Over one hundred New Rochelle residents, young and old, veterans and civilians, gathered this morning at Beechwood Cemetery for the 33rd Annual United Veterans & Patriotic Association of New Rochelle Memorial service to honor the men and women who went to war to defend their country and never returned. Three hundred New Rochelle residents served and were killed in action.
"In a time of war the people turning out is greatly appreciated", said American Legion Post 8 Commander Thomas O'Keefe, promising to send photos of the assembled crowd to troops currently serving overseas.
"This is what Memorial Day is all about," said Peter Parente, president of the The United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association. "Today we pay homage to the fallen."
The event was held at Beechwood Cemetery because soldiers from the Second Battle of Bull Run are buried there on a hill overlooking the cemetery. This year is the 150th Anniversary of the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War.
"At Trinity Church on Huguenot we have the graves of the men who fought at the First Battle of Bull Run", said O'Keefe. "There are men from Second Battle of Bull Run, they are buried here".
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by New Rochelle boys and girls scout troops: Daisy Troop 2447, Girl Scout Troop 2129, Cadet Girl Scout Troop 1879, Cadet Girl Scout Troop 1861, Tiger Cub Pack 1 Den 1, Cub Scout Pack 1 Den 4, and Cub Scout Pack 1 Den 6. The Color Guard was Boy Scout Troop 11.
The invocation was given by American Legion Chaplain Bill Moye, 96, a World War II veteran.
Amazing Grace and Silver Taps were played on trumpet by Barbara Granata and Staff Sergeant Kenny Barnes.
"Each of these stones were real people just like you and I," said State Assembly Rep. George D. Latimer (D-Rye). "We cannot afford to forget that these were men and women, they lived and died, and what they did, they did ultimately so we have the life we have today."