicultural environment, and Working/Playing with a sense of passion,
and the Power of Perseverance, the ability to overcome adversities through pride & principles.
Imagination, Inspiration, and Enthusiasm for what they believe in.
(Soldiers & Sailors Museum in Pittsburgh, PA, USA: Serbian Folklore Festival, June 13, 2009)
The question was asked of me: “Why is St. Sava on the front page of your website?
Because St. Sava was the TEACHER and ENLIGHTENER of his Serbian people.
Because of Sveti Sava, we have something VERY special, our “Svetosavlje!”
Sveti Sava was the one who first said:
“Give up everything for Christ, But Christ for Nothing!”
1. Uskliknimo, s’ljubavlju,Svetitelju Savi, Srpske crkve i skole, svetiteljskoj glavi. Tamo venci, tamo slava, Gde nas srpski pastir Sava:
Pojte mu Srbi, pesmu i utrojte. (Repeat)
2. Blagodarna Srbijo, puna si ljubavi. Prema svome pastiru svetitelju Savi. Bosna i Hercegovina, Svetog Save dedovina,
S’tobom slave slavu, Svetog oca Savu.
3. Voyvodina pitoma; Srem, Banat i Backa, Slavonija, Banija, Lika i Krbava, Crna Goro sestro mila, Zdravo i ti, s’nama bila,
Da slavimo slavu, Svetitelja Savu.
4. Milesevo slavi se telom svetog Save, Koga slave svi Srbi s ove strane Save. Sinan pasa vatru pali, Telo Svetog Save spali,
Al’ ne spali slave, niti spomen Save.
(This verse tells about the Monastery Mileshevo where St. Sava’s body laid in repose for centuries before being burned by Sinan-Pasha. Although his body was burned, they could not burn out his glory or his memory.)
Matushka Kathy adds:
St. Sava’s body burned in Belgrade on Holy Thursday, April 27, 1595
Belgrade is bombed by the Germans on April 6th (Great and Holy Saturday) through April 10th, 1941
The allies then bombed it in 1944 on April 16th (Paskha Day-ORTHODOX EASTER!) and the 17th (Easter MOnday) trying to rid the Germans out of Belgrade.
The latest bombing took place as we all know from March 24, 1999 through June 5, 1999 which included Paskha (Easter), April 11, 1999.
5. Pet vekova Srbin je u ropstvu camio, Svetitelja Save ime je slavio. Da zivimo svi u slozi, Sveti Savo Ti pomozi.
Pocuj glas svog roda, srpskoga naroda.
(For 5 centuries, Serbs were under the Turkish yoke, but the name of St. Sava was always celebrated.)
6. I mi, tvoji Srpcici, s ove strane mora, Srpske krvi, imena; srpskoga govora, Slavimo te Sveti Savo, Srpske skole mudra glavo,
O dicnoga slavlja, Oche Svetosavlja.
(The last verse says…. “and we, your little Serbians, on this side of the ocean, of Serbian blood, name, and language, also celebrate you, dear Father St. Sava, you, who always valued knowledge.”)
His Grace, Dr. Bishop Mitrofan, with our gorgeous American Serbian children in Boston, MA, for St. Sava’s Day Celebration, 2009
This WWI silk pillowcase shows Serbia and Montenegro were with the ALLIES during that time period. Unfortunately, the Serbs’ undying loyalty to America was shamefully betrayed by men and countries who should have known better.
The Decani Monastery in Kosovo is under heavy guard because the world knows that the treasures INSIDE the Monastery are priceless heirlooms to the World!
Right inside this church is found the Nemanjic Family Tree history, one of the greatest frescoes ever made!
On this spot, in this church, they held the Serbian National Sabor in the 12th Century!
The very same church is where St. Sava was Christened!
I wrote this in 2006 before my Mom passed away…..:
“I remember when I said my poems to Sveti Sava 50+ years ago, and my 87 year-old mother can still recite hers. Her long poem ends like this:
“Sve vishnjem se molim Bogu, da nam daje ljubav, slogo. Da se brat sa bratom miri, da se Srpski jezik shiri, da slavimo Srpsku slavu, to nam zeli Svetitelja Savu!”
“I pray with all of my heart that God grants us love and togetherness; that brother with brother makes peace; that we keep alive our Serbian language, that we honor our Saints Day; that’s what St. Sava wishes for us.“
(Aliquippa & Monroeville Parishes)
By Milana Karlo Bizic, Jan./Feb. 2006
Let us sing with love to our St. Sava, Serbian churches and schools, glorify his holiness!
Wherever our St. Sava is, there are wreaths and glory, Sing to him, thrice!
These BEAUTIFUL children from Kansas City know all the words to St. Sava’s Hymn, “Uskliknimo” and sang it for me while their parents were performing for the 67th SSF Festival in Aliquippa, PA! 2008. They were in Joliet for 2009, and Chicago’s “One Love” too, in 2010!
