Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 19 November 2010 00:00
The Village of New Hyde Park never forgets its veterans and this Veterans Day was no exception. The front yard of Village hall was filled with veterans from all theaters of war as everyone took time out to honor those who sacrificed so much to keep our country free.
New Hyde Park Mayor Daniel Petruccio gave the following stirring keynote address:
“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 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 experience 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, the implacable limits placed on a man’s existence, severed us from our youth as irrevocably as a surgeon’s scissor’s had severed us from the womb. And yet few of us were past 25. We left Vietnam peculiar creatures, with young shoulders that bore rather old heads.’
“At any 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 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 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 precious portion of their young lives we need to remind them that as Coretta King, 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 and God Bless America.”
Angela Powers sang The Star-Spangled Banner and the wreaths were presented by both the American Legion and VFW followed by a gun salute. Many members of the community gathered in honor of Veterans Day and to attend the impressive ceremony held at New Hyde Park Village Hall.