A great man is one who collects knowledge the way a bee collects honey and uses it to help people overcome the difficulties they endure - hunger, ignorance and disease!
- Nikola Tesla

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
- Franklin Roosevelt

While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken.
- Woodrow Wilson

Louis Cukela

Louis Cukela (May 1st, 1888 - March 19th, 1956) was a famous United States Marine. He was awarded both the Navy and Army Medals of Honor, as well as numerous decorations from France, Italy, and his native Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

He was born and raised in Split (while it was still under Austro-Hungarian rule), and subsequently attended the Merchant Academy and later, the Royal Gymnasium, both for two years. In 1913, Cukela emigrated to the United States and, with his brother, settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

On September 21st, 1914, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Three years later, on January 31st 1917, with war raging in Europe, he enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps. Following the United States' entry into the conflict, he went to France and fought alongside his servicemen in the 5th Marines.

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He was awarded both Medals of Honor for the same action near Villers-Cotterets, France, on the morning of July 18th, 1918, during the Soissons engagement. The 66th Company, 5th Marines, in which Cukela was then a gunnery sergeant, was advancing through the Forest de Retz when it was held up by an enemy strong point. Despite the warnings of his men, he crawled out from the flank, advanced alone towards the German lines and demolished the remaining portion of the strong point from the shelter of a nearby gun pit.

In addition to the two Medals of Honor, Major Cukela was awarded the Silver Star by the Army; the Medaille militaire (he was the first Marine officer ever to receive this medal), the Legion d'honneur in the rank of Chevalier, the Croix de guerre with two palms, another Croix de guerre with silver star, all by France; the Croce al Merito di Guerra by Italy; and Commander's Cross of the Royal Order of the Crown of Yugoslavia. He also received three Second Division citations.

Major Cukela received a field appointment to the rank of second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve on September 26th, 1918 and was selected for a commission in the regular Marine Corps on March 31st, 1919. Promoted to first lieutenant on July 17th, 1919, he was advanced to the rank of captain on September 15th, 1921. His promotion to major was effected on the day of his retirement, June 30th, 1940. After the war, Major Cukela served on overseas bases in Haiti, Santo Domingo, the Philippines, and China, and at domestic stations in Quantico, Virginia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Norfolk, Virginia; Hampton Roads, Virginia; Mare Island, California; Washington, D.C.; Nashville, Indiana, and Fort Knox, Kentucky.

On the 19th of March, 1956, Major Cukela died at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland. Following services at St. Jane Frances de Chantel Church, Bethesda, he was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, March 22nd, 1956.

His citation from the Navy reads:

For extraordinary heroism while serving with the 66th Company, 5th Regiment, during action in Forest de Retz, near Viller-Cottertes, France, 18 July 1918. Sgt. Cukela advanced alone against an enemy strong point that was holding up his line. Disregarding the warnings of his comrades, he crawled out from the flank in the face of heavy fire and worked his way to the rear of the enemy position. Rushing a machine-gun emplacement, he killed or drove off the crew with his bayonet, bombed out the remaining part of the strong point with German hand grenades, and captured two machineguns and four men.

His Army citation reads:

When his company, advancing through a wood, met with strong resistance from an enemy strong point, Sgt. Cukela crawled out from the flank and made his way toward the German lines in the face of heavy fire, disregarding the warnings of his comrades. He succeeded in getting behind the enemy position and rushed a machinegun emplacement, killing or driving off the crew with his bayonet. With German hand grenades he then bombed out the remaining portion of the strong point, capturing 4 men and 2 damaged machineguns.


People Directory

John Alexander Vidović

John Vidovic is a young musician and composer whose talents, work with students, and presence in various musical circles have already created a significant community impact. Mr. Vidovic specializes in classical guitar, music theory and composition. He has been playing guitar for 13 years and has accumulated 11 years of experience as a self-taught pianist.

John studied guitar with Michael McChesney and Barrios scholar Richard Stover, as well as voice with Christopher Bengochea. He graduated from UCLA with a BA in music composition. As a composer, he has 9 years of experience in composition ranging from solo works to large ensembles, including chorus, wind ensemble and orchestra. He has also conducted original choral composition under the direction of Maestro Donald Neuen with the UCLA Chamber Singers in Royce Hall in June 2011. Mr. Vidovic composed choral works for the West Valley College Chamber singers performed at the Finale concerts in May 2009 and December 2011. His main influences include music from Latin America, Romantic era music, and folk music from Eastern Europe.

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Publishing

Holy Emperor Constantine and the Edict of Milan

by Bishop Athanasius (Yevtich)

In 2013 Christian world celebrates 1700 years since the day when the Providence of God spoke through the holy Emperor Constantine and freedom was given to the Christian faith. Commemorating the 1700 years since the Edict of Milan of 313, Sebastian Press of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church published a book by Bishop Athanasius Yevtich, Holy Emperor Constantine and the Edict of Milan. The book has 72 pages and was translated by Popadija Aleksandra Petrovich. This excellent overview of the historical circumstances that lead to the conversion of the first Christian emperor and to the publication of a document that was called "Edict of Milan", was originally published in Serbian by the Brotherhood of St. Simeon the Myrrh-gusher, Vrnjci 2013. “The Edict of Milan” is calling on civil authorities everywhere to respect the right of believers to worship freely and to express their faith publicly.

The publication of this beautiful pocket-size, full-color, English-language book, has been compiled and designed by Bishop Athanasius Yevtich, a disciple of the great twentieth-century theologian Archimandrite Justin Popovich. Bishop Athanasius' thought combines adherence to the teachings of the Church Fathers with a vibrant faith, knowledge of history, and a profound experience of Christ in the Church.

In the conclusion of the book, the author states:"The era of St. Constantine and his mother St. Helena, marks the beginning of what history refers to as Roman, Christian Empire, which was named Byzantium only in recent times in the West. In fact, this was the conception of a Christian Europe. Christian Byzantine culture had a critical effect on Europe; Europe was its heir, and then consciously forgot it. Europe inherited many Byzantine treasures, but unfortunately, also robbed and plundered many others for its own treasuries and museums – not only during the Crusades, but during colonial rule in the Byzantine lands as well. We, the Orthodox Slavs, received a great heritage of the Orthodox Christian East from Byzantium. Primarily, Christ’s Gospel, His faith and His Church, and then, among other things, the Cyrillic alphabet, too."