These kids could make ANY heart happy! And, they’re young TEENAGERS now!
Here’s another song young American Serbs like to sing at picnics and other happy gatherings.
This song shows Serbs are proud of their Serbian Orthodox heritage: Thank you, Mother, for what you’ve given me! Truth, Freedom in my heart; Karadjordje and Voyvoda Stepa!
Kids in Phoenix waving their little Serbian flags! Photo from Denise K.
Display at the B.F. Jones Memorial Library in Aliquippa, in honor of the 67th Serbian Singing Festival held in the area Memorial Day weekend-May 23-25, 2008.
This is the Nemanjic Royal Family Tree from which St. Sava’s family originated. It is located in the Decani Monastery in Kosovo! There is a similar fresco in the narthex of the Patriarchate of Pec from the fourth decade of the 14th Century. This is our history! This is our future! We must always be vigilant in defending Kosovo for those who come after us.
Here I am lighting this candle in Decani Monastery in the name of all of the Serb National Federation members living and dead in America, who always defended Kosovo through the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries!.
These children from Serbia were on a field trip with their teachers to this Lazarica Monastery. Fr. Zivojin (from Cleveland) and I purchased candles for them to light for all the martyrs who died throughout the centuries. Then we all sang “Vjecnaja Pamjat” (Memory Eternal) and “Uskliknimo” together.
Here are some other Serbian teen-agers who are just like you, and their teachers at another Serbian monument.
It seemed everywhere we visited, school children were out learning more about their country’s historical sites! We made sure we told the students how very much we loved them all… each one of them!
These children BLESSED themselves before singing “Uskliknimo” for us!
Wherever our St. Sava is, there are wreaths of glory! We loved them!
Look at THESE children singing “Uskliknimo” in the St. Sava VRACAR Cathedral in Belgrade. They were on a field trip from Voyvodina schools, 2006.
(Above) St. Sava’s Cathedral in Belgrade
St. Sava’s Day in Aliquippa
by Milana Karlo Bizic 2-8-08
“Ko to lupa?” Who knocks on our heart on St. Sava’s Day each year the way Prince Rastko (our beloved St. Sava) knocked on monastery doors centuries ago?
In Aliquippa, PA, one could say it started this year watching ever reliable Bisa Kovachevich and her daughters Stephanie and Nada proudly bringing the Kolach and Koljivo up the steps of St. Elijah as the bells were joyfully pealing, calling the faithful to service.
Peering down from the choir loft, admiring honored Kumovi, Natalie Suder and Alex Osman, standing so upright, wearing their red/blue/white trobojnicas, holding aloft their special candles throughout the service with a pride not unlike that found in the finest of Serbian soldier flag bearers, counted as another joy.
Capturing with your eyes the Click! Click! Click! mental snapshots of a dozen gold-clad altar boys in absolute synch doing formations in front of the altar or left altar door with their silver and gold crosses, fans, and candle holders, better than any star football players making X’s and O’s moves on a chalkboard made it 3-0.
It’s your inside alertness alarm going off, with the promise of “coming soon!” —the hustle, bustling preparation of the distinguished tutors huddling around the small altar table, bringing the wine, kolach, koljivo, then giving the hand wave signal to the waiting Sunday School class representatives; the Kumovi passing their candles to the back so their hands are free to turn the kolach with Father.
Ko to lupa? (Who’s knocking?) It’s St. Elijah’s balanced and strong 35 member choir singing “Slava tebi Hriste Boze” (we celebrate You, Lord God), as the kolach is turned, and after all is said and done, a chorus of joyous “Mnogaja Ljeta” (“Many Years!”) and singing verse after verse of “Uskliknimo” as the well-pleased parishioners go up for nafora.
All this even before the first Declamatcia (Recitation) is said!
Ko to lupa?
The Sunday School Class of 2008 did a magnificent job of reciting their poems to St. Sava. Proto Stevan and Protinica Ana were as proud as peacocks as the children said their poems in perfect Serbian diction. Father said: “I want to congratulate our dear Sunday School Children for a job extremely well done. They were all so well dressed, so well behaved, so well prepared and so proud to say the poems they had worked so hard to prepare. This brings me to the dedicated parents and grandparents who brought these children to practices, and more importantly, who worked with them and practiced with them daily so that they would shine on stage. Afterwards, as I watched them run and play after the program, I was so proud and happy to see yet another generation learning and growing together in their Serbian Orthodox faith.”
Not only the parents and grandparents got kudos, but also the dedicated Sunday School Teachers and Program Coordinators, Georgette Osman and Brian Hayden. The Mother’s Club with Seya Mabee and Lynn Popovich at the head had everyone thanking them for a wonderful dinner afterwards.
From Juliana Mistovich’s flawless recitation of “Dobrodoslica” (Welcome) to endearing Elijah Kosanovich’s “Eto Dragi Gosti Mili” (Here we are, Dear Guests!), a big “thank you!” for a job very well done! St. Sava himself would have been so proud!
