A time to say ‘Thanks’
By ZACHARY TOWLEN
SAYVILLE—On Saturday, Nov. 11, the community gathered outside Sparrow Spark in the hamlet of Sayville to celebrate those that have served and continue to serve our country in the Armed Forces. Despite the 30-degree temperature, more than 50 people gathered under a brilliant sun around the park to hear speeches on behalf of our veterans during a ceremony that was hosted by Smith-Wever American Legion Post 651.
The Girl Scouts (troops 497, 320, 493), Boy Scouts (troops 184, 363) and the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (Lt. Michael Murphy Division) handed out letters of appreciation from the Tiny Tots Learning Center, placed wreaths and stood in support of all the veterans in attendance. No one in active duty was present at the ceremony, but that didn’t stop the community from showing their gratitude.
Ruth Welch, 95, a WWII vet, was not at the ceremony due to the cold weather. She did attend a reception later in the day, though.
Post Cmdr. Steven Antonacci read Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proclamation: “Their sacrifice and their courage is the highest form of patriotism. In many ways, I think this country has not reciprocated. What we’ve said to the veterans is we appreciate your service and when you come back home, we’ll be there for you. And I don’t think that promise has been fully fulfilled by this country. And hopefully, that will change.”
Organizations such as Sons of American Legion Post 651 and VFW Post 433 stood amongst the crowd. Families with children of all ages snapped photos, and listened and conversed with everyone when the ceremony concluded. Retired Col. Ron Bergman, U.S. Air Force, spoke to all. “Make their victory a true service to all humanity,” he said to end his speech.
The celebration in front of the park lasted over an hour, yet the crowd did not diminish; in fact, it grew even larger as more passersby stopped to watch. Passing vehicles expressed their own gratitude with a series of honks and gave the children in the crowd a smile.
To close the ceremony, Ray Tomich, chaplain of Post 651, said to the crowd, “Don’t forget to thank a veteran.”
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