A proud 88-year-old retired Sergeant Squad Leader stood amongst teenagers and local politicians at Hendrick Hudson High school Tuesday, honored to be a part of the Veterans Wall of Fame. WWII Veteran Frank Campanaro, a Town of Cortlandt resident, said he was surprised to be picked out of the many veterans in the area to be featured as one of the 27 featured with photographs and biographies on the Wall. New York State 40th District Senator Greg Ball and his Veterans Committee created the wall last year. Featured veterans were nominated by their local municipalities.
“It is very good. It is a good idea because today a lot of kids do not know what is going on,” Campanaro said of Ball’s bringing the Wall to Hen Hud High School. The “traveling” wall has already visited several other area schools and will stop at Putnam Valley and then Mahopac high schools next.
“These 27 Veterans were hand-picked to be on this wall because they chose a path of courage, honor, integrity and bravery,” Sen. Ball said. “Their path is one that helped shape America as we know it, protecting our way of life and liberty.
Eugene Parrotta, a veteran from Croton-on-Hudson, also featured on the wall, is the chairman of Ball’s Veterans Advisory Council and serves as a representative of the memorial.
“Freedom and liberty are the title and deed of the soil we stand on. That price of that freedom and liberty is very expensive. The men on this wall have all paid that price,” Parotta said.
Westchester County Legislator, District 1, John Testa attended the presentation and explained that it is important for students to see the wall as a reminder of why they have their freedom and to help them appreciate days like Veterans Day as more than just a day off of school.
Assistant Principal Dan Callahan reflected Testa’s sentiment and said he was glad the wall would be in the high school to help students understand their freedom was a result of veterans’ sacrafices.
Three students sang the star spangled banner at the start of the presentation and the Student Government President, Vice President and Treasurer (Nada Rizk, Olivia Alves and Tiffany Porras) thanked Campanaro for his service and spoke about the importance of honoring those who have sacrificed.
“To become a citizen eager to make a difference, we had to find role models that represented the fundamentals of America: Inspiration, Courage and Nobility. And so, we want to thank you for being the figures of emulation that conveyed the importance of sacrificing one’s time to help others by serving our country and especially our community,” Student Government President Rizk said.
Together, Campanaro, the students and Sen. Greg Ball cut a yellow ribbon to symbolize the unveiling of the Wall of Fame’s temporary new home at HHHS. The wall will remain at the school for one week before continuing on to Putnam Valley High School.
To read about all the veterans honored on the Wall of Fame, click here.
Russ Harrison, of Montrose, and Duke Searles, of Peekskill are the other two Peekskill-Cortlandt Veterans featured on the Wall. Neither were able to make the ceremony today. (ARTICLE)