Special mention should be made of “Ostajte Ovdje!” (Stay Here in Serbia) a poem by Aleksa Santic performed flawlessly by Natasha Cvjetkovic. Update 2010: Natasha graduated from Hopewell High School and was the recipient of TWO academic scholarships!
Who is knocking at this hour
of the night so dark and scary
on the gates of silent, sleepy
Holy Mount monastery?
Peaceful dreams of monks at midnight
a cry pierced, and they awoke.
“Grey-haired Fathers, open the gates!”-
a voice begged. The silence broke…
“Lo! My soul seeks enlightenment,
and my body needs repose.
I am sleepy and exhausted,
I am weak, so weak… God knows
But strong is my will which made me
come to you and leave my kingdom
to dedicate life to people,
to my country and its freedom.
I abandoned Court and crown,
throne and scepter made me weary;
I came here to seek enlightenment
in this humble monastery.
Open the gates, honored Fathers!”
(This voice filed the hearts with shudder.)
“Accept me, a prince and ruler,
as your modest, younger brother.”
Heavy gates were slowly opened.
Hinges squeaked. A frightened owl
spread its wings and flew in darkness
like a lost and lonely soul.
At the threshold of the temple,
where God’s name is highly rated,
with a lighted torch uplifted
the guardian-Father waited.
When he lifted his torch higher
the light formed a radiant bow;
a boy barefooted and innocent
stood outside in the snow.
His face was pale like an icon.
Unkempt hair his head protected.
Yet a wisdom divine, holy,
on his forehead was reflected.
The old monk embraced the youngster,
on his forehead a kiss implanted.
“We accept you, dear child,” – he said,
“Your wish and plea have been granted.”
Many ages have since gone by,
( All this happened long ago),,
many ages have since flown
and many more will yet flow.
But that boy lives even now,
deathless, as it is his story.
He was RASTKO, son Nemanja’s,
SAINT SAVA, clad in glory.
By Vojislav Ilic. Translated from Serbian and versified by Fr. Mateja Matejic
 Mateja Matejic, Glorifying Saint Sava, Kosovo Publishing Co, Columbus Ohio, 1977, 8-9
From Left to Right, 1st Row:
This particular information from St. Bishop Nikolai appeared in the St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church Bulletin of Easter, 2014.
Truly, the very foundation of everything mentioned above is FAITH IN CHRIST.
If you have not in you any of the virtues mentioned above and you still call yourself a Serbian,
then you are only wearing a name of a famous firm on an empty shop.
This is something I do not wish for you nor would you wish it on yourself.
To say-be a good Serbian but your faith is unimportant, it is the same as if to say to a sheep–be well fed and fattened, the pasture is not important!
NO ONE can be a good Serbian unless he is a good man to start with.
In the world there has never existed a power which could make a man perfectly good except the power of the faith in Christ.
Therefore, don’t wish to be a Serb without substance.
May you neer have a fool for a guide nor a godless Serbian for a partner.
This is my wish for you.
Bishop Nikolai on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the “St. Sava Lodge #1” of the former society “SLOGA” which merged with the Serb National Federation in 1929:
(Click on the lower right hand bottom to enlarge this for your use!)
I am indebted to very talented artist, Milan Kecman of Ohio, for this beautifully executed copy of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet.
(Photo by Milan Karlo, 1948, American SERB LIFE magazine)
The key: In the same way that a well rooted tree withstands the winds, as light is preserved in darkness, and as truth is preserved amidst lies.”
“O Serbia, beloved mother!
May you always have good fortune,
Your children love you,
And for you they pray to God.
Land of our forefathers, Knights, and saints.
For the honor of the cross, martyrs,
For freedom, defenders.
Grave to grave — holy cemetery, There rest Serbian slaves.
And all altars to altars, The legacy of Serbian kings.
On Kosovo, Gracanica, On the mountain, Studenica,
By the Morava, Ravanica,
In Krusevac, Lazarica.
From every battle to battle,
Before and after VidovDan.
You are everywhere poured out in blood,
Everywhere awash in tears.
There Kosovo sadly stands,
Counting five centuries of slavery,
Memorial of glory and heroism,
And discord and betrayal.
Fear not, beloved mother,
God WILL give to you good fortune.
And you will be most happy,
And of all, most praised and glorious.”
July 28. 1918-2018
Tamo Daleko 1918-2018
The visual-literary exhibit “Тамо далеко: 1918-2018″/ “Over There, So Far Away: 1918-2018,” celebrating the Centennial of the victory of Serbia in WWI, was on display during the academic symposium on Thursday, July 26, and at the Gala Banquet on Saturday evening, July 28, 2018.
Created by Mr. Marinko Lugonja and Mr. Marko Kentera, this exhibit was presented by the Office of Religious Education of the Serbian Orthodox Church Eastern Diocese in cooperation with the nonprofit organization Art Exchange.
Click on the link below to the Serbian Eastern Diocese to read more about the glorious posters and their purpose.
