By John Nugent
Great Neck paid tribute to the nation’s veterans with a parade and ceremony at the Village Green on Sunday, while observing the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and drawing many local residents, civic leaders and military veterans.
Louise McCann, commander of Charles A. Fowler American Legion Post 160 and lead organizer of the ceremonies, said that Americans should support all veterans of the armed forces every day, not just one day in November every year, and that more effort is needed on the local level to assist disabled vets and patients in veterans hospitals.
McCann added that the Town of North Hempstead encourages businesses to offer discounts for their services to veterans and cited the Veterans Advisory Committee section on the town website, www.northhempstead.com.
“Let us remember the sacrifices of all those who fought on sea, land and air to preserve our freedoms,” Steven Schwartz, the chief of the Great Neck Alert Fire Company, told event attendees.
Irving Munda, a Great Neck resident and officer of the Alert Fire Company, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1952. He said “It was the best time of my life” and reminded everyone that “Freedom is not free.”
Rear Admiral Jack Buono, the superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, echoed these sentiments in his remarks and in an interview.
“Keep in mind all in uniform who continue to protect us,” Buono said.
The admiral also noted he has seen many countries around the world and that very few enjoy the freedoms that our veterans have sacrificed so much to preserve.
Colonel David Lange, a Great Neck resident, is a retired 33 year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. In addition to being a pilot, he served as a group commander of 10 cadet squadrons at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The colonel said he was proud to honor his fellow veterans, past and present, and hopes people will remember the sacrifices they have made.
Also in attendance were several local civic leaders, including Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum, Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Lee Seeman, state Senator-elect Anna Kaplan, and Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso.
The ceremonies concluded with the playing of Taps and the singing of God Bless America.