Plethora of Bronx Veterans Day events on Nov. 11th

P.S. 108’s annual salute to veterans will once again pay tribute to deaceased World War II veteran Joe Garofalo. Garofalo was the curator of the Bronx Veterans Museum.

There’s no shortage of Veterans Day events in the borough.

Events to remember the men and women who have served their country and those who made the ultimate sacrifice will take place around the Bronx on Saturday, November 11, and in the days immediately preceding and following.

Perhaps the largest event honoring veterans is the 33rd Annual United Veterans Parade Committee of Greater New York, which steps off at noon on Sunday, November 12 at East Tremont and Lafayette avenues.

This parade follows on the heels of Crotona’s Fourth Annual Bronx Veterans Day Parade that already took place on Saturday, November 4.

Not to be missed on Veterans Day itself will Morris Park Community Association, Mary Queen of Peace Council, Morris Park Kiwanis and the American Legion’s annual Veterans Day event at Rudy Macina Peace Memorial Plaza at 11 a.m.

Event coordinator Silvio Mazzella stepped into fill a void left by previous coordinators of the annual ceremonies to honor local veterans.

Mazzella, a Vietnam veteran and MPCA board member, said that the event supports the flag, our country and veterans, while sending a message to those that are ‘taking a knee.’

“It means a lot to me; it is a sign of respect country, our freedom and what we do as a nation,” said Mazzella of the event, adding “It is especially important for veterans’ families because they go through a lot.”

One day, Mazzella said, he would like to see Peace Memorial Plaza include a larger memorial wall with the names of local veterans.

Such a memorial that names those who made the ultimate sacrifice already exists in the Van Nest community at Van Nest Memorial. There is a memorial there honoring World War I veterans that dates back to 1919.

Every year, Richard Vitacco, East Bronx History Forum president, hosts the event in conjunction with the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance at the monument, which sits in a triangle greenstreet in Van Nest Park.

The monument area is expected to undergo a major renovation in 2018, said Bernadette Ferrara, VNNA president.

This means that the Veterans Day ceremony, which takes place on November 11 at noon, will be the last one until 2019.

She especially likes the event, which Vitacco has infused with historical significance, because she comes from a family of veterans and because it takes place at a memorial that has been a mainstay in the community in its current location since 1936.

P.S. 108 will hold an event that features veterans from the Morris Park community who come and speak to the school’s children about their service to their country.

This year’s event is on Friday, November 10 and will feature guest speakers, student performances and an essay reading, said Georgette Valente, assistant principal.

Additionally, it will also be a salute to veteran Joe Garofalo, a World War II veteran who was the curator of the Bronx Veterans Museum at John Dormi and Sons Funeral Home and a mainstay of the event for several years.

“This is the second year without Joe,” said Valente, adding that they are planting a tree and placing a plaque in Garofalo’s honor at P.S. 108.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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