Pols honor veterans with wreaths, certificates, breakfast
Elected officials in Southwest Brooklyn didn’t wait for Nov. 11 to honor local veterans. In the days leading up to Veterans Day, lawmakers took time out to pay tribute to those who served the nation in uniform and hosted a series of events that included a wreath-laying, a Veterans Appreciation Night and a breakfast.
Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) hosted a wreath-laying ceremony at Fort Hamilton High School’s “Honoring Our Veterans” mural on Nov. 9. The mural is located on a wall inside the school’s athletic field on Colonial Road and 85th Street.
Students from the high school’s ROTC program took part in the event by presenting the colors and leading the Pledge of Allegiance. The school’s choir performed the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.” The veterans in attendance included members of the Kings County Memorial Day Parade Committee.
The “Honoring Our Veterans” mural was created by artist Esteban De Valle three years ago after Gentile allocated funding for the art project. Local residents, students and veterans came together and contributed their time and artistic talents to paint the mural.
“The mural is a reminder. A reminder of the true sacrifice our veterans have made. A reminder that isn’t time sensitive. A reminder not only on Veterans Day, but every day,” Gentile told a crowd of veterans and local officials.
“It’s a reminder why we stand for the national anthem and it’s a reminder why we salute the flag. While it may be cliché, veterans have literally shed blood, sweat and tears so that we can have this simple ceremony at this moment. They have been away from their family and friends for days, months and years to put all 320 million of us before themselves. It is truly the most unselfish act one can make,” Gentile said.
One of the veterans Gentile honored was David Tirado, a former Bay Ridge resident who had served in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Tirado jumped onto the subway tracks at the City Hall R train station and rescued a man from death in July.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) paid tribute to veterans by treating hundreds of veterans to breakfast at the Bay Ridge Manor on Nov. 3.
Golden, who hosts a breakfast every year to mark Veterans Day, invited hundreds of veterans, including members of American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts in Southwest Brooklyn, to the Manor. A highlight of the breakfast was when Golden presented certificates to several veterans for their service to the community
In Bensonhurst, Assemblymember Bill Colton (D-Gravesend-parts of Bensonhurst) presented several local veterans with certificates of appreciation at a Veterans Appreciation Night at the United Progressive Democratic Club at 29 Bay 25 St. a few days before the holiday.
Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) took part in the ceremony, along with Nancy Tong and Charles Ragusa, the Democratic Party’s leaders in Colton’s assembly district.
New York State is home to over 900,000 veterans, according to Colton, who said the state has a moral responsibility to care for returning service members.
“It is important we remember the valiant members of our country who fight on both the battlefield and back at home for the freedoms and liberties our great country offer. We must always give back and honor veterans who have granted us this freedom we have come to take for granted,” Colton said in a statement.
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