“The Presidents of the two oldest Serbian organizations in the United States, the Serbian National Defense Council of America and the Serb National Federation, issued today the following joint statement:
“Next month we will join Serbian-Americans from across the country in Washington, DC, under the Patronage of His Grace Bishop Irinej and the World War I Centennial Commission of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of a Day of Prayer for Serbia and the historic flying of the Serbian flag at the White House.
“This important milestone, which will be marked by a series of events, is an opportunity to reflect on the historic alliance and friendship between the United States and Serbia that saw us stand in defense of our shared values in both World Wars—from the Salonika Front to Operation Halyard. It will also be an opportunity to recall a time when our community helped shape, through its unique contributions and active involvement, policies and decisions that reflected those values.
“In a time when so many of our people continue to face oppression and persecution, when so many still remain driven from their homes, when our churches and monasteries and cultural heritage remain under threat—it is once again important for the voices of Serbian-Americans to be heard in our Nation’s capital.
“We encourage you to be a part of this historic commemoration and look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC.“
Nebojsa Zivkovic, President Serbian National Defense Council of America .
Nebojsa Zivkovic works hard!
John Martich, President Serbian National Federation
Lloyd Theodore Poe is an American politician who has represented Texas’s 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 2005.
Co-chairing the Serbian Council in the US Congress, Congressman Ted Po of Texas handed the letter of Prime Minister of Serbia Ani Brnabic on Wednesday 25 July, 2018.
In a letter, Honorable Mr. Po requests to publish a document related to the trial and execution of the leader of the JVoO and the Chetnik Movement Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic.
We bring the text as a whole:
General Mihailovic played a key role in the rescue of hundreds of foreign pilots during World War II, including US missions. He and the people he commanded showed extraordinary courage in defending our pilots during the Halyard mission, so I believe that it would be honorable and memorable to make the public circumstances of his death honorable.
Americans will never forget the courage and companionship of the Serbs, especially Draza Mihailovic, shown during the Second World War. I hope that together we will be able to educate future generations of Americans and Serbs about our long historical friendship in order to survive in the years to come.
I want to thank you sincerely for your visit to Washington. In the spirit of friendship between the United States and the Republic of Serbia, I am pleased to present you with the request to disclose material related to the trial and murder of Draža Mihailović.
We were all so proud of the many roles John Buffalini played throught the five days in Washington, DC.
After a picnic lunch enjoyed by all at St. Luke’s, we heard all about the plight and horrible, frightening conditions of the Serbian people living in Kosovo from this Representative.
7:00 P.M. – Gala Banquet at the National Press Club on the occasion of the Centennial.
12:00 P.M.- Opening Prayer for the House of representatives by His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America at the U. S. Capitol Building.
Click the link below to hear the Bishop’s speech:
3:30-5:30 – Reception at the U.S. Capitol-House Visitor Center 201 co-hosted by the Serbian American Congressional Caucus, the Embassy of Serbia and the WWI Centennial Commission.
1:00-5 :00- Academic Symposium at the National Press Club sponsored by the Serbian National Defense Council of America. The Speakers were: His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America and Ambassador Djerdj Matkovic.
Professor Dr. Krinka Vidakovic-Petrov was the Keynote Speaker. She was followed with a Panel Discussion led by Dr. Branko Mikasinovic as Moderator, Prof. Dr. Gordon Bardos, Prof. Dr. Julian Schuster, Hon. Branko Terzic and Rev. Dr. Vasilije Vranic.
5:30-Reception at the Carnegie Institution for Science, sponsored by the Republic of Srpska Office for Cooperation, Trade and Investment.
On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson, the Republic of Srpska Representative Office in America, together with the Committee for the Marking of the 100th anniversary, organized a reception for friendship in honor of this anniversary and the President of the Government of the Republic of Srpska, Zeljka Cvijanovic, at the Washington Institute for Science in Washington.
Former Congressman Bob McEwan recalled in his address the words of US President Woodrow Wilson, after the end of World War I, and stressed that Memory for one’s nation is most important.
(Just click on the lower right hand corner of the photos to enlarge them.)
7:00 PM – Concert & Cultural Program at the Carnegie Instituion for Science sponsored by the Serb National Federation. Performances by the String Quartet of the School for Musican Talents from Cuprija, Serbia, and the Serbian Singing Society “Lira” of St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church of Washington, DC.
His Grace Bishop Irinej thanks the St. Luke Lira Choir for their fine performance at the National Institute of Science. They also performed at the National Press Club for the Gala Banquet.
What a marvelous job this famous Serbian actor and Director did reciting great passages from heart!
Saturday – July 28th
10:00 A.M. – Pan-Orthodox Hierachical Divine Liturgy with a Memorial Service at St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral National War Memorial Shrine in Washington, DC, followed by a luncheon sponsored by St. Luke’s Serbian Orthodox Church.
A most inspiring service with almost 30 clergy, followed by a Luncheon hosted by St. Luke’s.
