Written by Richard E. Miller Friday, 27 November 2009 12:03
Under an overcast sky and a cool, blustery breeze, members of the Manhasset Post 304, American Legion marched down Plandome Road from the Post Hall to the Gold Star Monument at the Mary Jane Davies Green. The parade was led by piper Michael Conolly, of the Inisfada Gaelic Bands, playing a medley of patriotic songs. The parade was accompanied by the Nassau County 6th Precinct Police Department Officers.
At 11 a. m., on Nov. 11, at the Mary Jane Davies Green, veterans, their families and guests stood quietly as the Veterans’ Day Memorial Service began. James R. Russell, chaplain of the American Legion Manhasset Post, struck the bell 11 times in memory of the moment 92 years ago when the guns were silenced and the “Great War” to end all wars ended. Chaplain Russell then read the “Eleventh Hour Ritual.” Manhasset Post Commander James T. Brooks brought everyone to attention with those covered rendering a hand salute. Trumpeters Thomas Lavin and William Kim, both from Manhasset High School, sounded taps. At the conclusion of taps, piper Michael Conolly played the hymn Amazing Grace while Post Commander Brooks, with the assistance of the Sergeant-at Arms Thomas J. Buzzitta, placed a memorial wreath at the Gold Star Monument in remembrance of all those veterans who made the supreme sacrifice.
Commander Brooks opened his remarks with the statement, “ Ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. Simply put, that’s who veterans are.” They are the young and the old, rich and poor, “men and women who served and still serve America.” He talked about the hardships and sacrifices endured so that all could enjoy freedom including separation from family and the experience of the horrors of war. The Commander quoted the then- Governor Ronald Reagan “Where do we find such men?” The Commander continued that, in speaking of the many veterans, the Governor answered his own question-“We find them in our streets, in the offices, the shops and the working places of our country and on the farms.” In other words, Commander Brooks concluded that, “President Reagan was referring to ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things.”
He continued, saying fewer than 10 percent of Americans can be considered “military veterans.” He alluded to the great responsibility they have in defending the nation, from communism, fascism, imperialism, the Cold War and presently terrorism. “America owes a debt to her veterans that can never be repaid.”
Commander Brooks quoted the words of Commander-in-Chief General George Washington, “The willingness with which our young people will fight in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their Country.” Commander Brooks remarked: “Born of their extraordinary accomplishments comes our extraordinary debt.” He then addressed the debt which is owed to the families who have also sacrificed so much for their country. He concluded that the veterans, their accomplishments, their sacrifices and their families’ sacrifices have given us an extraordinary country. “God bless you all for being here, God bless our veterans and God bless America.”
The Commander recognized and thanked those who assisted in making this a special day for veterans including the trumpeters, the piper, the members of the American Legion, the ladies’ Auxiliary, the Nassau County Police Department-6th Precinct, the Town of North Hempstead Parks Department, and all the other veterans, residents and families who attended the ceremony.
The ceremony ended with Catherine Lau leading those present in singing the national anthem followed by God Bless America. Everyone was invited back to the American Legion Hall for refreshments. Coffee and doughnuts were served by Villa Milano and their thoughtfulness and graciousness were appreciated by everyone.