FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory yesterday spoke at a ceremony commemorating the 74th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Held at Long Island National Cemetery, the program was sponsored by AMVETS Memorial Post 88 of Massapequa.
“My father is a World War II veteran, and Dec. 7, 1941 forever changed the direction of his life,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory. “The same is true for so many of his generation. Today we honor those who died at Pearl Harbor and those who felt the call to serve as a result. Suffolk County is home to the largest veteran population in the state, yet too often we forget how much they gave. I commend AMVETS Post 88 for working to ensure that we will forever remember all our veterans as well as that infamous day.”
Rich Rossi of AMVETS Post 88 served as master of ceremonies. Following remarks from AMVETS Post 88 Commander James Owens of Massapequa, AMVETS Department of New York Commander Richard DeJesu of Oyster Bay, Presiding Officer Gregory and other elected officials, wreaths were laid and the Marine Corps League Sunrise Detachment of Massapequa fired a volley. “Taps” was played by Major Louis DiLeo, USB2 Chief Bugler for the New York Military Honor Guard, and the Amityville Highland Pipe Band performed “Amazing Grace.” The ceremony concluded with a benediction given by Chaplain Ed Maxwell and retiring of the colors led by Sergeant Major Robert Lane. Both men belong to AMVETS Post 88.
“We cannot let this country forget the lessons of Pearl Harbor,” said Commander Owens. “We held this ceremony in a cemetery, a place of eternal peace, but we must strive for peace here and now. We cannot continue to allow race and color and creed to divide us. Hate should have no place in the world.”
“To some Americans, particularly those born in the latter half of the 20th century, World War II may seem as distant as the Civil War,” said Commander DeJesu. “Pearl Harbor may not always seem relevant to our everyday lives, but as the philosopher George Santayana said, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ Thank you to AMVETS Post 88 for helping us to remember those who made the supreme sacrifice on that December day.”
Other local AMVETS and American Legion posts participated in the ceremony’s procession, as did local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. Dorothy Oxendine, who previously served as the national president of American Gold Star Mothers, was also recognized at the event.
Attached Photo: Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, center, stands with AMVETS Post 88 Commander James Owens of Massapequa, left, and AMVETS Department of New York Commander Richard DeJesu of Oyster Bay, right, at Long Island National Cemetery following a Dec. 6 ceremony to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
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