American Legion hosts annual Memorial Day service, honors Steven J. Crowley

American Legion hosts annual Memorial Day service, honors Steven J. Crowley

Members of American Legion Post 432’s color guard. Photo courtesy Bruce Miller
By Sofia Levorchick

Members from American Legion Post 432 in Port Jefferson Station gathered at Steven J. Crowley Memorial Park in Terryville on Memorial Day, May 29, honoring and remembering America’s veterans. 

Every year, the post spotlights Port Jefferson native Steven J. Crowley – the man for whom the park is dedicated. Crowley served as a security officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and died in the line of duty in 1979 when a student riot attacked the American embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. He was just 20 years old. 

The ceremony began with the color guard as Post 432 members saluted in silence, provoking a solemn and patriotic spirit. Edward Haran, commander of Post 432, delivered  the dedication, honoring those who gave their lives in service to the nation. 

“May the ceremonies of today deepen our reverence for our old friends and comrades, especially Corporal Crowley,” the post commander said. “Let us renew our pledge of loyalty to our country and its flag. Let us resolve by word indeed to emphasize the privilege and duty of patriotism.” 

He then welcomed the Crowley family to place a wreath and flowers in honor of their fallen loved one.

Ladies Auxiliary members during Memorial Day services on Monday, May 29. Photo courtesy Bruce Miller

A legion member’s trumpet let out the somber tune of “Taps” as the American flag was lowered. Haran concluded with, “To all those who stand with us today, you will now consecrate yourselves with us to emulate the sacred service that those who rest in the heroes’ [graves] may not have died in vain,” he said.

After the ceremony, Mike Williams, chaplain of Post 432, discussed why this annual service is held in Crowley’s honor. “Crowley is prominent in our post, gave his life for our country, and we must remember and honor him,” Williams said, emphasizing that Crowley was a local man whose influence and legacy are still felt within the post and greater community.

Haran advised those in attendance to seek to learn from Crowley’s example of service. “I think what they can learn is the sacrifice that he, and others like him, made for our country and all the wars,” he said. “Just keep them in our minds and offer prayers for the families of the veterans.” 

The legion members also reflected on the meaning of Memorial Day. Williams referred to the day as a moment to reflect upon and honor America’s fallen.

“Memorial Day is a day of solemn remembrance of all those who gave their lives to our country,” he said. 

Haran noted the personal significance of the day. “I lost a number of friends during Vietnam,” he said. Memorial Day “gives me pause to go back and think about them and offer a prayer for them.”

Before the American Legion members left to attend another memorial service in Port Jefferson and the Memorial Day Parade in Setauket, Bruce Miller, second vice-commander of Post 432 and Vietnam War veteran, spoke on behalf of the Steven J. Crowley ceremony, emphasizing the value of appreciating and honoring fallen heroes and the legacies they have left for the nation. 

“It is important to remember these people on this day — and all days — for they have sacrificed much,” he said.