Story by Kristina Hoti
Temperatures flirted with the freezing point, but the sun shone with brilliance on the morning of Veterans Day, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 2017. Veterans having served in World War II, Korea, The Gulf War, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, gathered with many others who joined together for a service in observance of Veterans Day at the Veterans Memorial just outside of S.S Seward Institute in the Village of Florida.
Heads bowed in prayer at the start the service, and passages were read by veterans and representatives of the Ladies’ Auxiliary. Florida Mayor Jim Pawliczek, Sr., and County Legislator Paul Ruszkiewicz both added comments thanking the collected group for coming out on the day in honor of Veterans.
“It is great to see how many people are here, even in these cold temperatures,” said Mayor Pawliczek.
In attendance at the service, was Charles Percuoco, Air Force Veteran, who served in World War II on a submarine patrol in the Gulf of Mexico conducting aviation flight tests, ensuring that all was in working order, “…and if it wasn’t,” he said, “I wouldn’t be here today!”
Born in Hoboken, NJ, Percuoco lived five houses down from Frank Sinatra and his parents, and was delivered into this world by none other than Sinatra’s tour-de-force mother, Dolly Garavente Sinatra. Huddled against the cold in a heavy-duty NFL Giants parka, Percuoco said, “I’m broken-hearted over it,” in regards to the NFL players who choose to kneel during the National Anthem as their method of protesting injustice.
Army Veteran Bob Scott said, “This monument we are all enjoying here, is 16 years old; it was dedicated in the months after 9/11.”
Scott spoke of the Poppy Program, where all money donated from poppies sold goes to support local veterans.
“Shake a veteran’s hand,” said Scott. “It makes both of us – you and the vet – feel good.” After the service light refreshments were served in the American Legion, where the artwork of fourth and fifth grade students, depicting what Veterans Day means to them, was on display.