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From the Desk of Mayor Butch Starkie: August 21, 2009

Once again I am groping for words to express the awe that took place in Farmingdale last week. Beginning on Wednesday afternoon when James arrived home and hundreds of people stood in the rain for several hours awaiting his arrival at the funeral home through to Saturday morning when we laid our hero, James Argentine, to rest. For the thousands of people who lined Conklin Street, you know what I am talking about. Our community came together to wrap their arms around the Argentine family and share in their grief. Jan and Bob, James’ mother and father, his fiancée Crystal and the whole family felt your love and support.

I would need a full edition of the Observer to list all the people who worked so tirelessly to honor James’ memory. Some have to be mentioned by name because they left such an impression. First Sergeant Amber Kash and her Marine Comrades for the dignity and respect they showed for their fallen brother; the many members of Long Island fire departments who made the arches to the cemetery; all the veteran groups, state and local police, and Boy Scouts who saluted James on the route to his final resting place. Also, our local restaurants who fed our visiting Marines daily, elected officials who made countless calls to help coordinate events, McCourt & Trudden Funeral Home, locals like John and Pat Dankowitz and Tony and Joan Steinle who hosted family and friends after the service, and all the Prospect Street neighbors who helped supply food for the Argentine family and their friends. The list could go on and on. It does take a Village. I have never been so proud to be a Daler and an American.

 In closing, I am thinking about our next board of trustees meeting on Sept. 8. After the Pledge of Allegiance we always ask for a moment of silence for the men and women in harm’s way fighting to keep us all free and safe. I will be thinking of James Argentine that night and for all the rest of my days.