There were back-to-back tastes of poignancy and comedy in the room at an American Legion Hall off Sunrise Highway today as Valley Stream native son Bruce Blakeman declared his candidacy for US Senate.
The gathering included an appeal for donations for Haiti earthquake victims from Bishop Fernando Rodriguez, president of the Latin/African American Chaplains Association Social Services & Community Services.
In addition, Blakeman remembered his 26-year-old nephew Sgt. Tommy Jurgens, a court officer who died while seeking to help evacuate the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. He also called up to the front Jurgens’ brother, now in the FDNY, who drew a big cheer.
On the lighter side were a handful of amusing flubs.
Nassau Executive Edward Mangano said in leading the Pledge of Allegiance and then introducing Blakeman: “We definitely live in the greatest country in America.” He quickly corrected that to “the greatest country in the world.”
Blakeman put in a plug for the New York Giants football team to win later in the day – he meant the Jets, of course.
The candidate seemed in earnest, however, when he said of the federal government’s stimulus efforts, “No one I’ve talked to has been stimulated.”
One elected official who hails from nearby didn't make it to the announcement -- State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).