Beautiful ladies from St. Luke’s! Prijatno!
7:00 P.M. – Gala Banquet at the National Press Club on the occasion of the Centennial.
These “Soldiers” sure looked impressive in front of the large WWI poster that featured President Woodrow Wilson and Prince Regent Aleksandar Karadjordjevich!
How we all loved these three!
Branko Terzic served as Master of Ceremonies for the Gala Banquet. He is shown here wearing his double headed White Eagle medal, the highest honor Serbia can bestow on someone.
An evening of first class entertainment!
These two Visnick beauties are the pride of their mother and father (Joyce and Milan Visnick), but also all of us!
The line up of talent shown here was superb! Click on the lower right hand corner to enlarge the photo!
10:00 A.M. Hierachical Divine Liturgy at St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD
Greeting His Grace, Bishop Irinej are the young girls from St. Luke’s Parish in Washington, DC.
Grand niece, Amelia Bizic and her aunt Mim Bizic at St. Luke’s Family Picnic, a beautiful ending to a great celebratory event.
12:00 P.M.-Family Picnic, hosted by the St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD.
Alex Malich visited Helen Bentley on June 28, 2016 before her passing. Upon seeing him she said, “It’s the Serbian holiday, Vidovdan. You know how much I love the Serbian people. Stay Serbian!”
Helen passed away on Saturday, August 6, 2016, surrounded by her family and friends.
“For starters, there is simply no substitute for hard work, and plenty of it. Persistence pays. And some doors are best opened with a good kick.”—HELEN BENTLEY
She was called “THE WATERFRONT ROCKY”
3 Phoenix Serb Beauties!
Internet Flowers for you, Helen!
Helen Delich Bentley shares the precious items she inherited many, many years ago from her beloved +parents at the SNF Convention in Windsor, Canada, 2007
Medals, pinbacks, King Alexander of Yugoslavia memorial necklace pieces, Serbian Society badge and the black ribbon worn for funerals. This one is of the Lika and Krbava Svetog Spasitela.
Srpsko Provosl. Bratstvo Lika i Krbava Svetog Spasitela = Serbian Orthodox Brotherhood of Lika and Krbava Holy Guardian/Saviour …..
Note the 4 C’s surrounding the cross. CCCC in Cyrillic or in English, SSSS = Samo Sloga Srbina Spasova or “ONLY UNITY SAVES THE SERBS!”
Also note the crossed American and Serbian flags atop the badge pin. This same custom of displaying the dual identity of being a good American without losing your Serbian identity is still frequently seen today.
However, note the spelling of Serbian. During WWI the country was known as Servia, so this is a SERVIAN society.
Fact is that Servia/Serbia was loved so much, there was even a huge Ship named the S.S. Servia. You can find information on this ship at the Ellis Island Immigration Center records.
Update: Dec. 20, 2010
Via a Christmas Card,, I learned that Helen turned 87 this year and is still working as a lobbyist. She says it keeps her brain alert and her body moving around. She was named “Industrialist of the Year” by the Baltimore Museum of Industry on whose board she sits. She also sits on the board of the Pride of Baltimore II, Baltimore’s promotion clippen ship which she christened in 1988, taking seven swings on that oe because they failed to score the bottle!
What a wonderful role model she has been and continues to be for all of us! Sve najbolje, Helen!
(Helen is the baby on her mother’s knee in Ely, Nevada, born in 1923)
On November 17, 2013, over 500 of Helen’s relatives and friends helped her celebrate her 90th birthday at the National Historic Landmark, the old Platt Oyster Cannery buiilding, now the Baltimore Museum of Industry (since 1977), located at 1415 Key Highway, in Baltimore, MD, by the NW branch of the Patapsco River. Two former Governors of Maryland (Robert Erlich, Jr. and Marvin Mandel_ and many U.S. Congressional figures including Senator Barbara Mikuski, Senator Paul Sarbanes, Reps. Steny Hoyer, C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberge and John Sarbanes, and Elijah Cummings, joined in the exciting tribute to a woman who has done so much for America, and especially the Maritime Industry as a journalist, TV documentarian, legislator and consultant.
(Helen’s real birth date is Nov. 28t)
Helen D. Bentley served the 2nd District in Congress from 1985 to 1995, but her focus was always on the Port of Baltimore, where the public terminals are named after her.
Helen was he maritime editor of the Baltimore Sun, head of the Federal Maritime Commission, and is still working as a port consultant. It was due to Helen’s foresight and lobbying, the speakers said, that Baltimore is one of the most recognized ports in the world, so that even the largest ships coming through the Panama Canal could dock in Baltimore.
The speeches went on too long, didn’t have a chance to present this:
Helen Delich Bentley, Serbian Super Woman
By Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic
November 17, 2013, Baltimore Museum of Industry
In 1948, Helen wasn’t a U.S. Congresswoman yet. Nor did we know then that she would be honored in 2004 for the 300th Anniversary of the Port of Baltimore Gala where she received flowers from Governor Erhlich and the incredible acknowledgement that henceforth the nearby waterways would be called The Helen Delich Bentley Ports of Baltimore. How honored I was to be there for that incredible occasion.
