New Hyde Park, NY – As a way to show their appreciation for the priceless sacrifices veterans make in defending our country, Supervisor John Riordan and local officials from the Town of North Hempstead hosted the 3rd Annual “Salute to Veterans” Breakfast on October 9th.
More than 200 guests, including veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and Desert Storm, attended the two-hour gathering at Clinton G. Martin Park. The event paid tribute to the men and women who courageously put themselves in harm’s way to protect America’s freedom, and also brought together various veteran agencies to raise awareness about available services and entitlements.
Joining Supervisor Riordan were Councilwomen Dina De Giorgio, Anna Kaplan, and Lee Seeman, Councilman Angelo Ferrara, Town Clerk Leslie Gross, Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman, Nassau County Legislators Judi Bosworth and Wayne Wink, and State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.
“This breakfast represents but a small token of appreciation,” said Riordan. “Nothing we do would be an appropriate enough gesture for the tremendous sacrifices you and your families make to defend our country. This gathering does however give us the opportunity to shake your hand, to embrace you, and to tell you face-to-face: thank you.”
The “Salute to Veterans”, which was coordinated by the Town’s Department of Community Services, kicked off with a presentation of the colors by a six-man detail from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. That was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star-Spangled Banner, a moment of silence in memory of all those who have given their lives in defense of our nation, the Armed Forces Medley, performed by the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus, and a retirement of the colors.
After Supervisor Riordan introduced the elected officials and thanked everyone for coming, he turned the ceremonies over to the keynote speaker, Public Affairs Officer at Northport V.A. Medical Center and veteran advocate Joe Sledge. Sledge, an army veteran himself, currently serves as an officer with the American Legion.
Sledge urged those in attendance to help out veterans’ organizations in any way possible. “Even if you just donate a little bit of time once a month, we all should give a little back to these brave men and women who risked everything to keep us safe,” Sledge said.
Joe Dell’Aquila, an Army veteran from Garden City Park, said the breakfast not only gave him an opportunity to socialize with fellow veterans but also was a great source of invaluable information. “I think the Town always does a wonderful job,” said Dell’Aquila. “Every year I see a lot of familiar faces and we enjoy coming here. It’s nice to see North Hempstead bring veterans from all walks of life together like this.”
Town Supervisor John Riordan addresses the room full of veterans.