As is always the custom, the New Hyde Park Village chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion as well as village officials and residents throughout the area gather on Veterans Day, November 11, at the 11th hour to honor all veterans who have served our country and particularly the ones in New Hyde Park
This year was no different, as all gathered on the grounds of New Hyde Park Village Hall for the 84th Veternas Day ceremony held at the rock This year, as in the past, New Hyde Park Village Mayor Daniel Petruccio was the keynote speaker and the following is the very moving speech he delivered:
"For most of us who were spared the hardship of war there is no way to sufficiently grasp the sacrifices made by those young men that went off to fight on foreign shores. Today at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we honor our veterans. On this day it is important to remember that in addition to the hardships and danger experienced by these brave men, that they made an even greater sacrifice. They sacrificed their youth. The time they served their country came in the prime of their lives. Philip Caputo in his book A Rumor of War wrote about his experiences in Vietnam: "Most of all we learned about death at an early age when it is common to think of oneself as immortal. Everyone loses that illusion eventually, but in civilian life it is lost in installments over the years. We lost it all at once and, in the span of months, passed from boyhood through manhood to premature middle age. The knowledge of death, of the implacable limits placed on a man's existence, severed us from our youth as irrevocably as a surgeon's scissors had severed us from the womb. And yet few us were past 25. We left Vietnam peculiar creatures, with young shoulders that bore rather old heads.
"At an age when most Americans today are enjoying the excitement of the college experience, spending carefree days pursuing the better things in life, the veterans we honor today, were experiencing the loss of innocence. What they have experienced we can only imagine. Franklin Roosevelt once said: 'I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen the cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of the line-the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen the children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.' But as much as we hate the idea of war it is necessary for the continuation of the American way of life. Aristotle once wrote: 'We make war, that we may live in peace.'
"As we stand here today honoring those brave men that served our country and sacrificed a precious portion of their young lives we need to remind them that as Coretta King the widow of the late Martin Luther King once said: 'When you are willing to make sacrifices for a great cause, you will never be alone.' We are here today to tell those who have returned and those that are still fighting You are Not alone! Thank you and God bless."