Story by Lourice Angie
The Warwick Valley VFW Post 4662 sponsored the annual Warwick Veterans Day Parade and Service on Sun., Nov. 11 in the Village of Warwick. Local Veterans were joined by local Officials, dignitaries, civic organizations, members of the Warwick Police, EMT and Fire Departments and members of the community to commemorate and honor all military veterans past and present.
This year’s Veterans Day Parade and Service marked the anniversary of the end of WWI in 1918 and the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War in addition to honoring all of military personnel who served in the U.S armed forces. There were 346 Warwick residents who served in WWI – seven of which sadly perished. In addition, services honored the brave Vietnam Veterans who never received a proper welcome when they arrived home from doing their duty.
To those who served, Veterans Day is more than just a Holiday, it is a time of reflect on their years of service good and bad. The day honors the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, including everyone who has served in the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard, Air Force, and the Coast Guard.
This year’s service was presented by VFW Post 4662 Commander Dan Burger who led the parade on an extended route in honor of the special commemoration of WWI and the Vietnam War. The parade proceeded from Main St., up to Oakland Ave., left onto Railroad Ave., right onto South St., left onto Park Way and left onto Park Lane. It continued across Forester Ave., to Veterans Memorial Park, where veterans who fought in World War II, the Vietnam War and the War in the Middle East were greeted by more than 100 people of all ages from throughout the community.
The picture perfect scene on this clear and brisk day at Veterans Memorial Park was made complete by the help of the Warwick Volunteer Fire Department who hung a large American Flag from the ladder of a fire engine. This created an amazing view for the Veterans as they made their across Forester Ave., and into the Veterans Memorial Park. For the Veterans who fought in the Vietnam War this was especially an honor that was rightfully deserved.
The Warwick Valley H.S. Meistersingers opened Veterans Day services with a beautiful performance of the National Anthem followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Commander Burger of the VFW 4662 called upon Veterans and town officials to share heartfelt words with the crowd.
“Some Veterans also lost more than their lives, many have lost limbs, eyesight and none of them ever lost their heart. They served with dignity, pride and honor,” said VFW Post 4662 Chaplain Don Grenier.
Walter Parkinson from American Legion Post 214 in Warwick addressed a very serious and ongoing problem many veterans are facing today saying;
“100 years ago today WWI ended, Over 200,000 soldiers were wounded. We didn’t do a very good job of taking care of our injured and sick after WWI and we don’t do a good job now either. One of five suicides in this country is a Veteran,” said Parkinson. “The Government delays and Veterans die. This is inexcusable. We have complained about this problem at many Veterans Day speeches before, but the problem is there. Veterans deserve adequate and timely healthcare that they’ve earned with their service no one deserves it more.”
Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton recited a speech written by Daniel Webster, an American orator and politician who practiced prominently as a lawyer before the U.S. Supreme Court and who served as a Congressman. The speech was dedicated to Veterans after the battle of Bunker Hill in 1825.
Sweeton concluded the speech saying, “There are many who claim credit for what we enjoy in this country, but it’s you our Veterans who may rightly claim that credit, earned by your service to this great nation. It is you that we are eternally grateful for and we thank you for all you have done. God bless you all!”
Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard said, “I want thank the American legion and VFW for the work they do. The vigilance and care in support of our soldiers. We are truly indebted to you for your service to your country and your home. Let us never lose sight of the importance of our role to offer a helping hand and the kind words of respect and assurance. These are time honored traditions, when the parades have ended and words fade, let us remember in our daily actions and hearts the importance of a Warwick welcome home. What it means to an individual and the ripple effect it has on our nation.”
After the service a Tent Party was held in Lewis Park, and everyone was welcomed to attend this family-friendly event. WWI and Vietnam memorabilia exhibits were also on display to the public in the Old School Baptist Meeting House with a special exhibit currently being displayed at the A.W. Buckbee Center that focuses on 1968 and includes the Vietnam War.