Written by Greg Bennett Friday, 09 July 2010 00:00
Hicksville Legionnaires extended an Independence Day greeting to the community. Early on the morning of the Fourth of July, Legionnaires decorated downtown Broadway with “Old Glory.” The U.S. flags were placed in holders on every parking meter, a proud tradition of the Charles Wagner Post. During the early evening Legionnaires took down the flags.
On Independence Day we pause to remember our veterans of the past and present. The “Minute Men” and our Continental Army under General George Washington gained and preserved our independence. The first American to give his life was Crispus Attucks, a freed slave, who on March 5, 1770 was mortally wounded by British troops in what was called the Boston Massacre. Attucks was called a hero and the “first martyr of the American Revolution.”
And remember the almost 12,000 Americans who died on British prison ships on Wallabout Bay in Brooklyn harbor. The worst of the prison ships was the HMS Jersey in which 1,100 American prisoners were crowded below decks. Many were buried in shallow graves or thrown overboard. After the Revolutionary War, many bodies were recovered and buried with honor in a vault at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn.
The following Post 421 Legionnaires participated in the May 2010 Post 421 Poppy Drive: PPC Charles Rockwood, PCC Richard Hockbrueckner, PPC Andy Malone, VC John Geier, VC Pete Johnson, VC Mike Grella, Richard Grand, Frank White, Chester Lech, Paul Gerech, Greg Bennett, Lloyd Harman, Henry Arias, George Blochl, Frank White, Fred Hoching, William Cheslock, Emanuel La Gatta, Frank Drasby and others. The chairman of the Post 421 Poppy drive was PPC John Mauro.
Post Commander during the 2010 Poppy Drive was Charles Rockwood, who thanks the Hicksville community for supporting the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program. All donations assist veterans, our troops and children.
Charles Wagner Post 421 has sponsored two local high school juniors at the American Legion Department of New York Boys State program. At the New York Boys State 1,100 campers form two political parties, the Federalists and the Nationalists, and the campers elect and run their own city, county and state governments. Among the Boys State instructors are U.S. Marines. Campers print a daily newspaper and publish a Boys State yearbook on CD for each camper.
This year’s Boys State was held from June 27 to July 2 at Morrisville Agricultural College. Proudly representing the Charles Wagner Post are Ronald Taylor of Holy Trinity High and Pateek Kohli of Hicksville High.
The American Legion holds the Boys State program in 49 out of 50 states. The program was founded in 1935 with New York holding its first Boys State in 1938. Two boys from each state are selected to attend Boys Nation held in Washington, DC.
Many graduates from Boys State have become future leaders in government, military and the business sector. Among notable graduates from New York Boys State are former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Governor George Pataki. President William Clinton graduated from the Arkansas Boys State program.
The Charles Wagner American Legion Auxiliary is proud to announce that Melody Ciorciari, a junior at Hicksville High, is our Girls State candidate for the year. Melody has attended the Girls State orientation session and is ready to attend the program where the young ladies also elect and form their own city, county and state government. The next Legionnaires Log will feature more information on Girls State.
Military veterans are welcome to join Post 421. We meet the first and third Mondays at the Hicksville VFW, 320 South Broadway, Hicksville. Our Post Auxiliary is also seeking new members. Donations to assist hospitalized veterans and our troops can be mailed to American Legion Post 421, P.O. Box 925, Hicksville, New York 11802. Commander Greg Bennett can be reached at 338-6995.