By Janee Law
Dozens of veterans and community members gathered at Greenlawn Memorial Park Monument on Veterans Day to commemorate the brave men and women who scarified and continue to sacrifice for the country.
The ceremony, which was conducted by the American Legion Greenlawn Post 1244, was attended by several veteran groups, Boy and Girl Scout troops, local law enforcement officials, Huntington officials and more.
Afghanistan combat veteran Darryl St. George, president of the Greenlawn Civic Association and history teacher at Northport High School, said having the ceremony run by veterans is very special.
“When I think about this day, a lot of emotion hits me,” St. George said. “The one feeling that I’m left with is this immense sense of pride and gratitude that I have, having had the great privilege of serving with some of the finest Americans in some of the worst cases.”
St. George added that although he made it back, some of his friends were hurt or didn’t make it back at all
“I ask myself the question, ‘How can I honor their memory?’ ” he said. “I think that’s a question that not only I and other veterans should be asking, but it’s a question I think we all should be asking.”
St. George said he was reminded of the words by Theodore Roosevelt, who said, “The source of our national greatness, of our national power is good citizenship.”
“What is good citizenship?” St. George asked. “It’s individual responsibility, it’s devotion to one's community it’s collective action.
“When I look out at all of you here today, I have a great feeling of optimism.”
Richard Russano, vice commander, and Dennis Madden, post commander, also gave speeches during the ceremony.
Madden said to the crowd, “Let us take the opportunity to education ourselves, our children and our grandchildren to celebrate service to this country, to demonstrate the appreciation we have for our military and to dedicate themselves in the name of the many who have come before them. Teach them to stand and salute when our flag passes and to remove their cap and place their hand over their heart not on occasion but every time. Remind them how many have given their lives to keep them free.”
The ceremony concluded with a presentation of wreaths, which were placed on the Post 1244 monument by members of the American Legion Post 1244, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary; the Greenlawn Fire Department; the Greenlawn Civic Association; the Greenlawn Lions; Boy Scout Troops 113 and 32 and cub scouts pack 225; Girl Scout Troops 286, 2126, 1900, 2150; and Laura Kasa, in honor of her father, Roger Kasa, a U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran, who passed away over the summer.
“Please continue to recognize all veterans locally, in any encounter and in any location with a simple ‘thank you’ or a ‘welcome home,’ ” Madden said. “It will mean more than you know.”