Tags Posts tagged with "2019 Veterans Day"

2019 Veterans Day

 

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3054 hosted its annual Veterans Day ceremony at Setauket Veterans Memorial Park Nov. 11.

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) joined veterans and residents to honor those who have served in the armed forces.

The ceremony kicked off at 11:11 a.m. and featured speeches from post Cmdr. Jay Veronko, Englebright and Hahn. The speeches were followed by a laying of wreaths at the memorial monument on the grounds.

Veronko spoke about how the day was originally called Armistice Day, and only honored those who fought in World War I. It was in 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, that Nov. 11 was renamed Veterans Day to recognize all who served.

“Those men and women were ordinary people until they heard the call of duty and answered it and left their families, their homes and their lives, not for recognition or fame or honor that we bestow on them today, but they left to fight to protect the freedoms of our country and maintain our way of life,” Veronko said.

At the end of the ceremony, post member Michael Russell, one of the trustees of the Rommel Wilson Memorial Fund, announced that the fund donated $30,000 to the post for the ongoing renovations of its building. The donation was given in honor of the Rev. Canon Paul Wancura, a former rector of Caroline Church of Brookhaven who died of injuries sustained during a Shelter Island home invasion in 2018. 

 

 

Close to 100 veterans were on hand for a Veterans Day tribute at the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University Nov. 8.

Highlights of the tribute included a performance from New Lane Elementary School students who sang a number of patriotic songs for the veterans and performed the Armed Forces Medley dedicated to the five individual armed services.

Fred Sganga, executive director for the LISVH, spoke on the importance of veterans’ sacrifices.

“Today we honor more than 56 million Americans who proudly wore the uniform on behalf of a grateful nation,” he said. “We all know the burdens of young men and women that they bear in America’s fight against terrorism and tyranny.”

Thomas DiNapoli, New York State comptroller and keynote speaker for the ceremony, said the holiday is a reminder of the strength that comes when people join together in a just cause.

“Every day should be a day to thank our veterans,” he said. “So much of what we now take for granted in our nation was guaranteed by each of you. And the sacrifices of countless men and women who helped preserve democracy and freedom in America and around the globe.”

Since opening in October 1991, the LISVH has provided care to more than 10,000 veterans.

 

The landmass of the Village of Shoreham is only .5 square miles made up of just over 530 residents, barely a dot on the map. Yet despite its small size the history of its past and current residents’ service and sacrifice were on full display Nov. 10. The day before Veterans Day, members of the Shoreham Village Association presented a new plaque representing 177 veterans who lived in or were involved with the small village on the shore.

In 2013, village residents joined together in a committee to do something to remember the names of these vets. During the village’s centennial celebration in 2013, Mimi Oberdorf, village historian, uncovered an older plaque naming World War II veterans. She approached Tom Spier, a local attorney and supporter of veterans, about getting the plaque restored, but that project quickly morphed into an attempt to include veterans of all wars since the nation’s founding. 

“For a project like this you have to be very determined, and Tom is very determined,” she said. 

“For a project like this you have to be very determined, and Tom is very determined.”

– Mimi Oberdorf

The committee included village residents Spier, Oberdorf, Lee Frei and Joe Falco. In truth, the project had also been attempted in 1995 by decorated World War II veteran and village resident Jerry Rich, though unfortunately the veteran became ill and the project had been put on hiatus.

From 2013 until now, Spier sent out letters to village residents asking them to name family and friends from any U.S. war that could go on the plaque. By 2019, the group finally settled on presenting the names on Veterans Day. 

“It’s been well appreciated by veterans and their families,” Spier said. “I learned a lot about guys whose names I heard of, but I knew nothing about.”

Spier had made the project a particular passion of his. Sitting down to look at the list of names, he had a story for what seemed like every other name. 

Ernest “Bud” Siegel, a Suffolk County police inspector and village resident, Spier said, was the lead man out of the aircraft as he led the airborne invasion into southern France with the 509th PIG. He was a recipient of three Purple Hearts who had gone Missing in Action twice during his stint. Hubert “Bill” Davis, a P51 pilot, shot down one of the first German fighter jets in World War II. 

“The list goes on,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of history, you just need to know where to look.  

The names go back to the Civil War, through World War II, where over 90 men connected to or living in Shoreham village served, up through Vietnam and including the Global War on Terror.

Veterans and community members packed the village hall the night before Veterans Day. Men of different eras and different wars mingled during the unveiling. Victor Tastrom Jr., a Vietnam War Marine veteran, swapped stories with Ryan Long, another Marine vet who served in Iraq from 2004 to 2008. It was the first time they had met, and now both their names are on the plaque in Village Hall. 

During the presentation, several women came to the podium to read letters village residents sent to their friends and family members overseas during World War II. The unveiling included small bits of history such as the small local newspaper called the Shoreham Item, which was run by two young men, Ed Barnhart and Wesley Sherman Jr., who later went off to fight in World War II. The paper was continued by the boys’ fathers, Al Barnhart and Wesley Sr., and the paper was sent to Shoreham boys as they were fighting overseas.

The plaque has empty pieces, and committee members said they will continue to accept names into the future.

 

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Local officials and veterans gathered at Port Jefferson Memorial Park for an unveiling ceremony of three new monuments to honor those who served in the nation’s most recent conflicts Nov. 10. 

The ceremony and unveiling completes renovations for three of four memorial sites located in Port Jefferson, Setauket and Stony Brook identified last year for upgrades. The new memorials honor those who served during the Cold War, Lebanon peacekeeping, the Grenada and Panama invasions, the two Gulf wars, the Afghanistan War and the War on Terror.

The work was spearheaded by a war memorial fund committee formed last fall through a partnership between Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars members, and the Long Island State Veterans Home. 

“Today is the unveiling of three new monuments that have been long overdue here — the previous three monuments only went up to the Vietnam War,” said Bill Wolf Sr., commander of the Port Jefferson Station American Legion Wilson Ritch Post 432. “We are dedicating three new monuments from the Cold War to our present-day wars we are fighting today.”

Hahn thanked the veterans present for the sacrifices they’ve made. 

“I want to thank the veterans here today for their services — this great nation is only free because of all the things they have done,” she said. “We’ve been working for a year and half to update these memorials … so when veterans come home, they can have the conflicts they participated in reflected here.” 

Dedication of the updated memorial in Port Jefferson was accompanied by the replacement of the site’s damaged existing stonework. Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) secured funding from her district parks budget to make these updates and other related work in advance of the installation of the new monuments. The Town of Brookhaven owns and maintains the memorial site in Port Jefferson across the road from Village Hall.

Phase 1 of the project has already been completed by expanding the memorials in Stony Brook Village and on Setauket Village Green. The final phase will comprise an update at Setauket Veterans Memorial Park near Se-Port Deli.

The approximate $35,000 cost for the memorials project is being paid largely through donations. Contributions are still being accepted for the phase 2 costs. As of Nov. 10, the project members have raised $29,000 since 2018.

Members of the committee will look to complete phase 3 of their project in time for next year’s Memorial Day. Wolf said the committee should have the funds by then to get the work done. 

Checks can be made payable and mailed to Veterans Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 986, Port Jefferson Station, NY, 11776, or can be hand delivered to the attention of Ed Kiernan at American Legion Wilson Ritch Post 432, 1450 Hallock Ave., Port Jefferson Station.

More information is available at the website americanlegionwilsonritchpost432.org.