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Staten Island Remembers 85 Fallen Heroes Who Fought for Our Freedom

Annual Memorial Service Honors Heroes of the Vietnam War

Honoring the 85 brave men who lost their lives serving our country in the Vietnam War, was the solemn occasion that took place at the Staten Island Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park at the intersection of Martling Avenue and Manor Road in West Brighton.

The annual day of remembrance was led by the dedicated veterans of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Thomas J. Tori Chapter 421. As the sun began to set on Staten Island, the names of these heroes were read out aloud to their family and friends, followed by the hallowed ringing of a bell commemorating their service.

Gene DiGiacomo, the President of the VVA Chapter 421, went on to say ‘You don’t have to open a dictionary to find a definition of a hero. Step up to these walls and pick a name.

This is the real definition of a hero.’ The wall memorial bears the names of those who lost their lives, frozen in time as reminders of the sacrifice they made for the freedom and protection of our nation.

During the longest military conflict in the history of our country, many Staten Islanders lost their lives during the Vietnam War. The family members and friends of these bravehearts placed white flowers at the base of the memorial stones that bear their names.

Dozens attended the annual ceremony to pay their respects, with attendees filling up the memorial’s seating capacity, while others stood outside the gates of the revered space, reflecting in silence the sacrifice of the men and women who laid down their lives.

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As the names of the fallen heroes were read out, accompanied by a roll call of honor, veterans in attendance stood and saluted. A prayer was led by Chaplain Walter Warren, and the national anthem was performed by Mary Mathieu.

The proceedings continued with an original poem being read out by Frank Russo, from the VVA Chapter 421.

President DiGiacomo expressed his sentiments of deep appreciation towards the memorial space and the veterans who had served the nation with distinction. He commented ‘This is their house and this is their legacy. Their spirit and memory will stand here forever.’

It is events such as this that provide the opportunity for us to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by those who dedicated their lives to preserving our freedoms and values.

We honor their memory by acknowledging their devotion, bravery, and determination that ensured our way of life, the American way of life, was protected and upheld for generations to come.

The solemn occasion also served as a reminder of the unbreakable bond that exists between our brave servicemen and women in uniform. It is a bond forged in the crucible of war and forged through shared experience.

A bond that resonates through the memorial’s walls and in the hearts of family, friends, and fellow soldiers as they gather each year to pay tribute to these fallen heroes.

The Vietnam War was a time of great unrest for our nation, and Staten Island was no exception. It is on this island that we remember those who fought and those who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom. It is our duty as a nation to remember their sacrifice.

It is our responsibility to ensure that their memory lives on in perpetuity. They were, and always will be, the pride of our nation.

We are so grateful for the men and women of the Thomas J. Tori Chapter 421, who work tirelessly to ensure that our fallen heroes are not forgotten.

It is through their hard work and devotion that our nation continues to build a legacy of remembrance, where the valor and sacrifice of our servicemen and women continue to live on forever.

Let us never forget the bravery and selflessness of those who lost their lives in service to our nation. Let us never take for granted the freedoms and rights that they fought to protect. Let us always remember the sacrifices of those who have gone before us to protect our families and our country.

This annual ceremony is our commitment to cherish, honor, and preserve the memory of those men and women who gave up everything so that we could enjoy freedom and peace.

It is our privilege to pay our respects to fallen heroes and express our gratitude for their legacy. We stand committed to remembering their names and their sacrifice and ensuring that they will always be remembered by future generations.

As we conclude the annual day of remembrance, let us carry with us the memories of these heroes and their sacrifice. Let us strive to live up to their example and to ensure that the United States of America remains a symbol of democracy, freedom, justice, and hope for all the world to see. Let us never forget our fallen heroes.

We owe our servicemen and women an unpayable debt, one that can only be repaid by remembering their sacrifice, their courage, and their selflessness. Today, we have done our part in keeping their memory alive.

And though they are no longer with us, we can thank them for the priceless gifts they have given us – peace, freedom, and our way of life.

It is their spirit, and their memory, that will stand here forever.


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