A Park Named Craner * Cohoes Recalls a Hero
Cohoes Remembers Vets Craner Park Cohoes, NY Saturday, May 20, 2006
As a fighter pilot with the 37th Tactical Flight Wing Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Craner was on his second volunteer tour in Southeast Asia in December of 1967 when his plane was hit, forcing a bail out over North Vietnam. He was captured and imprisoned in Hanoi; for the first three years of captivity he was kept in isolation and subject to beatings and interrogations. Despite this, Craner had a
Pilot's Homecoming On March 23, 1973, Craner flew into Albany Airport, where a crowd of thousands welcomed him and his family. He said simply and with deep sincerity, "I want to thank all of you who came here today...this has been a most wonderful welcome. It feels real good to get back to my old hometown." A caravan of well-wishers accompanied Craner to Cohoes City Hall, where the enthusiastic
Cohoes again saluted Craner by declaring March 23, 2006 Robert R. Craner Day.
Eternal Tribute The City of Cohoes honored its hero Robert Craner by renaming the Devlin Street Park in the "Orchard" section of the city, near the place where he lived, as Craner Park. The rededication of the park was held on Memorial Day, Saturday May 25, 1974. Five hundred neighbors and supporters attended and further expressed their admiration by signing a full-page testimonial in an issue of the Times Record. During the park dedication, Mayor Virginia B. McDonald said, "This park will serve as a tribute to one of Cohoes' most honored sons, and as a constant tribute to all Cohoesiers that as long as this park bears his name, the word patriotism will never die." In his speech at the dedication, Robert Craner accepted the dedication (shown here) "in the name of all those living and dead whom you really honor." He called upon Americans to transform their Memorial Day sentiments "into meaningful reality" by helping those Vietnam veterans who "now require assistance in regaining their place in society."
Colonel Honored Craner received numerous military honors, including two Purple Hearts for wounds sustained during his internment. He also received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal in 1974 and the POW Medal. He was awarded two Silver Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, four Bronze Stars, eight Air Medals, the Legion of Merit, and the Air Force Commendation Medal. He was cited for heroism in combat, professionalism, and meritorious service in Southeast Asia. The 40 year old Cohoesier received his awards in a ceremony at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio on December 11, 1973 with his wife and children in attendance. While at Randolph AFB, Craner completed pilot requalification training.
Craner and his family moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, where he enrolled at Holy Cross College. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in Russian studies.
After graduation in May 1976, Craner traveled to Washington, DC, training as a military attache for assignment to Sofia, Bulgaria. He then trained in West Germany and served as air attache in Budapest, Hungary. He returned from overseas in September 1980 to study languages in preparation for his next appointment as Air Force attache in Honduras. But this was not to be. Following a massive heart attack, Col. Robert Craner passed away in Washington, DC on October 8, 1980. He received a burial with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. A Mass was offered in his memory at St. Bernard's Church in Cohoes the next day.
Cohoes can truly be proud of this fine citizen who never forgot his roots. In an obituary in the London Times Bernard Levin wrote, "...the language Robert Craner spoke is the oldest in the world, and the best, for it is the language of freedom, and it is spoken from generation to generation by the brave... I salute the memory of this valiant man."
Erected 2006 by The City of Cohoes.
Location. 42° 47.026′ N, 73° 42.561′ W. Marker is in Cohoes, New York, in Albany County. Marker is on North Mohawk Street near Devlin Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Cohoes NY 12047, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Misty 17 (here, next to this marker); Cohoes Mastodon (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sightseeing / Cataract House, Cohoes Falls, N.Y. (about 800 feet away); The Cohoes Mastodont (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Erie Canal (approx. 0.4 miles away); Cohoes - Waterford Bridge (approx. 0.7 miles away); White Homestead (approx. ¾ mile away); First Power Mill for the Manufacture of Knit Fabrics (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cohoes.
Also see . . . Arlington National Cemetery Website. (Submitted on March 12, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.)
Categories. • Patriots & Patriotism • War, Vietnam •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 12, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 870 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 12, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.