Local veterans marked the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day and the completion of a memorial at Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park at Weir Creek near Edgewater Park on Thursday, December 7.
The ceremony was a joint event between Silver Beach, Theodore Korony and Throggs Neck American Legion posts, according to Pat Devine, Bronx County American Legion leader.
A $200,000 project funded by Councilman James Vacca enhances the plaza area around a monument dedicated to veterans, with interlocking stones replacing granite-like pavement that was chipping and cracking.
The increase in concrete surfacing will allow veterans to accommodate larger crowds at such events as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Memorial Day, and at the conclusion of the Throggs Neck Veterans Day parade.
“The park is a living memorial to veterans that died in our community,” Devine said. Relatives of fallen veterans select a tree and make it a living memorial to them.
The bicentennial park was created in 1976, when it was dedicated to veterans in all the wars to the present, according to Devine.
Every year several posts get together at the park and lay a wreath, talk about the Pearl Harbor attack, how many planes were involved, how many people were killed, and play taps.
Another veteran, Tony Salimbene, Bronx County American Legion Commander, said that “the American Legion will not forget things like the sinking of the USS Maine, Pearl Harbor Day, the 911 attacks. We were there to commemorate those who died in the sneak attack against our country.”
Salimbene added that “we can be Christian and forgive, but we’re not going to forget.”
The American Legion built the park in a grassroots effort, according to Salimbene.
“If it wasn’t for Pat and some of the other guys, this area would have been a garbage dump.”
In an official statement, Governor Cuomo spoke about the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
“Today, we observe the attack on Pearl Harbor 76 years ago and we honor the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Cuomo stated. “The date that lives in infamy changed the course of our nation’s history, and following the attack, Americans came together as one to fight for our freedom, our democracy and the values this nation was founded upon.”
Cuomo noted that nearly 1.7 million New Yorkers went on to serve in World War II, more than from any other state in the nation.
“These courageous service members put their lives on the line for our country, and their service continues to deliver freedom that we are grateful for each and every day,” Cuomo stated.