Written by Rich Forestano Saturday, 23 November 2013 00:00
Mineola American Legion Commander Carl Marchese led the Veterans Day ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11. He addressed a gathering of Mineola residents held on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, coinciding with Armistice Day, which marked the end of hostilities in World War I, the so-called “war to end all wars.”
Marchese served at Fort Bragg, N.C. for airborne training. He trained with the U.S. Rangers at Fort Benning, GA in 1961. From there, he received his posting to Fort Dix, N.J. as a company officer for advanced infantry training. What was supposed to be a short stay ended with an 18-month commission because of the escalation of the Berlin Wall crisis.
Marchese, who has lived in Mineola since 1970 and joined the legion 16 years ago, also served as grand knight of Knights of Columbus Post 2502 in Mineola. He served as commander once before in 1999 and 2000.
“You heard the saying ‘a veteran is someone who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America in the amount of up to and including my life,’” Marchese said. “This is the one day we stand here before you as Mineola’s veterans and say, we are proud of our country.”
Marchese noted the countless veterans that have committed suicide, saying statistics are showing the U.S. is losing more service members by the day.
“Simply put, we’re losing more service members by their own hands than we are from the enemy in Afghanistan,” he said. “It is up to us to ensure that every veteran feels that his or her service is appreciated by their fellow Americans.”
Tom Scardino, commander of Adolph Block Post 1305 and D-Day veteran, spoke of a message that says America needs to remember the fallen and ideals fought for overseas.
“Centuries from now, I believe, it will be written that once there was a great nation that sent their very best young men and women to serve on frontiers of freedom,” he said. “They set forth to defend their nation and its ideals. Too many never returned, but their nation remained eternally grateful.”
The Mineola Village Board, as well as Senator Jack Martins, Assemblyman Ed Ra and North Hempstead Town Councilman Angelo Ferrara were in attendance. Former trustee Larry Werther sang “God Bless America” while First Presbyterian
Church Pastor Chet Easton led a benediction.
Mayor Scott Strauss said one thing goes a long way.
“All we really need to do is go up to a veteran and say one simple word...thanks,” Strauss said. “We don’t have to explain ourselves. They will know exactly what it’s for. It’s for the years and lifelong commitment to this country.”