During my time in elected office I have worked with the community to literally host hundreds of community events. Last week we hosted the most touching event I have ever been a part of. I am glad to say I have never been more proud of the community I live in.
On September 17, 2013, two chartered buses arrived at the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC with dozens of WWII Veterans and their family members. They were greeted by over sixty United States Air Force Guardsmen and the Honor Flight at Reagan Welcoming Group. After an official wreath laying ceremony, performed by the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, and a brass quintet, the veterans had an opportunity to tour the memorial. The veterans were then escorted to the United States Bolling Air Force Base, where the crowd watched a 4-Rifle Drill Team perform and were serenaded by the U.S. Air Force Strolling Strings Band to songs like “New York, New York.”
The day proved to be extremely emotional, filled with tears of sadness and joy. There are no words to express how moved the veterans and their families were by the tremendous support they received from our community.
The community stepped up in an unbelievable way to ensure that the entire trip was free for the veterans and their guest. The trip was made possible by dozens of donations from community members and local businesses including a generous $2,500 donation from the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters and an entire breakfast sponsored by ShopRite of Cortlandt Manor. Other businesses that donated food and services include: FirstLight Homecare, Bucci’s Deli, Sauro’s Deli, Patterson Deli, Competitive Telecoms Group, Putnam County Hospital and Dante’s Deli II.
According to the Veterans’ Administration, our World War II veterans are dying at a rate of 600 per day. These brave men and women gave so much to fight for our nation’s safety and freedom and it was an absolute honor to give them an opportunity to see the national memorial that was created in honor of their service.
In the words of President Harry S. Truman, “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. American will never forget their sacrifices.” Thank you for honoring these men and women, who are truly part of the greatest generation.
Senator Greg Ball
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