By Karina Gerry
Sound Beach community members gathered at the Sound Beach Veterans Memorial Park on New York Avenue Thursday to honor Veterans on the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”
The Sound Beach Civic Association held its annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony, and members of the civic association were joined by the Sound Beach Fire Department, Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point), Senator Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), Scout Troop 2019, and Rocky Point High School chorus and band members leading the ceremony. Last year’s ceremony was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony.
“The freedoms we enjoy every day are due to your sacrifice,” said Bea Ruberto, president of the Sound Beach Civic Association, during her opening remarks. “All we can do today is say thank you, but there is so much more that we can do and that we should do every day … At this point we thought, it’s time, we need to do this.”
During the ceremony Rocky Point High School Chorus led the crowd in the National Anthem and America the Beautiful, while the band played God Bless America. The students were applauded for their performance and for coming out on their day off.
Palumbo gave the reins over to his Special Assistant for Veterans Affairs, Chad Lennon, a Veteran and Major in the Marine Corps Reserves, to speak to the crowd about his experience and the importance of honoring them not just on Veterans Day, but every day.
“Today’s the one day that we come out to recognize but there are sacrifices made every day,” Lennon said. “It’s not just the sacrifice of the bodies, it’s the sacrifice of the families, it’s not just a one-day event it’s every day.”
Lennon noted that Suffolk County has the largest population of veterans out of all 62 counties across the state.
The high numbers from Suffolk and Nassau came as “a shock” to Lennon, but the high volume of vets in the county could be seen even during the intimate Sound Beach event — when during the ceremony Veterans were called up to stand under the flag of the branch they served and a little over 40 vets came forward from the crowd.
“We couldn’t be where we are today without the service of those who came before us and laid the foundation,” Lennon said. “Our responsibility is to continue to push that legacy by giving a good foundation for the next generation that comes through.”