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Wall of Honor to vets dedicated

The families of veterans who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan had their loved ones remembered with the unveiling of a movable exhibit which pays tribute to the valiant soldiers.

The Eastwood Manor, located at 3371 Eastchester Road, was packed on Sunday, July 10 with the families of veterans who will forever have the names of their deceased loved ones inscribed on the movable Wall of Honor. It was developed by Eugene Lynch, co-founder of the Never Forget Foundation, as well as co-founder Vicki Miano.

A dozen gold-star families lifted black veils from six cherrywood panels that contain the names, ranks, and branches of service of 266 members of the armed forces from New York State that were killed in the War on Terror.

For Damarr McBean, the brother of NYPD officer Deon Taylor who was killed in Afghanistan in 2008, the unveiling of the Wall of Honor was just another way that the community has shown that Deon has not been forgotten.

“It is a beautiful thing because it has been three years since he has passed and people are still remembering him,” McBean said. “It is gratifying to know that he is still being acknowledged for what he has done for his city and country.”

The tribute to Taylor is just one of many honors remembering the New York City police officer killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. These include a street renaming in his honor in Longwood, McBean said.

FDNY commissioner Salvatore Cassano was the master of ceremonies, while remarks were made by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Commissioner Terrance Holliday of the Mayor’s Office of Vet Affairs, and Emmy award winning journalist, author and talk-show host Rita Cosby.

Sharon Engeldrum, the wife of Throggs Neck hero Christian Engeldrum, the first FDNY firefighter to be killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2004, called the Wall of Honor a wonderful labor of love by the Eugene Lynch and the Never Forget Foundation. “It is a beautiful tribute and remembrance of their sacrifices,” she said of the soldiers.

The Wall of Honor also contains the insignias of the five branches of the armed forces and flags that have flown over Iraq and Afghanistan. In attendance were two representatives from Nap Tags, the Michigan company that made the plates where the solider’s names are inscribed.

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