After several years without a home, the stone that sat outside the original meeting place of the Theodore Korony American Legion Post 253 has travelled full circle.
The stone commemorating Theodore Korony, an Edgewater Park resident and the first member of post 253 to pass away, was placed outside the Edgewater Park Volunteer Fire Department hall, the post’s first meeting place, in the early 1950s. Since then the American Legion has had several meeting places, and the stone has sat outside nearly all meeting places, adorning the flag poles. Since the post was unable to bring the stone to its current home at the American Turner Club, 748 Clarence Avenue, the stone has sat in storage. As part of the Edgewater Park Memorial Day celebration on Sunday, May 30, the stone was rededicated in front of 1 Center Street near the Shaw Memorial where it stood more than five decades ago.
“It’s like coming home to roost,” out-going post commander Pat Devine said. “It’s tradition. The American Legion is a veteran organization, so Memorial Day we’re dedicating this to the people that gave their lives. That’s why. We’re honoring the people that gave American its freedom.
According to the incoming post commander, John Lanci, who spoke at the event, the post was established in the 1920s and originally met in the Muster Room in Edgewater Park. The stone stood outside the building near the flag pole. The name of the post and the names of the first several deceased veterans belonging to the group were put on a large bronze plaque on the side of the stone during the 1950s, but as the plaque began filling up with names, the post started honoring its deceased members in the nearby Veterans Memorial.
After the building where the post first met was then torn down in 1955 to make way for the Throggs Neck Highway, post members decided to bring the stone with them when they moved to a concrete building on the outskirts of the Edgewater Park community. When the post moved again to an old mansion, which was turned into a catering hall several years later, the stone was placed outside the building to adorn the flag pole once again.
After that the stone moved with the post to a brick building on Blair Street, before it was placed outside the three-story stone building on Long Street, where it sat, decorating the flag pole, for about 10 years.
Since that building was sold more than a year ago, the stone was stored away by Edgewater Park community members and then placed near the bus stop on Center Street, where it stood nearly 50 years ago, and where it stands now.
“A lot of people didn’t even know it was gone. It was kept quiet and then all the sudden we saw the head stone and we started asking questions, then John Lanci called me up,” Dennis McCrink, Edgewater Park Volunteer Fire Department chief and master of ceremonies at the event, said.
The post, which has about 125 veterans, 30 ladies auxiliary members and about 30 sons of the American Legions members, now meets in the Turner Club building.
At the ceremony the post also presented a $500 check to the Edgewater Park Volunteer fire Department. According to Devine, the post gives out about $20,000 a year to different community and veterans-related services each year.
To Edgewater Park Owners Cooperative President Keith Freder, the rededication represents a partnership of pride between the community and the local veterans.
“Basically the memorial symbolizes the fundamental characteristic of the community, a place where residents from all walks of life can come together to support and be a part of the heartfelttribute to all the men and women who courageously put themselves in harms way to protect that which we value most, which is our freedom,” he said. “We dedicate our lasting tribute to our veterans for ears to come. Edgewater fees we are rewarded for our small part in this venture with the pride we fell for having participated in this dedication.”
Reach Max Mitchell at (718) 742-3394.