Close to a hundred people turned out in the mild weather for the ceremony conducted jointly by the Goshen American Legion Post #377 and VFW Post #1708. The crowd included a den of five-year-old Lion Cub Scouts (Den #63) and included all ages right up to several veterans of World War II .
The ceremonies were opened with the Goshen color guard presenting the flags and the National Anthem sung by Lauren Luck, a seventh grader at Tuxedo Park School and resident of Goshen. Commander Ray Quattrini’s granddaughters, Samara and McKenna, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Invocation was delivered by Father Carl Lunden, Rector of St. James Episcopal Church.
Goshen Mayor Michael Nuzzolese encouraged those in attendance to “thank the veterans around you today and every day. Many who return home continue serving in the community as volunteer firefighters, in their churches, in community organizations of all kinds. Without them we would not have the opportunities we have today.”
Goshen Town Supervisor, a veteran of combat in Vietnam, reminded the audience of how difficult decisions in a combat arena carry lasting consequences. As ROTC college student at West Virginia University in 1964, he recalled the silence in the cafeteria as former President Dwight Eisenhower addressed the nation. On the 20th anniversary of D-Day, the former president told the nation he was still haunted by the decisions he made on June 6th, 1944; knowing full well that he would be sending many of America’s servicemen to their deaths as he directed 1,200 planes, 5,000 ships and 160,000 ground troops to invade the beaches of Normandy. Hindsight confirms that it was the right move in 1944. Twenty years later, former president Eisenhower wanted to let the American people know that a command to send troops into battle is never taken lightly.
American Legion Post 377 Commander James Heslop gave a historical perspective to the contributions of the American Legion and other veteran organizations. The current Veteran Affairs Agency was formed as a direct result of the Legion’s early efforts in Washington, D.C.
Heslop also made note of recent legislation that allows for membership requirements to be loosened; veterans who served for any length of time and stationed anywhere in the world are not eligible to join any American Legion post. Heslop hopes that this will encourage veterans who had not been eligible to now consider joining the Goshen American Legion.
VFW Post 1708 Commander Ray Quattrini spoke of the personal accountability we all have to acknowledge the sacrifices made by our military. He also highlighted the federal government’s responsibility to increase funding for our veterans; those who return with a medical or emotional disability. The longer we engage in conflict, the more troops we send into battle, the more resources they will need upon returning home. Quattrini went on to say, “the welfare of Disabled American Veterans is a national responsibility that warrants fiscal priority.”
Honoring a patriarch
The celebration continued at the annual Veteran’s Day luncheon at Suresky’s Auto in Goshen. General Manager Jeff Musumeci was happy to welcome hundreds of veterans and their families to share a meal and comradery with other veterans. Musumeci said “the dealership gets calls all year long, some as a thank you for putting on the event, others asking for details about the next one.”
Suresky’s Auto began sponsoring the luncheon in honor of the Suresky family patriarch, Harold Suresky, now 95, who served during World War II.
“Each year it gets a little bigger and a little better,” said Musumeci.
The veterans and their families who enjoyed the food, provided by Delancey’s of Goshen and John and Joan Rywalt of Barbeque Specialists of the Hudson Valley, couldn’t have agreed more.