United States Navy Press Release
Michael J. Owen, Public Affairs Officer Navy Recruiting District Buffalo
(716) 551-4998, ext. 19, FAX (716) 855- 0723 300 Pearl Street, Suite 200
email@example.com Buffalo, NY 14202-2384 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 12, 2003
Vets honored during Grand Island ceremony at Veterans Park
Navy Journalist Michael J. Owen
(with Veterans Day history
Grand Island Resident
gray skies as the cold morning rain was beating down on Vets Wall at 11 a.m.,,
flags and spirits flew high among supporters who turned out for Grand Island’s
2003 Veterans Day Ceremony held at Veterans Park on the 11th of
November. Honoring former and
active duty military personnel, this year the day had special meaning on two
fronts -- marking the 50th anniversary of Veterans Day and two months
after the 9/11 anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon. A moment of silence was also observed for those
who gave the “ultimate sacrifice” for their country.
Supervisor Peter McMahon welcomed the crowd and
Mike Rogan, a Navy Vietnam Veteran, gave the Invocation.
Service members were acknowledged
and two Grand Island residents that were Prisoners of War during WWII, Lt. Col.
Torgier Fadum and PFC. Walter “Lefty” Kendzierski, were recognized for their
extreme sacrifices. Performed
by Grand Island
High School Concert Band members Kevin
Laurendi and Joe Orsolits, the lingering notes of “Taps” followed in the
Salute to Fallen Veterans.
least 100 participants at the ceremony, including members of the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post
#9249, American Legion Post 1346 and the Disabled American Veterans post on
Grand Island, paid their respects.
Following the ceremony on Bedell Road,
the VFW Pavilion was also re-dedicated to POWs and the VFW Ladies Auxiliary
hosted an open house serving free food and drink to all who came to honor and
here to recognize all military, living veterans and those who died in service to
their country,” said Navy Veteran Mark Hebert wearing his old “Navy
Crackerjack” uniform during the rainy ceremony.
Hebert held the Navy Flag steady among the VFW color guard that
represented all U. S. Armed Forces. “It’s
almost reminiscent of those stormy days at sea while trying to keep our aircraft
up and flying off Vietnam’s coast,” said the former aviation mechanic.
Hebert served in the early 1970’s with Attack Squadron 97 deployed on
aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. “A
little rain didn’t stop our mission then and it won’t dampen our American
sprit today,” he added.
Navy Veteran attending the ceremony, Neil Hunter, 83, was steaming for Manila
Bay, Philippines in 1941 on the troop carrier USS Republic when the
Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor Dec 7th. According
to Hunter, carrying thousands of personnel and tons of cargo, Republic had
left San Francisco the day after Thanksgiving in convoy with nine other ships,
including a yacht called Niagara. After
the war broke out, the ship was diverted to Brisbane, Australia and then sent to
dry-dock in Sidney for repairs. “Our
crew was happily greeted with girls waving more than just their hands,” said
the former Boiler Maker 1st Class with a grin.
“But, we couldn’t get letters home until February 1942 while our
families worried and wondered about our fate.
We made a promise then and there, since they messed with us, we were
going to kick their….” Some of
the convoy troops were later captured in Java by the Japanese and were forced to
help construct the now famous Bridge on the River Kwai.
DeGlopper, cousin of the deceased
“Medal of Honor” recipient Charles N. DeGlopper who died during the D-Day
invasion at Normandy, France in June 1944,
also served near the end of WWII aboard the aircraft carrier USS
Yorktown. “It was so
different then, everyone was unified and behind you.
Even those classified as 4F were disappointed that they couldn’t
to VFW Post Commander, Mike Cutini, veterans who served in foreign wars are
encouraged to join the VFW. Grand
Island’s membership is comprised roughly of 60 percent Vietnam Veterans, 20
percent from the Korean War, and 20 percent from WWII.
The VFW welcomes new members from more recent conflicts and offers some
auxiliary memberships to others. A
Marine Corps Veteran, Cutini served in Vietnam from 1968-69 and emphasized that
all veterans deserve our respect. “Chiseled
into Vets Wall are the official seals of U.S.
Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard.
Anyone that serves their country helps to protect our freedom and takes a
chance on going in harm’s way,” said Cutini.
ceremony participant, retired SMSgt. John Gorman wore his dress uniform with
obvious pride as if preparing for inspection.
His creases were pressed and his chest was covered with Purple Hearts and
many other combat decorations of honor. “I’m
honored to have served, but even prouder of those that are serving today in Iraq
and Afghanistan,” stated the Air Force Veteran.
veteran with obvious sea salt under his belt, T. J. Miles served in the Navy and
then later transferred and retired from the U.S. Coast Guard.
