A Dramatic and Poignant Veterans Day Commemoration

Left to right: Walter Williams, VFW Post 5463; Ray DiFate, Commander, VFW Post 3047; Lou Annunziata; Michael Masciola, VFW Post 3047.

By Stephen E. Lipken


Harrison Veterans Service Officer Joseph Mazzulo opened the West Harrison Veterans Day Commemoration on Friday, November 11th, pointing to several 90+-year old World War II veterans in the audience. 


“They weren’t all 90 years old when they were running around in the woods, jungles, on ships in the Pacific and Atlantic, dodging U-Boats and kamikazes (Japanese suicide pilots).”  World War II Navy veteran Louis Shallo is 100 years old. 


“I am 72 years old,” Mazzulo noted.  “I was not 72 years old, flying around in a helicopter in Viet Nam.  I was 19 years old.  At one time these veterans were young and did what they had to do to protect the lives and property of the United States.”


“While we may look with dismay at the migrants surging across our border, we should also remember that of all the places in the world that people want to reside in, it’s the good old U.S.A.,” Featured Speaker Brigadier General Sidney Baumgarten (ret.), U.S. Army Reserve/Army Division NY Guard stated.


“The tragedy that unfolded in the Ukraine has upset the delicate peace we have enjoyed…What we are witnessing is the incredible courage of the Ukrainians and their willingness to fight and die for their freedom.


“Looking back, one famous author, Bruce Catton, wrote that at the battle of Antietam during the Civil War within a few minutes, whole regiments lost 50 to 75 percent of their soldiers in a fight to end slavery…During the Korean War, at the battle of Chosin Reservoir we suffered 10,000 casualties, 4300 Marines, 3,000 Army, plus 8,000 with severe frostbite…


“George Washington said, ‘The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, will be directly proportionate to how they perceive the veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by their nation…’”


Noting the rate of 23 veteran suicides per day, Marine Sergeant Jeff Burke pointed out an intervention telephone number as 988.