The Warwick Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #4662 and the Warwick American Legion Post #214, in partnership with the Village of Warwick Sesquicentennial Committee, will present a special season of “Salute to Veterans.” This tribute, to be held between Mon., May 29 (Memorial Day), and Wed., Jun. 14 (Flag Day) will honor local veterans and their families by recognizing their contributions to our freedoms.
Dan Burger, commander of Warwick Valley’s VFW Post and Laura Smykla, commander of the Warwick American Legion, are spearheading this combined initiative.
Opportunities to participate begin with a community barbeque immediately following the Memorial Day Parade at 11 a.m. on Main St. and ceremonies at Veterans Memorial Park, located off of Forester Ave. in Warwick, on Mon., May 29. After the ceremonies the public is invited to the Warwick Fire Station, located at 25 Church St. in Warwick, where there will be free food, a music DJ and face painting for children.
On Tues., May 30 the VFW and American Legion, in partnership with the Warwick Historical Society, will open an historical military exhibit at the A.W. Buckbee Center, located at 2 Colonial Ave. in Warwick. The exhibit, organized by Burger and Smykla, and supported by many volunteers will include a collection of military paintings by renowned Warwick artist Robert Fletcher, uniforms, photos, plaques, medals and other memorabilia. The exhibit will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Wed., Jun 14.
The cornerstone Salute event, “Remembering Our Veterans,” will take place on Sat., Jun. 3 at the A.W. Buckbee Center at 1 p.m. The event commences outdoors with the Presentation of Colors, which is a formal show of respect for the national emblem, our flag. A number of local veterans will speak at this time.
Following the Presentation of Colors, the Amity Foundation for Healing with Horses will hold an afternoon long demonstration on the well documented evidence of a horse’s ability to respond to human emotion and its positive effects on veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, there will be a presentation on how dogs benefit the military and veterans.
Visitors to this event are encouraged to take advantage of the historical military exhibit which will be accessible immediately following the opening ceremony.
Burger and Smykla are enthusiastic about their roles in support of veterans. They envision and are actively seeking a permanent site for a “museum quality” local veteran’s exhibit, which will include a gathering place and resource and information center.
“As we continue to learn what works best, we are improving support for our veterans and their families,” said Burger.
Many local VFW and American Legion posts are turning to proven de-stressing and coping mechanisms such as yoga, massage, and acupuncture for help for local veterans returning from war and their families.
Vastu Yoga, located at 17 Main St. (second floor) in Warwick offers free weekly restorative yoga classes for veterans and their families throughout the year. During Salute to Veterans week, any class offered at Vastu is free. For more information call Vastu at 987-7475.
This local veteran’s initiative, though spearheaded by Burger and Smykla, will need much support. Eventually they hope to be able to offer a permanent exhibit to the community, available to local schools for educational field trips. Anyone with information, stories, memorabilia, or would like to volunteer are encouraged to contact Burger at 988-VETS (8387) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or John MacDonald, Senior Vice Commander of the VFW, at 987-2760, or Rachel Rivera, President of the VFW Auxiliary at 629-4028.