“Anyone that has ever served in the military has a pretty good chance
to travel, sometimes to places of danger, sometimes to a unique location or
maybe a research mission.” Miles
also served on the icebreaker vessel USCGC Glacier in the Antarctica.
“Looking back on my sea time, seeing the South Pole was quite an
a personal note, I also served a tour with the Coast Guard in the North Pole
aboard the polar explorations icebreaker USCGC Northwind (WAGB-282).
From my early years in Arctic to my 20 plus years in the Navy, including
a visit to sands of Iwo Jima, while
watching shipmates transfer in and out I’ve learned one central lesson about
veterans. We should take the time
and listen to their stories. Whether
through their own words or letters and diaries, especially as the WWII Veterans
slip away, we need to reach out, discover them and remember them. They can teach us, amuse us and inspire us in so many ways.
They may also remind us through their tales of lost lives, time and lost
innocence, that freedom is not free and should never be taken for granted.
thousands of men and women in uniform are serving around the globe today, from
Japan to Iraq, from Afghanistan to Germany, from long sea deployments or just
far from home, remember, they are helping to ensure our freedom, national
defense and the American way of life. Supported by family members
that miss them, they deserve our support and commitment
Spend time with veterans, not just on Veterans Day, but also throughout
the year. If anything else, just
say simply – Thank you, thank you for serving! Happy Veterans Day America!
You’ve earned it!
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origin of Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, dates back to the end
of World War I when hostilities ceased at 11 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918 (the 11th hour
of the 11th day of the 11th month).
1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National
Cemetery and while similar ceremonies occurred earlier in France and England,
this created a focal point of reverence for the war’s veterans.
recognizing veterans through various ceremonies taking place each year on Nov.
11, Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through
Congressional resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later.
Following World War II and the Korean War, in 1954 under the hand of
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the day that was originally to celebrate the end
of "the War to end all Wars" became Veterans Day and now recognizes
Veterans Day is typically a tribute to America's living veterans and active
military, and Memorial Day is a time to remember our fallen veterans, it’s
also appropriate to honor and include a moment of silence in respect for those
who gave their lives for their country. Additionally,
the salute has expanded to a week, Nov. 9-15, as National Veterans
veterans’ events and in local places of worship throughout the week, p
are encouraged to wear their uniform. Deepest
gratitude, appreciation and prayers go out to all those lost in the events of
9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan.
support Navy activities in your community contact Navy Journalist Mike Owen,
Navy Public Affairs at 716-551-4998 ext. 19.
To ACCELERATE YOUR LIFE in
Today’s Navy with career opportunities, call 1-800-TRY-NAVY-
(1-800879-6289) or www.navy.com
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Day history sidebar:
1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National
Cemetery. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and Washington
D.C., became the focal point of reverence for America's veterans.
ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was
buried in each nation's highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey;
in France, the Arc de Triomphe). These memorial gestures all took place on
November 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War
I at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th
month). The day became known as "Armistice Day.”
Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a Congressional
resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar Congressional
action. If the idealistic hope had been realized that World War I was "the
War to end all Wars," November 11 might still be called Armistice Day. But
only a few years after the holiday was proclaimed, war broke out in Europe and
the Pacific. Sixteen and one-half million Americans took part. Four hundred
seven thousand of them died in service, more than 292,000 in battle.
Armistice Day Changed To Honor All Veterans
realizing peace was equally preserved by veterans of WW II and Korea, the
Congress dedicated the day to honor those who served America in all wars. In
1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.
Memorial Day 1958, two more unidentified American war dead were interred in the
plaza beside the unknown soldier of World War I. One was killed in World War II,
the other in the Korean War. In 1973, a law passed providing interment of an
unknown American from the Vietnam War, but none was found for several years. In
1984, an unknown serviceman from that conflict was placed alongside the others.
To honor these men, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars,
an Army honor guard, The 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), keeps day and night
law passed in 1968 changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the
fourth Monday in October. However, it became apparent that November 11 was a
date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress
returned the observance to its traditional date.
National Ceremonies Held at Arlington
focal point for official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day continues to be
the memorial amphitheater built around the Tomb of the Unknowns. At 11 a.m. on
November 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes
"Present Arms" at the tomb. The nation's tribute to its war dead is
symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath. The bugler plays
"taps." The rest of the
ceremony takes place in the amphitheater. Similar ceremonies are also reenacted
at many locations around Western New York.