Our adventurous, achievement-oriented Helen has been an inspiration, always leading others to new skills and getting them out of their comfort zones. She never practiced the “Good Enough” theory, but lived a thrilling tapestry of life, making a difference in other people’s lives, challenging others to follow her lead. She has been a motivator who always walked the talk, and she has stayed true to her values.
An excellent United States Representative, she has nevertheless stayed true-blue to her American-Serb roots too. Twenty four years ago, on June 28, 1989, Congresswoman Helen, my sister Dr. Rose Gantner and I were present at the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo on Vidovdan, along with 3 million other Serbs, when our own government refused to acknowledge the importance of this date, and event, and even boycotted it!
Now, this coming June 28, 2014 will be a special time in Philadelphia, marking the 625th Anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. There will be a celebration acknowledging the great contributions of 200 years of Serbs in America, starting with George Sagic Fisher who helped Steven Austin and Sam Houston win Texas, and who helped lay the cornerstone of the Washington Monument in our country’s capital. Along with famous scientists Nikola Tesla and Michael Pupin, for sure, we know there will be information about Helen Delich Bentley and her great deeds on display there.
Congratulations once again to our always electrified, live-wired Helen.
She will live forever in our hearts and souls!
She is not at age 90 an elderly woman, but a true ELDER, a custodian of wisdom.
Our own Sensational, Significant, Successful, Splendid HELEN! CCCC/SSSS!
U.S. Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley
and General Draza Mihailovich
(Thanks to Aleksandra Rebic and her website)
Reference: Vol. 136 No. 36
Congressional Record — House
Thursday, March 29, 1990
101st Congress 2nd Session
136 Cong Rec H 1341
Reference: Vol. 136 No. 36
A TRIBUTE TO GEN. DRAZA MIHAILOVICH
[*H1341] The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Maryland [Mrs. Bentley] is recognized for 60 minutes.
MRS. BENTLEY. Madam Speaker, I am pleased that the distinguished gentleman from Illinois, Congressman Philip Crane, suggested that we use this special order today to discuss a very heroic and courageous man, Gen. Draza Mihailovich.
Today’s special order is a very timely one, Madam Speaker. Today marks the 42d anniversary of General Mihailovich being posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit Award by President Harry Truman.
And 2 days ago, on the 27th of March, we commemorated what would have been General Mihailovich’s 97th birthday.
Unfortunately, however, most of our Nation’s citizens do not even know who this brave freedom fighter for democracy was.
Perhaps more telling than anything else about General Mihailovich is the fact that he was the bitter enemy of both the Nazi occupiers of Yugoslavia during World War II and the dictatorial Communist government of Broz Tito who ruled Yugoslavia after the war.
It was Tito’s government that was eventually responsible for the mock trialin a kangaroo court that culminated in the execution of General Mihailovich.
What better day is there than this one to remember why President Trumanposthumously awarded the Legion of Merit Award to General Mihailovich?
While World War II was raging in central Europe, over 500 American airmen were shot down behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia.
These men were rescued, protected, and returned to safety by the freedom-fighting Chetnik forces under the command of Draza Mihailovich, whoseforces fought first against the Nazi occupiers and then against the Communist forces that held sway over Yugoslavia.
I would like to quote from a letter sent to me recently from Maj. Richard L.Felman, U.S. Air Force, retired. Major Felman was one of these American airmen whose life was saved by General Mihailovich.
Major Felman includes in his letter a public thank you to General Mihailovich, saying, “Thank you, General Mihailovich, for saving the lives of over 500 of our boys while they were serving in the defense of our country. No one else has ever done that and we as a people and a nation are mighty grateful!”
Mr. Speaker, Major Felman is indeed correct in stating that no one has done so courageous a deed for American soldiers behind enemy lines as Gen. Draza Mihailovich.
When President Truman awarded General Mihailovich the Legion of Merit Award on March 29, 1948, the brave general was already dead.
Mr. Speaker, we have only recently been able to officially confirm this highhonor bestowed upon the general. This information became available after the records in the National Archives were opened to the public 40 years after the end of World War II. Here is a copy of the award on the front cover of a Serbian publication “Pogledi.”
LEGION OF MERIT CHIEF COMMANDER
General Dragoljub Mihailovich distinguished himself in an outstanding manner as Commander-in-Chief of the Yugoslavian Army Forces and later as Minister of War by organizing and leading important resistance forces against the enemy which occupied Yugoslavia, from December 1941 to December 1944. Through the undaunted efforts of his troops, many United States airmen were rescued and returned safely to friendly control. General Mihailovich and his forces, although lacking adequate supplies, and flighting under extreme hardships, contributed materially to the Allied cause, and were instrumental in obtaining a final Allied Victory.
