Veterans Day remembrance ceremony at Peace Plaza

A two and a half decades old Veterans Day remembrance on Pelham Parkway continues this year.

On Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 14, those who served in the armed forces and those who want to learn more about and honor the sacrifices that men and women made for their country and for freedom, will gather at the Rudy Macina Peace Memorial Plaza.

The plaza is at Pelham Parkway North and Williamsbridge Road.

The ceremony has in previous years included a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps. This year, as in the past, it begins at 11 a.m., said event coordinator Silvio Mazzella.

“I think it is very important for us to carry on our history, and important for our young people,” said Mazzella when asked about the the Peace Plaza event.

The ceremony was founded by the late Rudy Macina, explained Mazzella. Macina enlisted in the Marine Corps, and was a World War II veteran who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Congressional Medal of Merit.

After Macina’s passing in 1993, the annual Veterans Day event was run for many years by Al Corcillo, a Knights of Columbus member from Morris Park and a veteran. Mazzella took over in 2012.

The event takes place at the plaza, with its granite monuments to recent American conflicts and wars from World War I onward.

On the stones are pithy sayings from soldiers, presidents, and artists that capture the essence of each war.

Morris Park Community Association president Tony Signorile encouraged people to attend because Veterans Day is one day a year that people everywhere – locally, nationally and worldwide – recognize the sacrifice of men and women serving their country in the armed forces.

“Every time I pass by Peace Plaza, I always say a prayer, because they deserve it,” said Signorile. “They fought for us and they continue to fight for our freedom.”

“It is a day that everyone should go and spend a half-hour over at Peace Plaza, and say thank you on a special day to those people who have served us,” added Signorile.

For Jeremy Warneke, an Iraq War combat veteran, the most impactful part of the event is the playing of taps, a music piece usually played at nightfall and at military burials on a trumpet or bugle. The renditions at the Peace Plaza event are especially good, he said.

The event and ones like it on Veterans Day are meant to honor all those who served in the armed forces, and all who did serve are veterans, whether or not they served in combat zones, explained Warneke. Warneke is Community Board 11 district manager.

The ceremony is sponsored every year by the Morris Park Community Association, the Morris Park Kiwanis, and Mary, Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus.

Peace Plaza was created in 1989 with help from community activists and a grant from the late Senator Guy Velella.

All interested in remembering Veterans Day are welcome at the event.

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

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