Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 08 July 2011 00:00
On Saturday, June 25, Eisenhower Park was packed with visitors as per usual, but not all of them were there just to enjoy the summer sun; hundreds attended the annual ceremony at the Nassau County ‘Walls of Honor’, a monument that honors veterans both living and deceased, where 280 new names were dedicated.
The Walls of Honor, maintained by The Nassau County Veterans Monument Fund Inc., a private organization, are open to all those who have served in the military, regardless of whether they served during wartime or peacetime, or when they served; those currently serving in the armed forces may apply to have their names added as well. Since 1992, names have been added to the wall for the cost of a $100 donation.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said he remembered placing his father’s name on the wall, and praised those who had taken time out on a weekend to come honor those who served their country. “Today, I am proud by your actions, and all the public officials and the committee behind me who have served tirelessly- tirelessly,” said Mangano. “They make certain that we remember that freedom is not free.”
One of the many present to see a family member’s name on the wall for the first time was Jericho resident Cliff Bieder, whose father Leon Bieder served in the U.S. Submarine Service during World War II and received multiple medals for his service, including the Navy American Theater Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.
“We had heard about the memorial, and we thought it was such a nice thing to honor my father- who had passed away in 2004,” said Bieder. “Many of the World War II veterans are not around anymore to see a lot of the memorials…so we just thought it would be a nice tribute to put him on the wall at Eisenhower Park.”
In honor of the occasion, Bieder’s mother Francine also came up from her home in Florida to attend the ceremony. Bieder said it was an emotional day for his mother: “It brought back a lot of good memories of things with him, and the time that this country really came together during World War II,” he said.
Vice chairman of the NCVMF, Joe Pascarella, read a speech written by chairman Nicholas Anthony Graziano, who could not be present. “I have no children; that monument is my pride and my offspring,” read Graziano’s speech. He went on to caution attendees not to take the armed forces for granted. “Educate yourself as to what, who and how this nation became the greatest on earth.”
To request an application for a name to be added, call 804-5802, or download one online at www.nassaulegion.org/ EisenhowerMonuments. Donations can also be sent to The Nassau County Veterans Monument Fund Inc., PO Box 7911, Hicksville NY 11802-7911.