Senator Martins Serves as Guest Speaker
Due to rain showers and dark skies early on Memorial Day morning, the Williston Park American Legion Post #144 did not hold its Memorial Day parade, but did have a stirring tribute to the veterans inside the post. The 55th Annual Post Everlasting Services paid tribute to all those who served, departed members and those who went off to service and sadly did not return.
Post commander Frank Oliveiri conducted the services. Reverend Christine van Liew of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection gave the invocation and then former Town of North Hempstead Supervisor John Kiernan introduced guest speaker, Senator Jack M. Martins.
Senator Martins addressed the audience of veterans as well as members of the community and members of the Williston Park Fire Department. “We all think of Memorial Day as the start of summer when we gather with our friends and families for barbecues. It’s all too easy to forget that we do have so many of our brothers and sisters who are serving around the world and in harm’s way. They do so to protect the freedom we enjoy, the freedom to be with those we love,” he said. “It is our way of life that our fallen heroes, our veterans who never returned and those who are no longer with us, served so valiantly to preserve. On this day especially, we must never forget them. But not only on this day – every day we enjoy our freedom. To the veterans who are here, I say thank you for your sacrifice.”
Commander Oliveiri then rang the bell for each of the members of the post who departed this past year. They are: William C. Curreri, George W. Dennis, Jerome P. Fettinger, Francis Handibode, Peter Holowecki, Gerald F. Leprine, John W. McArdle, Robert Muntzer, Joseph Pombetti, Graham S. Slodden, Larry Varinos, William DeCristoford, Joseph DiMaggio, Vernon R. Grinsell, Roy F. Hilding, Bill G. Krohn, Peter P. Mazzella, Edward H. McCarthy, Edward R. Peregoy, George T. Richmond, Harry R. Van Allen.
American Legion Auxiliary Unit #144 Ellen Randle also paid tribute to departed members Margaret Lambert, Patricia Fitzpatrick, Lucy Lynch and Nancy Shields.
Williston Park Fire Department Chief Anthony Gagliardi paid tribute to departed member Jerry Leonard, who was also a veterans of the Marines Corps.
Following Marvin Goodman’s stirring rendition of “My Buddy,” wreaths were placed in honor of department veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice. The Salute to the Dead was made by the firing squad and Herb Koch played “Taps.”
Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar addressed the audience on the importance of Memorial Day. “A lot of speeches will be given today and the words, including mine, will be forgotten. But we owe it to those who have perished to never forget their service,” he said.
Among the other dignitaries present were Nassau County Legislator Richard Nicolello and Assemblyman Tom McKevitt as well as Village Trustee Kevin Rynne and Village Justice Kevin Kiley.