Harry S. Truman
March 29, 1948.
General Mihailovich was tried and executed by Communist authorities on the grounds that he collaborated with the Nazis during the war.
The American airmen who were under the general’s protection knew that this was a patent lie, and had the evidence to disprove it.
Not only did the Yugoslav Communist government refuse the American airmen permission to come testify, but they also disallowed any use of their written testimony altogether.
Over 600 pages of sworn testimony by American airmen were presented by our State Department to the general’s legal counsel, and thrown out at his trial.
Mr. Speaker, a great injustice has been done against the name of DrazaMihailovich. But time has proved what our boys, shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia, knew all along.
General Mihailovich was both a Yugoslav patriot and freedom fighter, not the traitor that the Communists executed him as.
[*H1342] I urge all Members of Congress to join me in commemorating thelife of Gen. Draza Mihailovich on this very special anniversary.
Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. Crane].
“She has been called the Fighting Lady, because she persists until she gets it done. She’s true to her word and doesn’t play games. And Helen is one of the most knowledgable people on maritime matters in the entire world. I’ve been with her on international visits, and was so impressed by the respect shown to her by those in the martime world.” — William Donald Schaefer, former Maryland Governor and Mayor of Baltimore
“Whenever there is a problem in the port, people turn to her to find solutions.” –– The Baltimore Sun
(Click on this HELEN BENTLEY website to learn more about her awards and achievements.)
Shorter Info below from PORT OF BALTIMORE site:
The Honorable Helen Delich Bentley’s first career was as a maritime reporter and Maritime Editor at The Sun, where she created the most-respected maritime section in the nation during her 24-year tenure, breaking important national stories through dogged determination and a personal style that made her famous from boardrooms to the docks. Her coverage of the supply problem for America’s war effort in Vietnam led to the institution of containers as the preferred method of cargo transport.
In 1950 she moved into television. Bentley produced, directed, edited, wrote and did interviews for her series, “The Port That Built a City,” and, later, “The Port That Built a City – and State.” Throughout, she still wrote and edited at The Sun. Her focus on the Port of Baltimore intensified both public and government awareness of the Port’s substantial economic impact on Maryland.
From 1969-1975, Bentley served as Chairman of the United States Federal Maritime Commission. At the time, she was the fourth-highest ranking woman in Federal government history.
From 1985-1995, Bentley served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District. While in Congress, she sat on the Appropriations, Budget, Public Works & Transportation and Merchant Marine & Fisheries Committees, in addition to the Steel, Art, Northeast, Human Rights and Trade & Tourism Caucuses.
Since 1995, she has been President and CEO of Helen Bentley & Associates, Inc., specializing in government relations and business development. Bentley is also a consultant to the Maryland Port Administration and a small businesswoman.
Throughout her career, Bentley has tirelessly promoted two primary issues – the advancement of America’s maritime community, and America’s industrial/ manufacturing base.
“Wow! Look at the riches!”
That means this is over 100 years old!
Thanks for sharing, Helen!
Amelia Bizic, 2012,
Maja Plecas, 2013
Jocelyn Bizic, 2013
Helen helped open
the doors for all of you!
Photo taken of Helen Delich Bentley’s typewriter on display at the Museum of Industry, the one she used while the maritime reporter for the Baltimore Sun.
Helen’s extended family came in for the party from all over the USA.
Dr. Rose Karlo Gantner and sister Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic of Pittsburgh, former U.S. Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley, and Stephanie Lalich Adams and her daughter Caroline Lalich Adams, from the Washington, DC area.
Stephanie is the daughter of the famed Nick Lalich, hero of the book THE FORGOTTEN 500 by Gregory Freeman, documenting the incredible rescue of 500 U.S. airmen from behind German-occupied lines in Serbia (Yugoslavia) during WWII.
Nick and Helen were good friends for years before his passing.
Reading about Helen Delich Bentley on this website made former Mayor of Aliquippa, PA, Dan Britza, share this story on Saturday, April 14, 2012:
(Aliquippa, PA, but it is a town that is truly hurting, dying from poverty, ever since the Steel Mills closed down in the 1970’s.)
“I just visited your site and read about my friend Helen Delich Bentley. She looked me up at Kennywood in the ’80’s because she knew about Aliquippa and found out that I was the Serbian Mayor. She had seen me on CBS Sunday morning and read several articles about us in the New York Times, several national magazines and other TV pieces.
“We had a great conversation and made contact many times after that.
“She brought several members of her Congressional Transportation Committee, including the Chairman from Arkansas, to town and I took them on a tour of the city.
“She even provided the PAT bus.
“Before leaving, she, the Chairman, and I met alone and they both promised help for our community. Within weeks, she got back to me to let me know that a $12 million grant was being prepared for help with our infrastructure.
“We received it and the plan to span 7 years of work mainly replacing streets and the work involved with it.
