Assemblywoman Jaime Williams hosted the Second Annual Veterans Appreciation Day Celebration outside the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park on Saturday, November 5th to honor local veterans.
Community members and organizers gathered outside the center to watch Williams recognize seven veterans, who live within Community Board 18 (CB 18), with proclamations from the state honoring their service.
“Too many times, our veterans go unrecognized and it’s a great way of highlighting our veterans, especially the ones that live in our community,” Williams told the Canarsie Courier. “It’s important to shed light on that because, today, we are in the United States of America where we enjoy those freedoms — and if it wasn’t for people like them, we would not be in the country that we’re in, enjoying these liberties.”
The event featured remarks from Williams, State Senator Roxanne Persaud, Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse, District Leader Frank Seddio and CB18 District Manager Sue Ann Partnow.
Students from Roy H. Mann and Marine Park Junior High Schools performed the National Anthem and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and local Boy Scout Troop 193 led the Pledge of Allegiance and the color guard.
Community members read the creeds of five of the Armed Forces’ branches and veteran John Bernard, who served in Vietnam as a combat engineer, read a poem he wrote about his time in the Army.
“Keep in mind that freedom is not free,” Bernard said in an interview.
The seven veterans who were honored sat in American flag-lined chairs and received framed proclamations and certificates from Williams.
“The fact is that the veterans have been remembered for what they’ve done,” Army PFC Henry Bolus said. “Some not on their own, some were perhaps maybe obligated to go or forced to go, but the fact is that they remained for the period of time.”
Bridget Nowicki — who was at the event on behalf of her older brother, deceased honoree Sgt. Edward Michael Looney — said many veterans don’t get the care they deserve.
“A lot of veterans are forgotten about,” she said. “There are just too many homegrown heroes who need to be taken care of.”
The honorees were treated to a special luncheon at Nick’s Lobster House.
Photos by Michael Wright