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Veterans honored at Floral Park ceremony
American Legion Floral Park Post No. 334 Commander Jim MacDonald’s voice cracked when he talked about veterans and his country.
The Vietnam veteran used the moment of silence at 11:11 a.m. on Friday to gather his thoughts before calling on past Commander Joseph Reale to begin the 11th Hour Ceremony, an annual memorial service that begins at 11 a.m. and honors veterans.
“The sacrifices made by the veterans of this country, is not lost,” said Joseph Reale, 66, of Floral Park. “It’s good to pass the legacy on to our children and our grandchildren.”
Despite the brisk weather, hundreds attended the annual Veterans Day parade that starts on Atlantic Avenue and makes it way down Tulip Avenue to Memorial Park.
“This post has been here for 92 years,” said Reale who says Floral Park has participated in Veterans Day ceremonies for just as long.
“We like the community involvement, the boy scouts and club scouts joined us,” said MacDonald, 64, of Floral Park who was the Master of Ceremonies. “It gives the children a chance to recognize what we did.”
Peter Fleig, chaplain of Post No. 334 and a Vietnam veteran, delivered the ceremony’s invocation. Members of Boy Scout Troops No. 482 and No. 678 led the Pledge of Allegiance. Floral Park resident Kate Hanson sang the National Anthem and “God Bless America”. Members of the troops presented a wreath made of carnations to adorn the flagpole at Memorial Park.
“Of all the things the legion does, Veterans Day is the most solemn,” said Floral Park resident Toni Reale, 64, who is president of the Women’s Auxiliary in American Legion Floral Park Post No. 334. “I find it means more to me as a daughter, wife and mother of veterans.”