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Hicksville Veterans Day Observance 

On Thursday, Nov. 11, the Annual Hicksville Veteran’s Day Ceremony was held at the Middle School Veterans Memorial Park. The Veterans Day Committee of the United Veterans of Hicksville planned the ceremony. The ceremony was hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars William M. Gouse, Jr. Post 3211, whose commander, William G. Walden was the Master of Ceremonies and his leadership guided the Veterans Day Committee.

Veteran’s Day is a national holiday honoring our military veterans. Formerly it was known as Armistice Day to commemorate the armistice ending the First World War on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month in 1919, which was proclaimed Armistice Day by then President Woodrow Wilson. In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the 82nd Congress changed the wording from Armistice Day to Veterans Day at the urging of veterans organizations.

The 2010 Hicksville Veteran’s Day Ceremony began with an Assembly of Color Guards from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3211, Charles Wagner American Legion Post 421, Joseph Barry Catholic War Veterans Post 1946, Gierir-Levitt Jewish War Veterans Post 655, Henry Biel Masonic War Veterans Post 46 and Vietnam Veterans of America, Nassau County Chapter 82. Post members then assembled behind their respective banners.

Commander William Walden called the assembly to order with a salute to the American Flag and all recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The veterans presented arms and all rose as vocalist Heather Feltkamp of Hicksville High School sang our National Anthem. Howard Liebman of the Veterans of Foreign Wars recited the invocation. He is a retired USAF Lt. Colonel and recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Commander Walden then made introductory remarks and introduced Post Commanders. The commanders standing shoulder to shoulder were Greg Bennett of American Legion Post 421, Joseph Messana of Catholic War Veterans Post 1946, Jack Hayne (AUS, ret.) of Jewish War Veterans Post 655, Robert Schlegel, Jr. (AUS, ret.) of Masonic War Veterans Post 46. Also present were William Torres of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 82 and MRC Roy Tringali of the Greater New York Naval Enlisted Reserve Association. Commander Walden gave recognition to Conrad Steers who is Department President of the Purple Heart Veterans, Past President of VVA Chapter 82 and Past Commander of VFW Post 3211. Commander Walden also introduced an honored veteran Michael Montelione who is Commander of the local Pearl Harbor Survivors and Past Commander of VFW Post 3211.

Standing first in line by the Post Commanders was Airman First Class Peter F. Clark, USAF who represented our Armed Forces. A1C Peter Clark is a 2007 graduate of Holy Trinity High School and the grandson of Thomas Clark of Catholic War Veterans and former Town of Oyster Bay Councilman. The next day A1C Peter Clark was departing overseas for an assignment to Anderson Air Force Base in Guam.

Commander William Walden then called for Gold Star Parents and Blue Star Parents to be recognized. Public officials were then introduced. Attending were New York State Assemblyman Michael Montesano of the 15th District, Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker and Town of Oyster Bay Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia, who represented Town Supervisor John Venditto.

The Post Commanders, A1C Peter Clark and public officials then placed memorial wreaths by the Hicksville War Memorials. Sgt.-at-Arms Cliff Doering and Riflemen PPC John Mauro and Robert Delhaye of the American Legion presented a Firing Squad Salute. Buglers Jaysen Rosario and Andrew Niemezyk of Hicksville High School then sounded taps. Vocalist Heather Feltkamp sung God Bless America. Special recognition is given to James Merritte of Vietnam Veterans of America for serving as Sergeant-at-Arms for the ceremony.

The United Veterans of Hicksville are grateful to residents who honored the veterans of the past, present and future. They acknowledge the support of Phillip Grusenmeyer, director of fine arts of Hicksville School District and Flowers by Peter Kenney. They also acknowledge Bagel Boss, The Bakery and Linda’s Hot Dog Boutique. They thank the editors of the Hicksville Illustrated News and Mid-Island Herald for their media coverage.