Local veterans and community members gathered at the Van Nest Memorial on Tuesday, November 11 for a Veterans Day ceremony hosted by the East Bronx History Forum and the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance.
The monument at Van Nest Park honors veterans from World War I, World War II, the Koran War and the Vietnam War.
The annual ceremony was started by the group in 2009 because previously there were no services honoring the veterans memorialized at the site, said forum president Rich Vitacco.
“There are 29 names listed there,” said Vitacco. “That’s 29 stories that need to be told.”
Each year, the ceremony honors a handful of local veterans and shares their stories with the crowd. This year, four were honored.
Arthur Moriondo was posthumously honored for his service in the Navy during WWII. He was a radio man on a Ventura PBY-141, and was stationed at Hato Field in Curacao when his flight went down on December 22, 1943. He is still listed as MIA.
His brother Edward, who currently lives in New Jersey, was also honored for his service in the Navy. The family was unable to attend the service, but will be sent a plaque.
The Moriondo brothers both resided on Fillmore Street during their service in WWII.
The ceremony also posthumously honored Private Charles R. Linquanti, a former resident of Holland Avenue who served with the Army in WWII.
The story of Linquanti’s service, as well as his experiences as a prisoner of war in Germany, were read from friend Jack McElroy’s letter to Charles’s wife Mae in June 2005. His family in Florida was sent the commemoration.
Last, but certainly not least, Throggs Neck resident Staff Sergeant Joseph Ronda was honored on Tuesday.
Ronda served six years in the Marines, from 1998 to 2004, and was a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He is currently a member of the New York Guard, and directs the Star of the Sea Cadet Corps., which he joined in 1985.
Ronda said he is active with the cadets because the program helps mold them into mature and responsible individuals. His personal military service was inspired by his own role models, he said, since his family has a strong legacy of military service.
Ronda said he is proud to have served his country and was thankful to be recognized at the ceremony.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure,” he said.