“I expressed our gratitude many times. She did that and demanded no fanfare which was unheard of in political circles.”
It was with great regret we learned the passing of one of America’s most unique women warriors, a fighter for Justice and Equality and Women’s Rights. She broke the proverbial “glass ceiling” decades ago with all of her notable achievements.
A memorial will be held in Baltimore in October, 2016. Among the crowd is anticipated to be politicians from the highest level, industry colleagues and many of the middle-class and blue-collar workers-all of who cherished her over the years and knew she was a trusted friend to all she met.
Here is a list of just some of thsoe honors she received:
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism with honors, University of Missouri, 1944.·
Awarded 10 honorary doctorates:·
University of Maryland, Doctorate of Laws, 1970·
University of Portland, Doctorate of Humane Letters, 1972·
Bryant College, Doctorate of Humane Letters, 1972·
University of Alaska, Doctorate of Laws, 1973·
University of Michigan, Doctorate of Laws, 1974·
Goucher College, Doctorate of Laws, 1979·
Villa Julie College, Doctorate of Humane Letters, 1986·
Marine Maritime College (ME), 1991·
University of Missouri, Award of Honor, 1993·
University of Baltimore, 1999
Mrs. Bentley’s numerous national and international honors and awards include:·
Containerization & Intermodal Institute’s CONNIE Award·
USS AOTOS Award, 1971·
International Maritime Hall of Fame, 2004·
Governor’s International Leadership Award, World Trade Center Institute, 2006·
Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers: Life time Honorary Member, 1969·
Navy League of the United States, Robert Thompson Award, 1973·
United Kingdom Chamber of Shipping – London, England, Annual Dinner Honoree, 1973·
Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers – New York, Jerry Land Medal Recipient, 1974·
Council of American Masters Mariners, Life Member, 1975·
American Security Council, National Security Leadership Award, 1987·
National Propeller Club – Washington, DC, Maritime Industry Salute to Congress, 1987·
New York Foreign Freight, Forwarders & Brokers Association, recognition plague, 1972·
Marine Society of New York, Honorary Member, 1985
Former Congressman Phil Crane
November 25, 1969 – January 3, 2005
MR. CRANE. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding, and I commend her for taking this special order on this important occasion.
Madam Speaker, on this day 42 years ago, President Harry S. Truman upon the recommendation of the Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit — Chief Commander, to Gen. Draza Mihailovich. This award, which is the highest military honor that can be bestowed upon a foreign national, was granted in recognition of the general’s role during World War II. In the words of President Truman:
“General Dragoljub Mihailovich distinguished himself in an outstanding manner as Commander-in-Chief of the Yugoslavian Army Forces and later as Minister of War by organizing and leading important resistance forces against the enemy which occupied Yugoslavia, from December 1941 to December 1944. Through the undaunted efforts of his troops, many United States airmen were rescued and returned safely to friendly control. General Mihailovich and his forces, although lacking adequate supplies, and fighting under extreme hardships, contributed materially to the Allied cause, and were instrumental in obtaining a final Allied Victory.”
Madam Speaker, I would only pause for a moment on this point, having read that citation from President Truman, and, as I say, upon the recommendation of General Eisenhower, to say that our State Department to this day continues to parrot the falsehood that there is not documentation to support the award that was made by President Truman upon the recommendation of General Eisenhower, and since the Soviets have come clean about the Katyn massacre, I think it is about time our State Department comes clean on this issue.
Madam Speaker, the reason for our tribute to General Mihailovich is first and foremost our gratitude to him and the Serbian people for saving the lives of over 500 American airmen. Despite having been betrayed by the Western Allies as a result of a misinformation campaign spearheaded by the Soviet Union, General Mihailovich orchestrated the rescue of those very same men whose governments had turned their backs on him.
At the end of the war, the Committee of American Airmen Rescued by General Mihailovich was established for the purpose of erecting a monument to the general, in Washington, DC, or its environs, in recognition of the role he played in saving the lives of the 500 American airmen. The committee of airmen will finance the project in its entirety, including construction and any subsequent maintenance costs.
In 1974, the airmen petitioned Congress for permission to erect the monument on public land. Legislation to this end has been introduced in every session of Congress since. I have been the chief sponsor since 1984. In the past, the legislation has had as many as 90 cosponsors in the House. Hearings have been held on it, and twice it has been passed in the Senate by voice vote. Although it has the support of such organizations as the AFL-CIO, the American Legion, and the Air Force Association, the debate over how it will be received by the Yugoslav communist government has been a major stumbling block.
The purpose of this ongoing legislative effort is not so much to make amends for a great historical injustice, or to clear General Mihailovich’s name, but more simply, to provide retired American servicemen with the opportunity to recognize someone who sacrificed his life to save theirs. After 45 years of delays and inaction, the least we can do is provide these remaining rescued airmen with an adequate means to express their appreciation.
Congressional Record — House
Thursday, March 29, 1990
101st Congress 2nd Session
136 Cong Rec H 1341